Intrasite Spatial Patterning and Thule Eskimo Social Organization

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  • Intrasite Spatial Patterning and Thule Eskimo Social OrganizationAuthor(s): Colin Grier and James M. SavelleSource: Arctic Anthropology, Vol. 31, No. 2 (1994), pp. 95-107Published by: University of Wisconsin PressStable URL: .Accessed: 18/06/2014 21:48

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    Abstract. This study examines social organization among central Canadian Arctic pre- historic Thule whaling societies from the perspective of intrasite spatial patterning. It historic Thule whaling societies from the perspective of intrasite spatial patterning. It is based on the premises that (a) the greater the intensity of whaling, the greater the labor cooperation that will occur for the procurement and distribution of whales and whale products, (b) the greater the labor cooperation, the greater the degree of struc- tured social interaction that will follow, and (c) the greater degree of structured social interaction will result in a more highly structured internal patterning of permanently occupied village sites.

    Accordingly, intrasite patterning was examined for 18 Thule Eskimo winter resi- dential sites located within one of three Thule whaling zones (core, intermediate, pe- ripheral), differentiated on the basis of whale abundance, and therefore inferred whaling intensity. The spatial dimensions examined were habitation density, degree of site structure, site integration, and nearest neighbor distances. It was hypothesized that sites in the core area should exhibit the highest levels of site structure, habitation

    density, and site integration, and that these attributes should decrease through the in- termediate to the peripheral zone. Similarly, the nearest neighbor distances should in- crease from the core to the periphery.

    The results of the analysis corroborated these expectations, and suggest that the

    analysis of internal site patterning should prove a worthwhile tool in the investigation of Thule social structure.

    Introduction The investigation of prehistoric Thule Eskimo so- cial organization in the Canadian Arctic repre- sents what McCartney (1980) has termed a "second phase" objective in Canadian arctic ar- chaeology. That is, it is dependent upon, and thus necessarily follows, the prior development of lo- cal and regional chronological frameworks. With

    few exceptions (e.g., Greenland communal house studies by Steensby [1910] and Holtved [1994]), earlier "first phase" interpretations of Thule so- cial organization tended to be generic character- izations based on ethnographic analogy.

    In contrast, the investigation of Thule social organization as a specific goal has been a relatively recent phenomenon, and as a consequence tends to be intuitive, and its attendant methodologies ex-

    Colin Grier, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2402 James M. Savelle, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7

    ARCTIC ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 95-107, 1994

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  • Background to the Study

    96 Arctic Anthropology 31:2

    ploratory. Recent approaches to the interpretation of social organization have included inferring (a) the degree of communalism through the anal- ysis of dwelling characteristics (e.g., Schledermann 1976a, 1976b), (b) status relationships between in- dividual households within a village through the analysis of artifact distributions (McCartney and Scholtz 1977; McGhee 1984) or architectural differ- ences (McGhee 1984), (c) logistical organization through the analysis of internal site structure (Savelle 1987), and (d) exchange systems and inter- regional social connectivity through the analysis of exotic materials (McCartney 1991).

    In this paper, derived from Grier (1993), we build upon the analysis of internal site structure as developed by Savelle, examining variability in intrasite structure within the central Canadian Arctic Thule "whaling region" (sensu McCartney and Savelle 1985; Savelle and McCartney 1988, n.d.). While this study remains exploratory in na- ture, we nevertheless feel it (a) illustrates a poten- tial research framework that may be profitably employed in the investigation of Thule social organization, and (b) suggests a scheme for quan- titatively expressing intrasite spatial dimensions that may be applied to other contexts.

    The premise that internal site structure reflects social differentiation and integration among hunter-gatherer societies has been articulated in considerable detail by Chang (1962), Yellen (1977), Whitelaw (1983, 1989, 1991), and Binford (1991), among others. According to these studies, the spa- tial relations within a community are structured to emulate social relations (Whitelaw 1991:140-141). In the context of this paper, and following White- law (ibid.), the term "social relations" is taken to mean "... social patterns of communication, inter- action, and residential group integration."

