Edward Schortman

Edward Schortman
Kenyon College · Department of Anthropology

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75
Publications
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1,015
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Publications

Publications (75)
Chapter
Archaeological data are relevant to research conducted in diverse fields. The rapid destruction of sites worldwide means benefitting from those findings depends on reviewing the only traces of past human activities that survive: original field records produced during archaeological investigations. The volume of these materials makes publishing them...
Article
Investigations of ancient political economies frequently focus on craft production. How manufacturing is organized can provide critical insights on more than the economy because social interactions and political processes are also involved. Here we consider how the acquisition, fabrication, and distribution of obsidian blades figured in the politic...
Article
Full-text available
Archaic State Interaction casts valuable new light on how extra-societal contacts may be implicated in processes of increasing social complexity. As the title makes clear, the contributors ground their discussions of interaction theory in the specific sequence of events dating to 3100-1000 BCE in that portion of the Mediterranean basin stretching f...
Chapter
Archaeological studies of culture contact are hampered by a tendency to project the exploitive relations between cores and peripheries so characteristic of the modern world back into the past. We outline in this essay a few basic principles by means of which the diverse conditions of prehistoric intersocietal interaction and their behavioral conseq...
Article
Archaeologists and other social scientists have long argued that exercising power is a relational process. One way of modeling these relations is to see them as organized within social networks through which the resources needed to exert power in all its forms flow differentially. Two approaches to describing these interactions and understanding th...
Article
We contend that political structures emerge in the course of interpersonal dealings conducted by people organized within overlapping social networks. It is through these webs that resources needed to define and achieve goals and exert control over others are mobilized. Elites seeking to construct hierarchies and concentrate power must restructure t...
Chapter
Urban, Schortman, and Ausec examine their use of type-variety classification to identify the Early Postclassic in three areas of Honduras. These authors stress the flexibility of type: variety-mode, which they continue to modify as new types of data are recognized and new questions are asked. While recognizing some shortcomings (particularly that t...
Article
We argue here that processes of political centralization and hierarchy building can be profitably explored by focusing on how resources were strategically manipulated in search of power by people organized in social networks of varying sizes and spatial extents. Adopting this perspective encourages reconsideration of the ways in which such core con...
Article
We propose that relations among hierarchy, political centralization, monumentality, and territoriality are mediated through the actions of people organized in social networks. The ways in which conceptual and tangible assets are continually mobilized within these overlapping webs shape and challenge political formations operating on multiple spatia...
Article
Capturing the fluid, dynamic interactions that constitute political form and change is best accomplished by adopting a network perspective. This approach calls attention to how power contests are waged close to the ground by self-reflexive agents who co-operate within wider webs to mobilize material and conceptual resources in support of common pol...
Article
ABSTRACT In this article, we explore how research conducted among societies and social segments that are not historically documented can contribute to a comparative study of social memory. Such investigations, it is suggested, might profitably focus on how different population segments strategically used materials of various sorts to create landsca...
Article
Little is known about how Late Postclassic populations in southeast Mesoamerica organized their political relations. Networks of Power fills gaps in the knowledge of this little-studied area, reconstructing the course of political history in the Naco Valley from the fourteenth through early sixteenth centuries. Describing the material and behaviora...
Article
Those seeking to ensconce themselves at the pinnacles of emerging sociopolitical hierarchies must forge alliances with both their immediate subordinates and distant peers. In the first case, allegiance to a polity that transcends extant and emerging sectarian affiliations must be achieved if the realm is to survive the passing of individual charism...
Article
The Archaeology of Regional Interaction: Religion, Warfare and Exchange across the American Southwest and Beyond. Michelle Hegmon. ed. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000.467 pp.
Article
Archaeologists traditionally investigate the emergence of complex sociopolitical formations at micro- and macroscales. As fruitful as these analyses have been, they ignore insights garnered from studying how the diverse members of individual communities contested for power and material resources during periods when former political capitals were in...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing debates over the significance of specialized production in ancient political economies frequently hinge on questions of whether elites or commoners controlled craft manufactures and whether the material or ideological import of these production processes was more significant in deciding power contests. Though long recognized, such queries w...
