Transmission Theory in the Study of Stone Tools: A Midwestern North American Example



Selectionism has to do with the differential transmission of traits through generations, however conceived. Popular in archaeology in recent years, selectionism remains better known for programmatic statements than for empirical applications. Boyd and Richerson's transmission models only weakly account for variation and, presumably, selection through time in metric attributes of points in Late Woodland and Emergent Mississippian contexts at the Range site in midwestern North America. Social transmission should increase with population size and social complexity. Range's occupation spans several cycles in these properties without corresponding variation in metric values and their dispersion predicted by theory. Selectionism and other interpretive traditions all require closer attention to how the record formed before we can distinguish between their often competing predictions.