The Semantics of Local Knowledge:
Using Ethnosemantics to Study Folk Taxonomies Represented in the Archaeological Record
Christine S. VanPool and Todd L. VanPool
Department of Anthropology
University of Missouri
KEY WORDS: Casas Grandes, Cognitive archaeology, Folk taxonomy, Iconography, Semantics, Symbolic analysis, Shamanism
A culture’s semantic structure reflects and affects local knowledge (the conceptual structure used to interact with the environment). Archaeological analysis of iconography reflecting folk taxonomies and other aspects of local knowledge will consequently provide insight into many different aspects of past cultures. A methodology for modeling folk taxonomy is introduced. Both Linnaean and folk taxonomies are based on gross morphological traits, creating correspondence between them at the generic-species level. However, differences are likely at higher taxonomic levels and will be portrayed by depictions of “anomalous” taxa at odds with Linnaean taxonomy. Using archaeological context, symbolic associations, and analogy, archaeologists can use these anomalies to determine the underlying semantic connections. We apply this model to Casas Grandes effigies and find that owls, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, and shamans are associated with each other under the semantic domain “night” and are central to Medio period cosmology and leadership.
Native Americans: The First Conservationists?
An Examination of Shepard Krech III’s Hypothesis with Respect to the Western Shoshone
Richard O. Clemmer
Department of Anthropology
University of Denver
KEY WORDS: Conservationists, Ecosystem engineering, Native Americans, Western Shoshone
The well-known argument by Shepard Krech (1999) that Native Americans were not in fact “the first conservationists” is tackled by examining the Western Shoshone as they were documented in the most intensive period of initial contact: 1828–1870. Particular attention is paid to their uses of fire, fish, pine nuts, antelope, and beaver. Reference is made to a model developed by Eric Smith and Mark Wishnie (2000) in which several key concepts are salient: ecosystem engineering, taking a short-term loss in order to reap a long-term gain, and “effective” conservation. On the basis of this case study, examination of factors such as resources that could neither be predicted nor controlled, proprietary rights that were defended, tracts with open access where communal management was the norm, and the existence of resource-procurement directions in future studies is crucial for determining the extent of Native American conservationism.
Hunting Dogs in the Lowland Neotropics
Department of Anthropology
University of Cincinnati
KEY WORDS: Dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, Subsistence hunting, Technology, Tropical forest, Domesticated animals
Once absent in much of Amazonia, dogs are now commonly used for hunting throughout the lowland Neotropics. Although some ethnographers have questioned their usefulness, dogs are particularly effective in pursuits of several mammalian prey species. The return rates of hunting with dogs appear to compare favorably with those of hunting with firearms, and dogs may be especially beneficial in anthropogenic habitats. There is considerable cross-cultural variation in the training and care of dogs. Good hunting dogs typically receive better care than their less-talented conspecifics. Mortality rates for dogs in the Neotropics are high, and the causes of death include malnutrition and attacks by other animals. Although isolated Neotropical societies may not have initially recognized the overall value of hunting dogs, a more likely explanation for the absence of dogs in prehistoric Amazonia is the high mortality of dog populations in the region. Additional research is needed to resolve ethnological questions about the use of dogs in the lowland Neotropics.
The Last Institution Standing:
Contradictions and the Politics of Domination in an
Donald V. Kurtz
KEY WORDS: Anti-Brahman movements, Brahmans, Contradictions, Leadership, Maharashtra, Marathas, Political teams/rules, Politics, Pune University (India)
The society and culture of the Indian state of Maharashtra were dominated for more than a century by Brahman communities, especially Chitpavan Brahmans, which never exceeded 5% of the total population. By the time the state of Maharashtra was established in 1960, Maharashtra’s numerically dominant Maratha caste was already subverting Brahman control of the state’s institutions. By 1970 Pune University was the last secular institution that remained under Brahman control, and it became an arena of political conflict as other Brahmans and Marathas challenged the decades-long Chitpavan domination of the university’s government. This paper explains how contradictions in caste (Brahmans, Marathas) and institution (postgraduate campus, city colleges, rural colleges) evoked a history of conflict that climaxed in the mid-1970s. At that time, two political “teams” engaged in an internecine campaign to determine who would govern the university.
