10. Conclusion

In summary, although using efficiency as the parameter by which to investigate stone tool production-distribution systems allows for a much greater understanding of how the stages of raw material acquisition and production of stone tools was organised, by itself it is not an effective measure by which to distinguish between different systems operating at any one site. For the above analysis, scale of production and consumption rates was also required to indicate that spades were being produced for consumption off site. One of the reasons that there may appear to be little difference in the efficiency of the production of different tools at Huizui, is that the production of tools for local consumption may have been embedded within the production of tools for export. That is, a production-distribution system for regional export may have been set up for the production of spades, into which households integrated the production of their own tools.

The assumption of the efficiency of several measures used in the above analysis also needs to be examined in more detail, especially in relation to their link with different levels of production-distribution systems. For example, the level of distribution based on context of production is often assumed rather than proven and the above analysis showed that widespread distribution could possibly result from household production. There therefore needs to be further testing of the context of production and its relationship with level of distribution.

This study has also shown the importance of understanding all stages of a production-distribution system, through the use of the combined dataset of geological data, survey and excavation assemblages. In the above summary, raw material acquisition was shown to be economically efficient, yet production of the stone tools was not. By only focusing upon one of these areas, the true nature of the overall production-distribution system is hidden. However, this study is limited by the lack of information on the distribution of stone tools from Huizui. Further study of other regional Erlitou sites within the Yiluo Basin would greatly improve our understanding of the regional distribution of stone tools and the true extent of the export of the oolitic dolomite spades.


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Last updated: Wed Jul 1 2009