Posted by Steve Price on June 21, 1999 at 12:07:50:
In Reply to: Re: Are better rugs peferentially preserved? posted by Michael Wendorf on June 21, 1999 at 11:20:03:
My choice of words in the posting to which you responded was not very good. I used "good" and "bad"as synonyms for "better" and "worse". My contention is simply that the better something is, the more likely it is to be preserved. A consequence of this is that the surviving old examples are statistically weighted in the direction of "better".
That, as you point out, leaves the question of what "better" means. I think there are many factors, some that change drastically with time and place and others that are more nearly stable. The relatively stable ones include the skill needed to make the object, the labor it takes to do so, and the cost of the materials. I think your thesis that something will be taken care of if it is not easy to replace is related to this. The factors that I listed are those that make replacement difficult.
Nothing in this approach leads to the conclusion that every preserved old piece is better than every trashed old piece, only that the trashed ones were, on the average, of lesser quality than the ones that got preserved. Nor would I suggest that the factors I list are the only ones that contribute to how "good" something is, only that those factors are significant and probably always were.
Post a Followup