Volume 52, Number 3, Abstracts

From the Old Stone Age to the Consumer Society

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Michael J. Shott
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, University of Northern
Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0513

The concept of "curation" has enjoyed wide use but also has received sharp criticism, in the past two decades. Ambiguity in original sources permits curation to signify variously the implications and consequences of one practice and the relationship that underlies it. As a result, curation means too many different things. A new definition involving utility extracted follows from the view that curation is a continuous, not nominal, variable and that it is a property of tools, not of entire assemblages or industries. So understood, the ambiguity and contested meanings plaguing the term may disappear.


Michael Baales and Martin Street
Forschungsbereich Altsteinzeit des Romisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums
Mainz, Schloß Monrepos, D-56567 Neuwied, Germany

In the Central Rhineland Neuwied Basin, tectonic activity led to a number of major Pleistocene volcanic eruptions, the last of which, that of the Laacher See volcano towards the end of the Allerod Interstadial, covered large areas with pumice and ash, sealing the late glacial land surface and preserving paleontological and archaeological localities. This Central Rhineland landscape was characterized by a mosaic vegetation in which stands of trees, of different composition according to topography and hydrology and in places with dense undergrowth, alternated with more open areas with a rich herbaceous vegetation. A wide range of animal species included red deer (Cervus elaphus), horse (Equus sp.), a large bovid (Bos primigenius?), moose (Alces alces), and beaver (Castor fiber). The Central Rhineland was inhabited at this time by the Federmessergruppen, a term applied generally here to the northern European late glacial technocomplex with curved-backed points. Apart from larger settlement sites, the Laacher See tephra also preserves evidence for a more ephemeral human presence, such as hearths with either little or no associated indication of other human activity, and although no Federmessergruppen burials have yet been found, on two occasions human remains have been found beneath the pumice.


Kelli Carmean
Department of Anthropology, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475
Jeremy A. Sabloff
University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

As many of the great Classic Maya cities of the Southern Maya Lowlands went into decline in the late eighth or early ninth centuries A.D., numerous cities in the Puuc region of the Northern Maya Lowlands began their brief but spectacular florescence. Scholars have inferred that these closely packed Puuc cities were politically independent for much of their florescence. This article examines the politically decentralized landscape of the Puuc region with particular attention to the city of Sayil. It then argues that general comparisons with decentralized agrarian societies in widespread geographic areas and at many different times might enable archaeologists to formulate hypotheses which could further illuminate the decentralized political system of the Puuc region.


William W. Dressler
Department of Behavioral and Community Medicine, The University of Alabama,
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0326

Jose Ernesto Dos Santos
Faculty of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil
Mauro Campos Balieiro
Program in Mental Health, University of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto,
Ribeirao Preto, Brazil

The structure and distribution of cultural models within social groups have been studied in a variety of domains, using a variety of methods. In this article we examine cultural models of lifestyle in Brazil; here, lifestyle is defined as the accumulation of consumer goods and the adoption of behaviors that help to define one's social identity. Three issues are examined: (1) the structure and distribution of models of culturally appropriate lifestyles; (2) the association of these cultural models with actual behaviors, along with those factors that promote or inhibit adhering to the cultural ideal; and (3) the utility of using the Romney-Weller-Batchelder cultural consensus model for studying lifestyles. Results indicate that cultural models of lifestyle are highly structured and widely shared across socioeconomic groups. Furthermore, a variety of economic, social, and psychological variables influence the individual's approximation to the cultural ideal. These results indicate that the extent to which cultural meaning systems are shared must be determined empirically and that both group-level and individual-level variability must be taken into account. The methods used here may prove useful in the investigation of a variety of cultural domains.


The Development of Cognitive Anthropology. Roy D'Andrade. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1995, xiv + 272 pp., $54.95 (cloth), $16.95 (paper). Reviewed by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico.

Spirit Possession and Personhood among the Kel Ewey Tuareg. Susan J. Rasmussen. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1995, 178 pp., $49.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Erika Bourguignon, Ohio State University.

Culture and Gender: Kibbutz Women Revisited. Melford E. Spiro. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1996, xvii + 116 pp., $18.95 (paper). Reviewed by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico.

The Great Bear: A Thematic Anthropology of Oral Poetry in the Finno-Ugrian Langauages. Lauri Honko, Senni Timonen, and Michael Branch (editors). Poems translated by Keith Bosley. Oxford: Oxford University Press and Finnish Literature Society, 1994, 785 pp., $98.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Gyula Decsy, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Language and Human Behavior. Derek Bickerton. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995, 192 pp., $24.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico.

Sexual Attraction and Childhood Association: A Chinese Brief for Edward Westermarck. Arthur P. Wolf. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1995, xxiii + 561 pp., $65.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Mark Erickson, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco.

The Archaeology of Disease. Charlotte Roberts and Keith Manchester. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1995, 243 pp., $39.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Ann M. Palkovich, George Mason University.

Hunter-Gatherer Mortuary Practices during the Central Texas Archaic. Leland C. Bement. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994, 165 pp., figs., $37.50 (cloth). Reviewed by Joseph F. Powell, University of New Mexico.

The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins. Alan Walker and Pat Shipman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996, 352 pp., $26.00. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

In the Realm of 8 Deer: The Archaeology of the Mixtec Codices. Bruce E. Byland and John M. Pohl. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995, 448 pp., 3 color plates, 119 black-and-white illustrations 19 maps, bibliography, index, $65.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Peter D. Harrison, Maxwell Museum, University of New Mexico.

Images from the Underworld: Naj Tunich and the Tradition of Maya Cave Painting. Andrea J. Stone. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995, 360 pp., 12 color plates, 199 black-and-white photos, 296 line drawings, 14 maps, 5 tables, $45.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Michael D. Coe, Yale University.

Astronomy and Empire in the Ancient Andes: The Cultural Origins of Inca Sky Watching. Brian S. Bauer and David S.P. Dearborn. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995, xv + 208 pp., 22 black-and-white photos, 14 figures, 9 maps, 7 tables, $37.50 (cloth), $14.95 (paper). Reviewed by Anthony F. Aveni, Colgate University.

Chesapeake Prehistory: Old Traditions, New Directions. Richard J. Dent, Jr. New York: Plenum Publishing, 1995, xii + 319 pp., $45.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Dean Snow, SUNY, Albany.

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