    Social relations, in turn, can be expected to be influenced to a considerable extent by subsis- tence pursuits. For example, where the procure- ment of extremely large animals or substantial aggregations of smaller animals requires extensive cooperation among individuals and groups of in- dividuals for hunting success, it can be postu- lated that the organizational requirements of these subsistence tasks will influence the extent of in- teraction and integration between individuals and groups of individuals. These organizational fac- tors influence, and are influenced by, the form of social structure that exists in hunter-gatherer communities (Whitelaw 1989; Binford 1991).

    In the case of Thule culture, whaling in par- ticular can be seen as a pursuit that required ex- tensive interaction and cooperation. Among traditional North Alaskan Eskimo whaling soci-

    eties, the closest analogue for Thule, social rela- tions were structured to a considerable extent by whaling crew membership (e.g., Spencer 1959, 1972; Burch 1980; Cassell 1988). While kinship was important in whaling crew membership (Burch 1980; Spencer 1972), the winter (perma- nent) village was not a series of autonomous kin-oriented local whaling families. Instead, it represented "a mutually dependent sphere of in- teraction" (Cassell 1988:106), in which "voluntary alliances, not kinship networks, were the princi- ple basis for social relations" (ibid.:107), with these voluntary alliances in turn being structured according to whaling crew membership.

    Accordingly, it can be suggested that the greater the dependence on whaling, the stronger the "mutually dependent sphere of interaction" overriding the kin-based, local family structure. Conversely, the less dependence upon whaling, the weaker this sphere of interaction is likely to be. Put another way, as the importance of whaling de- creases, there is a tendency for corporate groups to be based less on the entire village membership and more on individual local family units.

    If, as suggested above, spatial relationships are indeed influenced by social relationships, then we would anticipate differences in the spa- tial patterning of village sites to be concordant with differences in the dependence upon whal- ing. Specifically, the greater the dependence upon whaling, the greater the overall integration, or structure, of the spatial arrangement of dwellings. Conversely, the less the dependence upon whal- ing, the less the overall spatial integration, and the greater the tendency toward the establishment of individual dwelling "clusters," with each clus- ter representing a kin-based local family. We dis- cuss the concept of site structure in more detail below.

    Savelle's earlier study followed the reason- ing outlined above, with the distribution of fea- tures within Thule sites being seen as a reflection of the "organizational components of [Thule] so- ciety with regards to hunting crew or group mem- bership, distribution of surplus resources, and/or formalized social control" (Savelle 1987:47). Briefly, it was hypothesized that the internal site patterning at early Classic Thule winter villages associated with logistically organized, surplus- producing, bowhead whale or caribou based economies should exhibit a relatively high degree of internal structure. Later Classic and Modified Thule winter villages associated with less logis- tically organized, surplus -poor, generalized econ- omies, on the other hand, should exhibit less internal structure. While the assessment of inter- nal patterning was subjective (being based on a continuum of six theoretical arrangements), the results, nevertheless, generally supported the hy-

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  • Whaling Zones and Intrasite Structure

    Methodological Considerations

    Grier & Savelle: Thule Social Organization 97

    pothesis, with support being strongest in the Somerset Island "whaling" region.

    Although the results in the "whaling" region were the most promising, they were based on data from two relatively restricted regions (Creswell Bay and Aston Bay, both on Somerset Island), and furthermore, compared what were believed to have been two chronologically dis- tinct series of sites. In the present study, whaling villages from throughout the "whaling" region form the data base. These sites in turn are located within one of three designated whaling zones, each zone differing according to the estimated in- tensity of whaling during the Thule period. Ac- cordingly, they offer an opportunity to examine variation in internal site structure as a function of the extent of bowhead whale dependence, and thus of cooperation and interaction, within an overall whaling economy.

