The Nii'ii hunting stand site : understanding technological practice as social practice in subarctic prehistory




MacKay, Glen R.

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I argue that by understanding lithic technology as a total social fact, that is, as socially, culturally and politically constituted, it is possible to gain some insight into prehistoric social practice. An archaeological examination of the Nii 'ii site (KdVo-5), a prehistoric hunting stand locality in southwestern Yukon Territory, serves as a case study for this argument. Spatial reconstruction of this site indicates the presence of several social actors engaged in face-to-face interaction. Technological analysis of the lithic assemblage demonstrates that the observed variability in tool forms cannot be explained solely in terms of tool function; instead, it appears that the technical choices made by the occupants of KdVo-5 were socially and culturally mediated. I outline a theory of technological practice, based on practice-oriented social theory, in an attempt to understand the importance of these technical choices in the construction of social relationships at Nii 'ii.