Keith Hunley: The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending
Lawrence G. Straus: Arte Rupestre Prehistórico del Oriente de Asturias, by Sergio Ríos González, César García de Castro Valdés, Marco de la Rasilla Vives, and Francisco Javier Fortea Pérez
Lawrence G. Straus: Productions Lamellaires Attribuées à l’Aurignacien: Chaînes Opératoires et Perspectives Technoculturelles, Foni Le Brun-Ricalens, ed.
Lawrence G. Straus: El Abric de la Falguera (Alcoi, Alacant): 8.000 Años de Ocupación Humana en la Cabecera del Río de Alcoi, Oreto García Puchol, and J. Emili Aura Tortosa, eds.
Mohamed Sahnouni: Las Ocupaciones Humanas de la Cueva de Caf Taht el Ghar (Tetuán): Los Productos Arqueológicos del Estrecho de Gibraltar, José Ramos, Mehdi Zouak, Darío Bernal, and Baraka Raissouni, eds.
Antonio Gilman: Heraldry for the Dead: Memory, Identity, and the Engraved Stone Plaques of Neolithic Iberia, by Katina T. Lillios
Alan H. Simmons: A Social Archaeology of Households in Neolithic Greece: An Anthropological Approach, by Stella G. Souvatzi
Pamela R. Willoughby: The First Africans: African Archaeology from the Earliest Toolmakers to Most Recent Foragers, by Lawrence Barham and Peter Mitchell
Judith R. Cooper: Imagining Head-Smashed-In: Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains, by Jack W. Brink
Ken Tankersley: Murray Springs: A Clovis Site with Multiple Activity Areas in the San Pedro Valley, Arizona, C. Vance Haynes, Jr. and Bruce B. Huckell, eds.
Stephen H. Lekson: Exploring Variability in Mogollon Pithouses, Barbara J. Roth and Robert J. Stokes, eds.
Severin Fowles: Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World, by James E. Snead
Thomas S. Abler: Social Violence in the Prehispanic American Southwest, Deborah L. Nichols and Patricia L. Crown, eds.
Kari L. Schleher: Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery: Viewing Pueblo IV Regional Organization through Ceramic Production and Exchange, by Deborah L. Huntley
Barbara J. Roth: Trincheras Sites in Time, Space, and Society, Suzanne K. Fish, Paul R. Fish, and M. Elisa Villalpando, eds.
Torben C. Rick: The Chumash World at European Contact: Power, Trade, and Feasting among Complex Hunter-Gatherers, by Lynn H. Gamble
Keith Ashley: Native American Landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia, by David Hurst Thomas
Frances Hayashida: Ancient Tiwanaku, by John Wayne Janusek
Karen Lupo: Time and Change: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives on the Long-term in Hunter-Gatherer Societies, Dimitra Papagianni, Robert Layton, and Herbert Maschner, eds.
Pamela L. Geller: Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives: Sex, Gender, and Archaeology, by Rosemary A. Joyce
H. Martin Wobst: Archaeology as Political Action, by Randall H. McGuire
Bruce Bernstein: Kenneth Milton Chapman: A Life Dedicated to Indian Arts and Artists, by Janet Chapman and Karen Barrie
Irene Javors: Therapy after Terror: 9/11, Psychotherapists, and Mental Health, by Karen M. Seeley
Heather J. Edgar: Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins, by David N. Livingstone
Jeffrey H. Schwartz: Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton, M. Anne Katzenberg and Shelley R. Saunders, eds.
Kaye E. Reed: Quantitative Paleozoology, by R. Lee Lyman
Joe Watkins: Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 2: Indians in Contemporary Society, Garrick A. Bailey, ed.