    Variation in bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus, abundance during the height of Thule whaling in the central Canadian Arctic (termed the Classic Thule period by McCartney 1977; see also Max- well 1985:297-304) is primarily a function of sea ice patterns and the migration patterns of this species (Reeves et al. 1983). Based on modern dis- tribution studies, historic accounts by European and American whalers and explorers, and sea- sonal patterns of sea ice break-up, Savelle and McCartney (n.d.) have divided the central Cana- dian Arctic waters into three zones according to the inferred relative abundance of bowhead whales during the Classic Thule period. These in- clude a core, an intermediate, and a peripheral zone (Fig. 1). The core zone is the region where whales were most abundant and remained pres- ent for a longer period during the summer. Whale abundance and period of time in the area de- creased from the core to the intermediate to the peripheral zone.

    Studies by Savelle (1990) and Savelle and McCartney (1991, n.d.) suggest that the intensity of bowhead whaling by Thule Eskimos was pos- itively correlated with the interpreted bowhead abundance in each of these zones. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that the spatial organization of Thule sites in the three whaling areas should reflect the physical correlates of variation in the extent of socioeconomic interaction. The corre- sponding implications are that sites in the core area should exhibit the highest degree of site spa- tial organization, while in the other two areas the decreasing reliance on bowhead whales should be correlated with less structured site spatial orga-

    nization. More specific test implications will be presented below.

    The investigation of the spatial organization of ar- chaeological sites requires an appropriate methodol- ogy for quantifying spatial relationships. A variety of statistical and heuristic techniques have been de- veloped and applied in locational geography and archaeological contexts for this purpose, particu- larly quadrat analyses (Dacey 1973; Spurling and Hayden 1984), nearest neighbor methods (Whallon 1974; Carr 1984; Voorrips and O'Shea 1987; Boots and Getis 1988; Kintigh 1990), and cluster analyses (Kintigh and Ammerman 1982; Whallon 1984; Kintigh 1990; Blankholm 1991; Gregg et al. 1991). All of these techniques have specific criteria which the data must meet in order for the method to be applicable. However, archaeological data cannot al- ways meet these requirements. Therefore, the most important aspect of choosing quantitative methods is that they are appropriate to the data that are be- ing considered. Substantial discussion has also en- sued over the capabilities and limitations of potential methods (Hodder and Orton 1976; Carr 1984; Kintigh 1990; Blankholm 1991). It is also im- portant to consider the overall research design of the study and ultimately what information is re- quired to answer the questions posed.

    The spatial dimensions that are considered to be relevant for the present study include: (1) habi- tation density, and (2) the pattern of arrangement of residential structures within the site (cf. Whitelaw 1989, 1991). These two dimensions are regarded as relevant because they should reflect the spatial de- cisions made for the purpose of regulating interac- tion in concordance with social relations.

    Habitation density is useful as it provides a characterization of the overall spacing of features within sites. Whitelaw (1991) has focused on this statistic in his cross cultural examination of hunter- gatherer community organization as it provides a relative assessment of the social integrity of the group occupying the site and the average amount of space that is associated with each feature. It is also methodologically unencumbered, being obtained simply by dividing the site area by the number of residential dwelling features in each site.

    Habitation density is dependent upon the numbers of dwellings within, and the spatial extent of, each site. The spatial extent can be described most appropriately and simply by mea- suring the area of the site. Following Whitelaw (1989:119), site area can be defined as the area (in m2) contained within a closed polygon connec- ting points 0.5 m beyond the outermost dwelling structures. While this measurement involves some degree of subjectivity in the treatment

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  • QQ Arctic Anthropology 31:2

    Figure 1. Location of bowhead whaling zones and Thule Eskimo winter residential sites in the central Canadian Arctic (after Savelle and McCartney n.d.). C = core; I = intermediate; P = periphery. 1. Ditchburn Point A 7. Quoak 13. Porden Point 2. Ditchburn Point B 8. Batty Bay 14. Port Refuge 3. Mount Oliver 9. Port Leopold 15. Cape Evans 4. PaJs-13 10. Fellfoot Point 16. Brooman Point 5. Cape Garry 11. Radstock Bay 17 Deblicquy 6. Learmonth 12. Resolute 18. Black Point

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  • Grier & Savelle: Thule Social Organization 99

    Figure 2. Idealized hierarchy of site structure (after Savelle 1987:67).

    of empty and unusable spaces within the site boundary, an attempt has been made to be consis- tent in the treatment of these factors across all sites and zones.

