JAR Distinguished Lecture:
Matt Cartmill on Paleoanthropology
Myth or Science?

Volume 58, Number 2, Abstracts

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Matt Cartmill
Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy,
Box 3170, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710

Causal explanations involve both narrative and laws.  To explain some events as the effect of other events, we must at least demonstrate (1) that the cause and effect both took place, with the cause preceding the effect, and (2) that the effect belongs to a class of events that can be reliably expected to follow from a class of events to which the cause belongs.  Demonstration (1) is a narrative; demonstration (2) is a law.  Narrative and "contingency" are not satisfactory substitutes for laws in explaining evolutionary events.  If any evolutionary events are explicable, there must be evolutionary laws, and the course of evolution must therefore be to some extent predictable.  However, many evolutionary events will probably always elude causal explanation.  In particular, as Hume pointed out, qualitatively unique events cannot be explained causally.  If human beings possess qualitatively unique traits, their causes must remain a subject for speculation.  The only evolutionary events we can explain, in our own lineage or any other, are those that conform to recurring regularities.


Barry L. Isaac
Department of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0380

This article presents the first systematic analysis of the statements on prehispanic cannibalism in the 1577-1586 Relaciones Geográficas (RGs) for Nueva Galicia and Nueva España provinces of New Spain, an area occupied by the Aztecs and their closest neighbors.  Forty of the 105 RGs analyzed, from widely scattered locales in the two provinces, allege cannibalism. In both their content and their inherent limitations as a database, these mainly rural reports are very similar to the well-known, intensive, largely urban studies of Aztec culture made in the sixteenth century (e.g., by Durán and Sahagún).  While the Spanish/mestizo RG authors who offered damning assessments of Indian culture or character were more likely to allege cannibalism, those whose greater interest in indigenous culture in reflected in their lengthier reports on it also mention the practice.  At the same time, the statements on cannibalism were directly attributed to Indian informants in 18 (45 percent) of the 40 RGs alleging cannibalism.


Sliman Khawalde and Dan Rabinowitz
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv,
Tel-Aviv, Israel

Members of a low-status Arab group in Galilee, said to be of Bedoin origins and known by neighboring Palestinians as Ghawarna (sing. Ghorani), recently tend to play down this affiliation, some to the extent of denying that a group called Ghawarna ever existed.  This phenomenon is evaluated against the better-known tendency in Arab cultures to embellish, glorify, and sometimes invent a unified past.  A distinction is made between competition at the top of the social scale-- which tends to stress noble descent-- and struggle to escape the bottom, which may hinge on undoing pejorative associations.  The article suggests that the ideology of blood ties and the social hierarchy that it engenders within and between groups and tribes in Arab culture are perhaps less uniform and constant than hitherto assumed.  Finally, the case of the Ghawarna and their (denied) geneology is contextualized within the political predicament of Palestinian citizens of Israel, particularly those who were displaced in 1948.


Philip Carl Salzman
Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7

A review of research on pastoral nomads in Iran leads to a number of general observations about pastoral nomadism.  Nomadic movement is highly purposeful and is oriented toward achieving specific production or other goals.  Commonly nomadic mobility is used to advance production goals in a number of diverse sectors.  However, nomadism is not tied to one type of economic system;  some nomads have generalized, consumption-oriented production, while others are specialized and market-oriented.  Nor is nomadism limited to one type of land tenure;  some nomads migrate within a territory that they control, while others have no political or legal claim over the land they use.  Furthermore, some pastoral nomads live in isolated regions far from other populations, while others live close to peasant and urban populations.  Pastoral nomads vary in political structure from state-controlled peasants, to centralized chiefdoms, to weak chiefdoms, to segmentary lineages systems.

Social Theory in Archaeology. Michael Brian Schiffer, ed. Salt Lake City: Univesity of Utah Press, 2000, vii + 237 pp. $55.00, cloth.
Reveiwed by Randall H. McGuire, Binghamton University

Posing Questions for a Scientific Archaeology.  Terry L. Hunt , Carl P. Lipo, and Sarah L. Sterling, eds.  Westpost, Conn.: Bergin and Garvey, 2001, 336 pp. $67.50, cloth.
Reviewed by R. Lee Lyman, University of Missouri

Sampling in Archaeology. Clive Orton. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 261 pp. $75.00, cloth; $28.00, paper.
Reviewed by Edward J. Bedrick, University of New Mexico

Excavation.  Steve Roskams.  Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2001, xv + 311 pp. $74.95, cloth; $27.95, paper.
Reviewed by Michael Shott, University of Northern Iowa

Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power.  Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden, eds.  Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001, 432 pp. $55.00, cloth; $29.95, paper.
Reviewed by Richard Blanton, Purdue University