Kent G. Lightfoot: Abalone Tales: Collaborative Explorations of Sovereignty and Identity in Native California, by Les W. Field
John Bodinger de Uriarte: High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty, by Jessica R. Cattelino
Danielle Moretti-Langholtz: North American Indians in the Great War, by Susan Applegate Krouse
Barbara Rose Johnston: Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War, by David H. Price
Laura A. McNamara: Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report, by Barbara Rose Johnston and Holly M. Barker
Michael Wood: The Severed Snake: Matrilineages, Making Place, and a Melanesian Christianity in Southeast Solomon Islands, by Michael W. Scott
R. Alan Covey: Heads of State: Icons, Power, and Politics in the Ancient and Modern Andes, by Denise Y. Arnold and Christine A. Hastorf
John Mazzeo: Festival Elephants and the Myth of Global Poverty,
by Glynn Cochrane
As I complete my 15th year as Editor (and de facto Publisher) of the Journal of Anthropological Research, it is my pleasurable duty to thank the highly efficient and professional staff for their excellent work on Volume 65: June-el Piper (Copy Editor), Ann Braswell (Business Manager), Donna Carpio (Designer), Ethan Kalosky (Student Book Review Assistant), and Sean Bruna (Student Web Master). It is hard to believe that JAR/SWJA is coming up on two-thirds of a century of continuous, quarterly publication of a diverse range of anthropological research worldwide.
This is due to the tireless (and often unsung) efforts of the whole team in New Mexico, as well as to those of Thomson-Shore (our printer in Michigan), the Scholarly Publications Office at the University of Michigan (our distributor of recent and current electronic issues), and JSTOR in New York (our electronic repository of SWJA/JAR issues back to its founding in 1945). Readers would be amazed that such a large, international operation functions so efficiently, with such attention to content and technical quality, author and subscriber service, and timeliness, yet with so few personnel and resources. JAR survives through subscriptions and copyright fees, as well as the sale of single issues and offprints. It has only one actual university employee (the Business Manager); the rest are contractors or work-study students. It is a genuine not-for-profit publication and is utterly independent, beholden only to the excellence of its tradition.
In the past 12 months, JAR received and reviewed 73 article manuscripts and published 16. Among these, of course, were the excellent JAR Distinguished Lectures by Jean Clottes and Paul Durrenberger. In 2010, JAR will publish the lectures by Paola Villa with Sylvain Soriano and by George Armelagos. JAR’s book review section continues to flourish, running some 120 reviews per year, making JAR one of the most prolific and timely reviewers of books in all subfields of anthropology at least in the U.S., if not the world. The success of this venture is due in large part to Ann Braswell and Ethan Kalosky (and his predecessors), as well as to my University of New Mexico colleagues who help select book reviewers.
Timely, even-handed, and responsible manuscript reviewing is absolutely critical to the scholarly enterprise (and indeed to the whole academic tenure and promotion system). JAR would not be able to maintain and enhance its very good international reputation without the efforts of those who selflessly review manuscripts for us. Naturally, I too read all the manuscripts, but I rely heavily on the advice of specialists. This year, in addition as always to the members of the JAR Editorial Board and Associate Editors, I wish to very sincerely thank the following for doing one or more reviews each:
||L. A. Cormier
|C. M. Barton
|J. D. Bate
|L. G. Freeman
||D. H. Proulx
||E. P. Renne
|D. J. Kennett
Finally, as a result of postal rate increases, we are forced to impose a surcharge
on non-U.S. subscriptions that renew after February 15, 2010. This is because the
individual, overseas mailing of issues to late subscribers costs JAR much more
than the bulk rate we get for on-time subscribers. So please, send your payments
promptly, but certainly with enough time to arrive before February 15. Thank
you! And thanks to all our subscribers from around the U.S. and the world for
your continuing support of JAR and the best in anthropological scholarship.
Lawrence Guy Straus