    While potentially informative, the derivation of site area and habitation density provides only a rather gross characterization of the spatial rela- tionships between features within the sites. Thus, additional, more detailed means of characterizing spatial relationships must be sought. The pattern- ing of residential features can be characterized with greater resolution by two methods.

    The first involves a classification of the structure exhibited in the arrangement of features within the site. Following the scheme described by Savelle (1987), particular arrangements can be situated within a continuum ranging from highly to loosely structured (Fig. 2). In this scheme "loosely structured" equates with the statistical situation of "complete spatial randomness" (Boots and Getis 1988:15). A regular arrangement of fea- tures within the site reflects the opposite of a ran- dom pattern, and thus is designated as "highly structured."

    The reasoning behind this scheme stems from point pattern analyses developed in loca- tional geography (Haggett et al. 1977:97-110, 414- 418) and archaeological settlement pattern studies (Hodder and Orton 1976). A random pattern ex- hibits the least structure because each point's lo-

    cation is independent of the location of other points. As the degree of structure increases, the independence of each point's location is compro- mised and its location becomes dependent to varying degrees on the location of other points. In a clustered pattern, points exhibit a locational as- sociation with a subset of the other points. A reg- ular pattern occurs when each point's location is fully dependent on the location of all other points. Settlement location theory predicts that regionally integrated settlement systems should exhibit regular lattice patterning reflecting socio- economic interaction patterns (Haggett et al. 1977; Smith 1976). We employ a similar notion here by considering the regular spacing of dwellings in Thule sites as indicative of a socioeconomically integrated site. The "mutually dependent sphere of interaction" described by Cassell (1988:106) for North Alaskan whaling villages, and which we posit for whaling-focused Thule villages, should then correspond to a regular arrangement of fea- tures. Conversely, sites that are composed of au- tonomous kin-based families should exhibit a less structured, or clustered, pattern.

    The second component of the characteriza- tion of spatial patterning involves identifying dis- tinct clusters of features within each site. This will provide some indication of the integration of the site beyond that furnished by habitation den- sity. "Distinct clusters" were considered to be spatially grouped sets of features in which the members display as much (or more) integration within this group as within the site as a whole. This strategy generally emulates that of k-means pure locational clustering as described by Kintigh and Ammerman (1982).

    A third quantitative measure that has been commonly used to characterize spatial relation- ships of features is the nearest neighbor method (Whallon 1974; Hodder and Orton 1976; Carr 1984; Gould and Yellen 1987; Boots and Getis 1988; Kintigh 1990). As the term implies, the dis- tance from each feature to the nearest feature can be measured and these distances averaged for all features in the site to arrive at an average measure of interfeature distance. This can be extended to higher order neighbors (i.e., second and third neighbor, etc.) as desired. In addition, a "nearest neighbor statistic" (R) is commonly derived that is the ratio of the observed nearest neighbor dis- tance to an expected distance. The expected dis- tance is based on a random spatial pattern with a similar density (Clark and Evans 1954; Whallon 1974; Boots and Getis 1988; Kintigh 1990).

    However, there are problems with the 'R' statistic in that its value is extremely dependent on the choice of boundary that is made (Pinder et al. 1979; McNutt 1981; Boots and Getis 1988; Kintigh 1990; Blankholm 1991). For the sites in

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  • Test Implications

    Data Base

    100 Arctic Anthropology 31:2

    this study, a decision could have been made to use the same boundary as that defined for the cal- culation of site area. However, this boundary de- lineation is somewhat arbitrary. Carr (1984) has suggested in relation to this problem that a boundary should be chosen that is meaningful in the context of the research problem at hand. Yet, the problem with making such a choice is that the 'R' statistic no longer provides an objective measure of site structure (Pinder et al. 1979; Carr 1984; Kintigh 1990), and thus does not provide any more information pertaining to the spatial patterning of features than that furnished by the raw (Euclidean) nearest neighbor distances. Using only the Euclidean distances thus provides a nu- merical quantification of the spacing between fea- tures that is independent of the area of the site. This will be useful for the present study as it will be an informative complement to the data ob- tained relating to habitation densities.

