Chapter 8 - Craft Specialization
Economic System: produce, exchange, distribute, and consume; effects other cultural subsystems such as: social organization, political, and ideology
Simple Economy: makes all stuff (self-sufficient)
Craft Specialization: more complex; specialists rely on other
self-sufficient): Copan ~ AD 800: 27,000 people
- encouraged by elites (workshop at Copan: "House of the Bacabs"
(scribes) ...artifact link between house and workshops producing
badges...badges are on carved on bench in the main house.) Artisan is
an elite (cranial deformation)
Control of most productive farmland allowed support of a large family which served craft specialists: closed economy within one family.
Raw materials and several important goods, such as metates, were imported into the household. Ethnoarchaeology and archaeology (Copan peripheral site of Petepia had over 400 broken, but un-worn metates) showed that smaller farming households were also part-time specialists because they didn't have enough land to grow all the food they needed. Because utilitarian craft specialization is only profitable between multiple households, goods are sold/exchanged at central markets.
Human transport: one man can carry four days worth of food. If he walks 20 km (~12 miles) per day on average, this means that he has to trade within a two-day or 40 km radius of his source of food. Only the very wealthy could trade beyond this, but only for very exotic goods.
Because transportation in the New World was a problem (in most cases, only human transport) the markets had to be local and easy to get to. This is an incipient market economy (complex).
Teotihuacan: specialization was based on house compounds.
Example: figurines- hand made at first by women. As compounds became more common around AD 250, the figurines were increasingly made by molds by men. Ultimately, they were mass produced by men around AD 350.
Economy is affected by population size and density. Example: as the population of Teotihuacan grew, people moved into compounds (increasing density) and figuring production moved from women to men.
All except elites were part-time farmers (70%).
Teotihuacan achieved and maintained power and influence throughout Mesoamerica by monopolizing the obsidian trade (particularly of the green variety from the Sierra de Pachuca). Obsidian was conducive to this kind of economic manipulation because it wore out quickly and was light and easy to carry, thus being easy to export to distant regions despite the limitations of human-transport.
Rome: transport was much less expensive because of large sailing ships. Now, four days of food permitted much more than a 40 km exploitive radius. Plus, many more days worth of food could be carried. Thus, the Roman empire traded routinely over hundreds of miles. Example: the port city of Ostia, because it was able to cheaply import all its food, nobody needed to farm (very different from Teotihuacan!). Therefore, 100% of the population of Ostia were Full-time craft specialists.
Fez: ethnographic analog in Morocco
In a state-level society, such as Fez, Rome, or Teotihuacan, markets are taxed, monitored, and regulated by a central authority.
Guilds: set standards and prices, and organized specialists of particular crafts.
This gave some degree of power to lower-status people by being able
to influence the central authority or government.