American Anthropologist 1907
Ashmead, Albert S. An Ancient Peruvian Effigy Vase Exhibiting Disease of the Foot. American Anthropologist. July-September, 1907 Vol. 9 (3): 738-740.
Ashmead’s article discusses the implications of the features of a Pre-Colombian water bottle from the Pachacamac Graveyard in Peru with references to his own past research and a brief discussion of related subject matter depicted in ancient Peruvian art. A photograph of the object from two angles accompanies the article. A large sphere forms the body of the bottle. A much smaller sphere with ears and incised facial features and a cylindrical spout opening on top represents the head. The small cylindrical curved handle of the bottle connects the back of the head to the top of the bottle’s body. The figure represented holds one pockmarked foot in its hands, sole pointed upwards.
The article centers around Ashmead’s claim that the bottle most likely depicts the effects of uta, or skin-tuberculosis, due to the characteristic perforations in the sole of the foot and the crude mutilation of the upper lip and nose. Ashmead quickly refutes other claims as to other potential causes of the disease, syphilis or leprosy, due to their inability to create both symptoms represented. He also disagrees with Charles W. Mead’s claim that the extraction of sand flea eggs may have contributed to the distinctive condition of the foot, citing the extreme size of the pits and the presence of facial mutilations. Ashmead then begins a discussion of this type of pottery’s traditional association with the sick, the dying, and the thirsty and the appearance of such vessels in the context of other Peruvian art depicting dances, perhaps used to try to combat the disease.
He also devotes a few paragraphs to the issue of amputation in Peruvian society, linking the amputation of the feet to the disease uta, a cure still used in Peru at the time of the article. He cites research into other types of amputation as forms of punishment, noting that other visual arts depict the loss of an ear, a hand, but never the feet, as punishment for a crime. He says that even if people lost hands to the disease, this would not be depicted on water bottles, often found at grave sites (perhaps as water holders for the dead), since an individual needed his or her hands to eat and drink on his or her final journey to the moon. Ashmead ends his article with an open invitation to other European anthropologists to inform him if they find evidence of mortuary pottery depicting figures with their hands amputated.
Due to the relative shortness and overall simplicity of this article, anyone could easily read and understand it. While advantageous in some ways, the brevity of the article is also a shortcoming due to Ashmead’s relatively brief discussion of his evidence and arguments; therefore, it serves best as a jumping off point for further research rather than as a comprehensive source of information.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ALYSSA L. BROWN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Boas, Franz. Heredity in Anthropometric Traits. American Anthropologist. July- September, 1907 Vol. 9(3):453-469.
The principal question examined in the investigation of head form was whether there is a trend in offspring to group themselves around the middle value of the parents, or show a tendency to sway toward the paternal or the maternal type. This research is a continuation of a paper done some years previous, with the help of a Dr. Fishberg and a Mr. Joseph Fish. Data collected were from families of East European Jews, mostly Russian. Measurements of length and width of head were taken. The examination concludes that the index used (cephalic) shows an alternating inheritance, predominantly from father to mother, but also from earlier ancestry. In addition, when taking into consideration the influence of both father and mother, Boas has shown that often offspring vary around midparental values regularly. He attributes this to the increase in differences in parents.
The author states his objective well, then proceeds with less clarity. The article must be read thoroughly and with care to pay close attention to the numerous statistics given.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ANNE BREKKEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Branch, C.W. Aboriginal Antiquities in Saint Kitts and Nevis. American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(2):315-341
The author’s objective is to detail the artifacts found in the area around Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Lesser Antilles that have been left by a progression of Indian cultures. These artifacts are broken down into seven categories: stone objects, shell implements, ornaments, pottery, rock carvings, middens, and mortuary remains.
There were numerous stone objects found that are thought to range in function, including grinders used to prepare maize, hammerstones used as club-heads, wedges, and other weapons, hatchets used for adzes, wedges, and battle-axes, and others used for skinning and cutting human flesh, smoothing or sharpening other stone and shell implements, woodworking tools, tools used to smooth pottery, and scrapers and knives.