    Since appropriateness to the data being con- sidered and relevance to the information sought were the important criteria for the choice of methods for characterizing spatial patterning, the methods described above will be employed in the following analysis.

    Based on the methodological considerations de- scribed in the previous section, it is possible to formulate a series of test implications, or expecta- tions, for each of the methods employed for the three whaling zones under investigation.

    Test Implication 1 There should be a trend from a relatively low interdwelling distance in the core zone to pro- gressively higher interdwelling distance from the core through the intermediate to the peripheral zone. This will be reflected in (a) progressively lower habitation densities, and (b) progressively higher first, second, and third nearest neighbor distances, from the core to the peripheral zones.

    Test Implication 2 Concomitant with the higher degree of interac- tion, there should be (a) a more formalized or "highly structured" spatial patterning of fea- tures exhibited by the sites in the core area, and (b) greater site integration reflected in fewer dis- tinct clusters within the sites. These characteris- tics should decrease progressively from the core through intermediate to peripheral zones due to the less structured and less integrated nature of these sites.

    These expectations represent ideal archae- ological correlates of spatial behavior if the hy- pothesized relationships between whaling zones,

    Thule whaling behavior, and social relations are correct. While other factors may cause variation in the actual spatial patterning as characterized by the methods employed, confirmation of the postulated test implications can be considered, in principle, as a corroboration of the applicability of these relationships.

    Spatial information was obtained for a total of 18 Thule sites in the three whaling zones (see Fig. 1). Data for the Quoak and Learmonth sites were ob- tained from Taylor and McGhee (1979), for the Cape Garry site from McCartney (1979), for the Deblicquy site from Taylor and McGhee (1981), for the Brooman Point site from McGhee (1984), for the Port Refuge site from Park (1983), and for the Porden Point site from Park (1989). All other site data were derived from field maps compiled by Savelle and Allen P. McCartney in 1988, and Savelle in 1989, 1990, and 1993 (all sites, how- ever, have been personally examined by Savelle and McCartney). Individual maps of the various sites are presented in Figures 3-5.

    Only features which could be reasonably classified as "winter" dwellings (i.e., shallow to deep semisubterranean dwellings constructed from sod, stone, and usually whale bone) are in- cluded in the maps. Probable garmang and semi- subterranean "ice cellars" have not been included. Several of the sites (Port Leopold, Lear- month, Porden Point) included widely spaced "outliers" of one or a few dwellings. Since these outliers essentially constituted what can be con- sidered "satellite" clusters isolated from the site proper and result in unrealistically highly skewed results, these clusters were not included in the site area or nearest neighbor analyses (that is, we prefer to err on the "conservative" side). How- ever, they were included in the cluster number computation.

    Finally, no claim is made here that all dwellings within each site are contemporaneous, since we agree with Binford (1981, 1982), among others, that the archaeological record can in most instances be considered a palimpsest of derivative material from a series of different occupational or utilization episodes. However, as discussed in de- tail in Savelle (1987:48-49), semisubterranean dwellings are "high energy" features (i.e., requir- ing a considerable expenditure of energy and ma- terials), and we can expect a relatively high proportion of dwellings to be reused. Further- more, given the relatively short period of Thule occupation (approximately AD 1000-1400) of the region under examination, we can expect a site development pattern whereby a site expands to a maximum size (reflecting maximum popula-

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  • Grier & Savelle: Thule Social Organization 201

    Figure 3. Maps of sites in- cluded in this study. Circles in- dicate the center point of semi- subterranean dwellings.

    Figure 4. Maps of sites in- cluded in this study.