Cultural Evolution: Contemporary Viewpoints. Gary M. Feinman and Linda Manzanilla.  New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2000, xv + 269 pp. $67.50, cloth.
Reviewed by Robert Santely, University of New Mexico

Classic Period Mixtequilla, Veracruz, Mexico: Diachronic Inferences from Residential Investigations.  Barbara L. Stark, ed. Albany, N.Y.: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, SUNY Albany, 2001, 411 pp., 195 figures, 114 tables. $45.00, paper.
Reviewed by Robert Santely, University of New Mexico

Ritual Sacrifice in Ancient Peru. Elizabeth P. Benson and Anita G. Cook, eds. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001, 227 pp. $45.00, cloth; $19.95, paper.
Reviewed by Erica Hill, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. J.P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair. London: Thames and Hudson, 2000, 352 pp., 190 illustrations. £28.00, cloth.
Reviewed by Nicola Di Cosmo, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Ceramics and Community Organization among the Hohokam.  David R. Abbott. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000, 280 pp. $40.00, cloth.
Reviewed by W. Bruce Masse, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Prehistoric Painted Pottery of Southeastern Arizona. Robert A. Heckman, Barbara K. Montgomery, and Stephanie M. Whittlesey, eds. Tucson, Ariz.: Statistical Research, Inc., 2001, 163 pp., 10 color plates, 59 black-and-white illustrations. $35.00, paper.
Reviewed by Michelle Hegmon, Arizona State University 

The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity. J.E. Rehder.  Quebec: McGill-Queens University Press, 2000, 216 pp. $39.95, cloth.
Reviewed by Ralph M. Rowlett, University of Missouri-Columbia

Earliest Italy: An Overview of the Italian Paleolithic and Mesolithic. Margherita Mussi.  New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001, xviii + 399 pp.  $79.95, cloth.
Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico

Settlement Dynamics of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age.  N.J. Caonrad, ed. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag, 2001, xx + 61 pp. 49.95 euros.
Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico

Pathways of Power: Building an Anthropoloy of the Modern World. Eric R. Wolf, with a preface by Sydel Silverman and a foreward by Aram A. Yengoyan.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001, xx + 463 pp.  $60.00, cloth; $24.95, paper.
Reviewed by Les Field, University of New Mexico

The Shaping of American Ethnography: The Wilkes Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.  Barry Alan Joyce.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001, 187 pp., 30 figures, 2 maps.  $40.00, cloth.
Reviewed by Patrick V. Kirch, University of California, Berkeley

A New System for the Formal Analysis of Kinship.  Sydney H. Gould.  Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2000, 472 pp. $57.50, cloth.
Reviewed by Harold W. Scheffler, Yale University

Creativity and Beyond: Cultures, Values, and Change.  Robert Paul Weiner.  Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2000, 353 pp. $24.95, paper.
Reviewed by Vera John-Steiner and Valerie Clement, University of New Mexico

Doing Fieldwork: The Correspondence of Robert Redfield and Sol Tax. Robert A Rubenstein, ed. with forward by Lisa Redfield Peattie.  New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002, 354 pp.  $29.95, paper.
Reviewed by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico

Reproducing Jews: A cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel.  Susan Martha Kahn. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2000, 227 pp. $17.95, paper.
Reviewed by Kaja Finkler, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Humors and Substances: Ideas of the Body in New Guinea.  Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, with contributions by Ien Courtens and Dianne van Oosterhout.  Westport, Conn.: Bergin and Garvey, 2001, 176 pp. $54.50, cloth.
Reviewed by Roger Ivar Lohmann, The College of Wooster

Deadhead Social Science: "You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Want to Know."  Rebecca G. Adams and Robert Sardiello, eds.  Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2000, 299 pp. $24.95, paper.
Reviewed by Russell Cole, University of New Mexico

African-American Pioneers in Anthropology. Ira E. Harrison and Faye V. Harrison, eds. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999, 328 pp. $49.95, cloth.
Reviewed by James Lowell Gibbs, Jr., Stanford University

Dance in Cambodia.  Toni Samantha Phim and Ashley Thompson.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, vii + 91 pp. $19.95, cloth.
Reviewed by Jill Sweet, Skidmore College

The Performance of Gender: Anthropology of Everyday Life in a South Indian Fishing Village.  Cecilia Busby.  New Brunswick, N.J.: Athlone Press, 2000, 262 pp. $80.00, cloth.
Religion against the Self: An Ethnography of Tamil Rituals.  Isabelle Nabokov.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 230 pp. $35.00, cloth; $19.95, paper.
Reviewed by Stephen A. Tyler, Rice University

The Rise of Anthropological Theory, updated edition.  Marvin Harris.  Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2001, 832 pp. $90.00, cloth; $34.95, paper.
Book Note by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico

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