Back on the (archaeology) job in Samoa: thinking about niche construction

It’s been almost three years since I have done field work, thanks to covid, and longer since I have done anything with this archaeology blog. Perhaps its time to renew my intentions here.

I have a hard time with blog posts as I don’t want to spew out just anything, but quality thoughts take time and energy, always in short supply.

Nevertheless, what have I been thinking about over the last month excavating mounds in Samoa? I’ve been thinkiing about the applicaiton of niche construction to human settlement and agricultural change here. Seems to me a good way to use these ideas is to help craft hypotheses and their empricial ‘entanglements’. We know that humans modifiy selection pressures through their interactions in/with the environment (‘no new forces here’ in Mary Stiner’s words), so if we propose to categorize the results fo some new behaviour as, say, counteractive NC, this should focus our attention on particular empirical predictions, different from other categories of niche construction. Correct?

I’ll be talking about some of these issues at the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre in November.

Ancient Mound (2/3s cleared) in Sauluafata, Samoa