    Figure 5. Maps of sites in- cluded in this study.

    tion), after which it is presumably gradually (or quickly?) abandoned. This is corroborated by Whitridge's (1994) insightful analysis of regional trends in Thule site size characteristics.

    Results Test Implication 1: Habitation Density and Nearest Neighbor Distances Table 1 presents data on the number of features within each site, site area, and habitation density, and Table 2 on nearest neighbor distances. While there is significant variability in the number of features between sites within each zone, the pre- dicted trend is evident. Average habitation den- sity is highest in the core area (211 m2/dwelling), and decreases through the intermediate zone (249 m2/dwelling) to the peripheral zone (499 m2/ dwelling).

    Three orders of nearest neighbors were cho- sen to increase the information that could be ob- tained from this method (Boots and Getis 1988). While the first nearest neighbor distances provide an informative measure of feature spacing, the higher order neighbor distances can be used to determine if multiple trends exist in the data (Hodder and Orton 1976; Boots and Getis 1988). Distances to the first, second, and third neighbor were averaged for all features within their respec- tive sites, and were also averaged for each area.

    Both first and third nearest neighbor dis- tances follow the expected trend, that is, distances increase from core to peripheral zones. The aver- age values for first and third neighbors are, respec-

    tively, 8.5 to 10.3 to 11.0, and 23.0 to 25.3 to 25.4, from the core through the intermediate to the pe- ripheral zone respectively. For the second nearest neighbor distance, on the other hand, the average values are 17.4 to 15.9 to 18.0. In this case, the pe- ripheral zone value is as expected, but the core and intermediate zone values are reversed.

    Test Implication 2: Dwelling Patterns As discussed above, the degree of structure exhib- ited by the pattern of dwellings within each site can be characterized by its position in an ideal- ized hierarchy from regular to random spacing. Following Savelle (1987), it has been deemed nec- essary to substitute a "linear" pattern for the the- oretical "regular" pattern as the most "highly structured" pattern (Fig. 2). This is due to the constraints that topography places on the location of dwellings in Thule sites. Thule semisubterra- nean dwellings were principally constructed on gravel beach ridges, as this allowed easier excava- tion into the loose gravel and kept the features above the low ground in between beach ridges where water tends to collect.

    Each site was classified within this hier- archy in order to characterize the extent of struc- ture in the dwelling patterns (Table 3). This was done visually from the site maps, and involved some degree of approximation in equating the ob- served patterns with their idealized counterpart. However, consistency in the treatment of the sites was stressed throughout the process. All sites in the core area except Batty Bay display some form of linear arrangement, with the modal pattern for

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  • 102 Arctic Anthropology 31:2

    Table 1. Number of features, site area, and habitation density for individual sites, and averages for sites within the core, intermediate, and peripheral whaling zones. Area measures are in square meters.

    Number of Area/

    Site Zone Features Average Site Area Average Feature Average

    Cape Garry core 26 7215 278 Ditchburn Point A core 12 1750 146 Ditchbura Point B core 8 1080 135 Mount Oliver core 50 9880 198 PaJs-13 core 12 18 2620 3879 219 211 Learmonth core 13 2380 183 Quoak core 22 4900 223 Batty Bay core 7 1830 262 Port Leopold core 13 2585 199 Fellfoot Point core 17 4550 268

    Resolute intermediate 15 8550 570 Radstock Bay intermediate 8 9.5 1590 2929 199 249 Port Refuge intermediate 5 685 137 Porden Point intermediate 10 890 89

    Brooman periphery 16 6560 410 DeBlicquy periphery 24 15.5 28100 9908 1171 499 Black Point periphery 13 3960 305 Cape Evans periphery 9 1010 112

    Table 2. Nearest neighbor distances for individual sites, and averages for sites within the core, intermediate, and peripheral whaling zones.