Article
Recently completed investigations in the Naco Valley, located within the Rio Chamelecon drainage of northwestern Honduras, suggest that, by 1200 BC, emergent elites were experiencing variable success in their efforts to construct sociopolitical hierarchies. Though able to harness labor in the construction of large platforms, these scions apparently...
Article
Reconstructing prehistoric social organization is an important goal of lnuch archaeological research. Consideration of this topic in SE Mesoamerica, along the fringes of the lowland Maya culture-zone, has lagged behind comparable work conducted im1nediately to the west. Both the nature of the archaeological data and paucity of ethnohistorical and e...
Article
Archaeological investigations on the margins of ''high civilizations'' have traditionally been guided by the assumption that polities in such zones were peripheral to core states. This paper argues that this assumption obscures the multiple dimensions along which core/periphery distinctions can be measured and ignores the possibility of mutual infl...
Chapter
The last several decades have witnessed a renaissance of archaeological concern with the effects of intersocietal interaction on processes of sociopolitical change. This interest is so pervasive that we see within it the development of a distinct interaction “paradigm” that is focused on the domain of sociopolitical change processes (cf. Schortman...
Chapter
This chapter seeks to identify major components of a developing interaction paradigm. As mentioned in the introductory chapter, such intellectual frameworks consist of the analytical units, assumptions, and unsolved questions which direct systematic research into any topic (Kuhn 1970). The particular paradigm we are attempting to elucidate focuses...
Book
Archaeological research on interregional interaction processes has recently reasserted itself after a long hiatus following the eclipse of diffusion studies. This "rebirth" was marked not only by a sudden increase in publications that were focused on interac­ tion questions, but also by a diversity of perspectives on past contacts. To perdurable in...
Article
Archaeologists frequently assume that when cultures interact with each other the most complex partner dominates the transactions. We propose that this is a misleadingly simple view of a complex process. A framework for modeling intersocietal interaction and understanding its sociopolitical consequences is outlined here. This theoretical structure c...
Article
Trade theories of state formation have failed to specify trade as market behavior, and to appreciate the political role of imported luxury goods in chiefdoms. When luxury goods and other valuable commodities become available through the market rather than through interpersonal, chiefly exchanges, the elite's power depends increasingly on economic e...
Article
Recent archaeological efforts to model processes of intersocietal interaction have been hampered by a dearth of conceptual tools suitable to these analyses. In particular, there is a need for a theoretical structure that shifts concern from our traditional focus on spatially distinct cultures and their relations to the physical environment. Without...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the modeling of interregional interaction in prehistory. The review of intersocietal interaction frameworks begins with the diffusion for several reasons. Diffusion research clearly lays out the problems of studying contact among societies that one still has to face and that later research has tried to deal with. Further, the...
Article
The Santa Barbara Archaeological Project was initiated in 1983 to investigate the middle drainage of the Ulua River in west-central Honduras. Regional cultural development has been traced, in a basically continuous sequence, from the Late Preclassic through the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century and into the early colonial era. -from Author...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological study of the SE Maya Periphery has lagged considerably behind research in other portions of Mesoamerica, resulting in a dearth of time-space systematics for this extensive zone. In addition, the examination of prehistoric interaction networks encompassing state and non-state level societies and their mutual effects has not received m...
Article
Thesis (Ph.D. in Anthropology)--Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1984. Includes bibliography.
Article
Full-text available
Este ensayo investiga la naturaleza de la complejidad socio-política en el Preclásico Medio (1100-400 AC) en el valle de Naco, al noroeste de Honduras. "Complejidad" es un concepto que consiste de variables cuyas expresiones universales están relacionadas diferencialmente en circunstancias históricas específicas (Feinman y Neitzel 1984; McGuire 198...
Article
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 1984. Reprint. Originally published: Pittsburg, Pa. : University of Pennsylvania, 1984. Includes bibliographical references.

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Project
In collaboration with the Honduran government and Ms. Jenna Nolt (Digital Initiatives Librarian, Kenyon College), Dr. Ellen Bell (California State University, Stanislaus), and Dr. Patricia Urban (emerita, Kenyon College), I am directing a talented and dedicated team in posting online all field records from our collective research in northwestern Honduras (1975-present). The goal is to preserve these fragile records and make them available widely and without cost to all interested parties. The collection can be found here: https://digital.kenyon.edu/honduras/. We urge any and all interested parties to take advantage of this archive and to send along suggestions for its improvement.