Also found in the area were shell implements. Though there is some debate as to the function of many of these artifacts, some theories of their functions include blades, adzes, wedges, and even spoons.
Many relics were found that appeared to be ornamental in origin. These included beads, shell pendants, and shell and stone pieces that appear to have been artificially altered.
Pottery was also very prevalent in the various excavations and findings in this area. Though many, if not most, of the pieces in fragments, their function is believed to include bowls, platters, and jars. The sophistication used in preparation of the pottery artifacts varies from very unrefined to extremely advanced. The author discusses the variance in firing methods, carvings, and paintings as well.
There are arguably four different petroglyph sites in Saint Kitts and the author discusses the human subjects that dominate the rock carvings. Several sites containing remains of cooking utensils and fossils of crab shells and other fish bones. Finally the author ends with a documentation of the fossil remnants of a human body found near the Saint Kitts site.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
PATRICK HICKEY Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Brennemann, Joseph The Sacral Or So-Called “Mongolian” Pigment Spots of Earliest Infancy and Childhood, With Especial Reference to Their Occurrence in the American Negro American Anthropologist January-March, 1907. Vol.9(1):12-30
Few medical men knew of the occurrence of the pigmented spots discovered on many children. Brennemann’s purpose for this article is to present information regarding this phenomenon to gain interest of anthropologists.
Earliest observations come from Japan in which the spots may extend from the sacral region to the buttocks, the back, or shoulders. This pigmentation is present before, at, or shortly after birth and disappears after a few years.
Buntaro Adachi found the pigment in different amounts in different races and individuals. He reasoned that it is a normal human characteristic because while he studied and found the spots among white Europeans, others found similar results among Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Eskimo and many more.
Previous records in 1905 show no such spots among Negro children when examined. Theory in Japan in the same year states the spot indicates Negro descent. Brennemann offers evidence from his own examinations of forty Negro children. Thirty-five of these children showed well-marked areas of the pigmentation, with darker children having greater pigmentation than those of lighter skin. Brennemann indicates it is impossible to distinguish a relationship between the intensity of the spot and any white blood of the child because the spots vary so widely in all cases.
Epstein examined white children and found consistency in the location, time of occurrence, duration, and color of previously documented data. This evidence tells us that we are dealing with the same entity.
Many superstitions have been attached to this phenomenon but the evidence by Adachi is most satisfactory. Epidermal pigment is formed independently of that in the corium, with the corium pigmentation prominent of the spot. Evidence has shown that these spots are not racially exclusive. This country has special interest in the pigmentation as it may be due to contamination of blood by many possible races.
This article presented clear evidence that each scientist found. In simple language, the examinations of the “Mongolian” spots were explained one at a time. I enjoyed reading this article and gained much knowledge on the subject.
KELLY MARCIKIC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Bushnell, David L. Jr. Virginia – From Early Records American Anthropologist January-March 1907 Vol.9(1): 31-44.
Bushnell discovered the documents contained in this article during searches for materials on the Indians of Virginia during the early days of the colony, in manuscripts at the British Museum in London and the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Many items of historical interest were found in the search, which refer to events in Virginia colony and shed light on writings of early historians. Bushnell believes that these materials may be of interest due to the upcoming three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, which will be celebrated. The material is organized into three different sections of related writings.
The first section is “Fragments from the Early Records” which contains a variety of colonial material on events dealing with Indians. This early material starts with the beginning of the 1607 European invasion of what is now Virginia and describes the “comparatively thickly settled”(31) country of which Powhatan was the leader. Colonial writings on relations, opinions, and contact with various Indian populations are discussed. Powhatan is mentioned throughout the section, which ends with a letter from John Rolfe to Governor Thomas Dale asking to marry Powhatan’s daughter “Pohahuntas”(38).