    Mean Mean Mean Site Zone 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd

    Cape Garry core 8.0 12.4 17.7 Ditchburn Point A core 6.7 9.3 12.6 Ditchburn Point B core 6.5 10.8 16.3 Mount Oliver core 8.2 14.3 20.5 PaJs-13 core 10.9 16.6 21.0 8.5 17.4 23 Learmonth core 9.4 21.7 27.8 Quoak core 9.2 12.8 17.1 Batty Bay core 7.4 45.7 52.4 Port Leopold core 10.5 16.5 25.9 Fellfoot Point core 7.9 13.5 19.0

    Resolute intermediate 13.9 19.3 39.6 Radstock Bay intermediate 12.8 23.9 35.4 10.3 15.9 25.3 Port Refuge intermediate 9.2 12.4 14.8 Porden Point intermediate 5.2 8.0 11.2

    Brooman Point periphery 12.7 16.5 23.1 DeBlicquy periphery 14.2 26.5 35.1 11 18 25.4 Black Point periphery 10.2 17.7 26.3 Cape Evans periphery 6.9 11.4 16.9

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  • Grier & Savelle: Thule Social Organization 103

    Table 3. Site structure data for individual sites, and averages for sites within the core, intermediate, and peripheral whaling zones.

    Site Zone Characterization Value Average Clusters/Site Average

    Cape Garry core multiple linear 6 1 Ditchburn Point A core single linear 5 1 Ditchburn Point B core broken linear 4 1 Mount Oliver core multiple linear 6 1 PaJs-13 core multiple linear 6 5 1 1.4 Learmonth core broken linear 4 2 Quoak core multiple linear 6 1 Batty Bay core multiple cluster 3 2 Port Leopold core broken linear 4 3 Fellfoot Point core multiple linear 6 1

    Resolute intermediate multiple linear 6 1 Radstock Bay intermediate broken linear 4 4.5 2 1.8 Port Refuge intermediate single linear 5 1 Porden Point intermediate multiple cluster 3 3

    Brooman periphery multiple cluster 3 2 DeBlicquy periphery multiple cluster 3 4 3 2 Black Point periphery multiple linear 6 1 Cape Evans periphery broken linear 4 2

    this area being multiple linear (5 of 10). Sites in the intermediate and peripheral zones, on the other hand, are generally situated more towards the "loosely structured" end of the hierarchy.

    In order to allow a better comparison of the average degree of structure exhibited by sites in the three areas, each idealized structure type was assigned a numerical value. The random pattern, being the most "loosely structured" pattern was assigned a value of 1. The multiple linear pattern, being the most "highly structured" was assigned a value of 6, and other patterns in between were assigned integer values corresponding to their rel- ative position in the hierarchy.

    Subsequently, each site was assigned the nu- merical value representing its degree of structure, and these values averaged for each area (Table 3). The highest value, indicative of the highest aver- age structuring of sites, is found in the core area (5.0), followed by the intermediate zone (4.5), and finally the peripheral zone (4.0). That is, the ex- pected trend is indeed present.

    The second component characterizing the relative degree of site structure is the number of distinct groupings of dwellings in each site. Again, the identification of distinct groupings within sites is somewhat subjective. The calcula- tion of the number of clusters in a site was kept consistent with the implications of that site's po- sition in the structure hierarchy (i.e., a site desig- nated as single linear could not have two clusters). For the purposes of this computation, multiple

    linear sites with no associated "satellite clusters" as defined in the hierarchical site classification based on site structure (Fig. 2) were assigned values of 1. Otherwise, treating the highly struc- tured rows in multiple linear sites as individual groups would result in a contradiction vis a vis the site structure value. Using this numerical scheme, the average number of clusters per site for the core, intermediate, and peripheral areas are 1.4, 1.8, and 2.0 respectively (Table 3). Again, this follows the predicted trend.

    Discussion and Conclusions The expectations and results are compared sum- marily in Table 4. The terms "low," "medium," and "high" are used in an ordinal sense only. That is, for the test implications, they indicate the relative rank of the predicted values vis a vis core, intermediate, and peripheral zones. Interval scale results are provided individual tests, but be- cause of the variability within zones and the small sample size, these should also be taken as indicating relative rank only. Because of the rela- tively small number of sites involved, it is not likely that all of the observed differences are sta- tistically significant (for example, averages of 25.3 vs. 25.4 for the third nearest neighbor in inter- mediate vs. peripheral zone sites).

    Given the above caveat, it is instructive that essentially all predicted trends in the various components of site structure examined do in fact

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  • 1 04 Arctic Anthropology 31 :2

    Table 4. Summary comparison of expected and observed results for sites within the core, intermediate, and peripheral whaling zones.

    Degree of Area Habitation Density Structure No. of Clusters Neighbor Distance (1,2,3)

    Expected Core high high low low:low:low Intermediate med med med med:med:med Periphery low low high high:high:high

    Observed Core 211 5 1.4 8.5/17.4/23.0 Intermediate 249 4.5 1.8 10.3/15.9/25.3 Periphery 499 4 2 11.0/18.0/25.4

    occur. The core area has the highest habitation density, closest feature spacing (lowest first and third nearest neighbor distances), most highly structured feature arrangement, and highest site integration (fewest clusters), all of which decrease (except feature spacing, which increases) through the intermediate to the peripheral zones. Accor- dingly, it can be suggested that the intensity of whaling does indeed appear to have significantly influenced Thule social organization.

    To summarize, a bowhead whale-based sub- sistence economy involves the procurement and processing of a considerable amount of biomass, and cooperation must exist in order to efficiently obtain and process this resource. This necessity can consequently be inferred to have influenced social relations. Thus, it is important that the re- construction of Thule social organization from archaeological data be approached from the per- spective of (1) the degree to which the subsis- tence system is focused on a specific resource, and (2) the size of the resource being procured with respect to the labor cooperation necessary to successfully exploit it.

    The implications of the above two factors are that (1) increased levels of interaction through consistent labor cooperation for subsistence re- quirements result in a more formalized set of re- lations that are emulated or reinforced through the use of space, particularly in the patterning of features within a site, and (2) flexibility in the subsistence focus is accompanied by flexibility in social organization and thus greater dwelling spacing resulting from the reluctance or counter- productiveness of being committed to specific co- operative relations designed for one particular situation.

    Acknowledgments. The field surveys described in this paper were funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and sup- ported logistically by the Polar Continental Shelf Project, Department of Energy, Mines and Re-

    sources (Canada). Allen P. McCartney (University of Arkansas) and Thomas G. Smith (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada) were instru- mental in the design and implementation of this fieldwork. Casey Cowan assisted in the data com- pilation and text editing. Finally, the many valu- able comments and suggestions by the three anonymous reviewers significantly improved an earlier version of this paper. To these organiza- tions and individuals we extend our gratitude.

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    Article Contentsp. [95]p. 96p. 97p. 98p. 99p. 100p. 101p. 102p. 103p. 104p. 105p. 106p. 107

    Issue Table of ContentsArctic Anthropology, Vol. 31, No. 2 (1994), pp. 1-118Front MatterSocial Evolution among Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Foragers in the Lake Baikal Region: New Light on Old Models [pp. 1-15]A Demographic History of the Kamchadal/Itelmen of Kamchatka Peninsula: Modeling the Precontact Numbers and Postcontact Depopulation [pp. 16-30]A High Arctic Mesolithic Industry on Zhokov Island: Inset Tools and Knapping Technology [pp. 31-44]Investigation of the Earliest Settlement with Stone Tools on the Commander Islands [pp. 45-56]A Massacre and Possible Cannibalism in the Canadian Arctic: New Evidence from the Saunaktuk Site (NgTn-1) [pp. 57-77]Metabolic Stress among Prehistoric Foragers of the Central Alaskan Gulf [pp. 78-94]Intrasite Spatial Patterning and Thule Eskimo Social Organization [pp. 95-107]A Reevaluation of Late Prehistoric Houses of the Naknek River Region, Southwestern Alaska [pp. 108-118]Back Matter


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