“Ethnological Specimens from Virginia,” the second section, describes three Indian artifacts including three bows, a habit and purse. These artifacts are the only surviving part of a collection, which has ended up in the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford. “Pohatan’s habit”(39) is made of tanned buckskin and is decorated designs made with small seashells attached by fine thread. Bushnell describes the purse “imbroidered with Roanoake” as being written about for the first time as being the only remaining example of such a purse. The purse is made of Buckskin and embroidered with shells much like the habit however it also contains beadwork. Bushnell believes the beadwork to be the oldest example of North American beadwork and “additional proof of the prehistoric origin of wampum” (40).
“The Indians of Virginia in 1687″ is portions of a never before printed letter by Rev. Mr John Clayton describing aspects of Indian culture. The letter focuses on the Indian priest doctor and describing the practice of the doctor. These descriptions include how medicines are obtained, how the doctor is compensated, and how information is instructed to others. Other descriptions of Indian culture include morals, sports, drinking, smoking and an absence of laws.
Bushnell achieves his objectives of providing access to some previously unpublished material on early Virginia. Bushnell does not make any arguments around the samples selected. However, the article gives insight into how the invading colonists viewed the indigenous people of what is present day Virginia. The writing jumps from one sample to the next with Bushnell providing confusing commentary to a collection of samples offering little insight in to anyone subject.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SHAUN GODWIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Bushnell, David I., Jr. Discoveries Beyond the Appalachian Mountains in September, 1671. American Anthropologist, New Series January-March, 1907 Vol.9(1):45-56.
The general issue addressed in David I. Bushnell, Jr.’s article concerns the relevance of the first European crossing of the Appalachian Mountains as recorded by Robert Fallow in his 1671 journal. The article opens with a brief statement from the author, recounting his discovery of Robert Fallow’s journal in the British Museum, and the historical circumstances under which the expedition occurred. Next, Bushnell offers Fallow’s journal as primary evidence of the 1671 commission and expedition: “Thomas Batts, Thomas Woods and Robert Fallows having received a commission from the honorable Major general Wood for the finding out the ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other side of the Mountains in order to the discovery of the South Sea” (46). Fallow’s journal provides a day-by-day account of the expedition, including the route they followed and the people with whom they interacted. Lastly, following the journal segment, Bushnell provides the reader with an excerpt from a letter written by a Mr. Clayton to the Royal Society in regards to Fallow’s expedition. Bushnell uses Mr. Clayton’s letter to voice his own opinions of the journey’s bearing on history, which contends that Fallow’s crossing was “an interesting addition to the records of early explorations toward the west, and is of value to the ethnologist as showing the location of certain tribes in the latter part of the seventeenth century” (56).
Thus, the premise of Bushnell’s article is that this particular crossing of the Appalachian Mountains was important, because it was the first in a long line of expeditions that lead U.S. settlement west toward the Mississippi River and subsequently provided significant information about the geographical location of some of the first native groups to be forced off their land by settlers.
LAURA MIECZKOWSKI Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)
Chamberlain, Alexander F. Thomas Jefferson’s Ethnological Opinions and Activities American Anthropologist July-September, 1907 Vol.9(3):499-509
Alexander F. Chamberlain poses the idea that Thomas Jefferson should be entitled to rank among the forerunners of the American school of anthropologists. He addresses Jefferson’s role as an anthropologist and the amount of time he devoted to his observations and investigations. In addition to Jefferson’s importance as a statesman, “he devoted some time to the consideration of the ethnological problems involved in the history of the Red Man and the Negro in America…” (499). Chamberlain summarizes several entries from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia that he dedicated to the natural history of the Native Indians, African Americans and the language relationship between the Indians and the English settlers.
In order to satisfy his inquiries on the correctness of opinions and details as to the origin and construction of Indian “barrows”, Jefferson personally opens and examines one of these Indian burial sites. “The account given by him of this investigation is characteristic of his inquiring and scientific attitude of mind. The details also show his great carefulness” (499). The article moves to Jefferson’s concern about the second hand nature of authors who have tried to cross culturally examine different classes of society. He points out that several authors who have compared the inhabitants of America with those of Europe and how education improves their well being, have yet to leave the soil of Europe. This is also of concern when dealing with the inferiority of genius between the Europeans, Native Indians and African Americans. Jefferson states that it is unfair to judge the natural genius of a race of man from this second hand perspective. One would be better off examining these ideas himself. Chamberlain includes an excerpt of a letter written by Jefferson addressed to Captain Meriwether Lewis, when the famous Lewis and Clark expedition was about to be organized in 1803. Concerning contact between the white man of the United States with the Indians of the great West, Jefferson gave explicit instructions as to the importance of inquiry in to the Indian culture. The Indian language, traditions, monuments, prevalent diseases and methods of treatment, tribal relations, laws, customs and dispositions were among the many aspects of inquiry that Jefferson had laid out for the explorers. Finally, Jefferson remarks on the importance of language saying that at an early period in his life, “he was led to believe that if there had ever been a relation between them [Indians] and the men of color in Asia, traces of it would be found in their several languages” (508). Jefferson himself had directly observed and recorded some two hundred and fifty words originating in the Delaware vocabulary.
Chamberlain does a wonderful job of highlighting Thomas Jefferson’s work in the natural history of the Indians, African Americans and the language relationships that were seen during the late seventeen hundreds and the early eighteen hundreds. The article was brief, concise, easy to read and very interesting.
SARAH M. LITTLE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Cushing, Frank Hamilton. Observations Relative to the Origin of the Flyfot or Swastika. American Anthropologist April-June 1907 Vol.9(2):334-337.
In this article, the author’s main objective is to present symbols from a variety of cultures, which appear similar to that of the swastika. By explaining the usage and meaning of the pictographs, the author speculates on the possible origins of the European swastika. The idea is to guess as to how, where, and why the idea of the swastika developed.
The use of drawings in his explanation is a big help and assists the reader in visually comparing the pictures of the various pictographs with that of the swastika, and drawing conclusions as to the visual similarities.
The author uses evidence from distant parts of the world, such as ancient America (Native regions), China, Japan, and Korea. Each design receives about one to two sentences of description. The author’s accounts of these possibly related drawings are very brief; for example he describes a design from China, Japan, and Korea, “… in which the arms of the enclosed cross are double-curved is another variety of this swastika”. This description is dry and to the point.
Although the author is clear with his simple explanation of each symbol, he makes no attempt to directly compare the meaning of each symbol with the meaning of the swastika. Not once in the article does the author explain the meaning of the swastika. Without explaining the symbolism of the Swastika, the reader is left to hypothesize as to what symbolic aspects of the various drawings are synonymous with the swastika.
Overall, the short length and simplistic vocabulary used make this article an easy reading. It is a clear-cut article, although the reader may have to learn the symbolic meaning of the swastika beforehand.
SUSIE CAIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Dixon, Roland B. and A.L Kroeber. Numeral Systems of the Language of California. American Anthropologist. October-December, 1907 Vol.9:663-690.
The purpose of this article is to inform the reader of the various numeric systems within the different Native American groups of California. Roland B. Dixon states in his article that there are several different numeral systems. Each language has its own way of counting, and they vary greatly from area to area, and from tribe to tribe.
The first numeral system Dixon lists is Quinary, in which the numbers below ten are “formed on a quinary basis” (Dixon does not explain this), and the numbers of ten and above are formed by adding the word “ten” to the number that was below ten. The second system listed is Decimal. The third numeral system is Vigesimal, which is counting by twenties. This is very rare in California. Quaternary, or counting by fours, is next on the list. The fifth numeral system is Multiplication, where four is made from two, and six is “occasionally formed from three”. There is Addition and Subtraction, where a number is formed from adding to or taking from a number. Lastly, there is Analogy, which an interesting way of counting. It uses natural numbers to count things. For an example, if one wanted to count 10 apples, one would say, “my-hand finished both”. If counting 40 apples, one would say, “all my-hand my-foot finished again all my-hand my-foot finished”.
Dixon also includes charts of languages and their numeral systems, maps of California showing where each numeral system is used predominately. These are used well to support his report on the different systems. Dixon lists and then explains the numbering systems in adequate detail.
The beginning of this article was filled with technical anthropological jargon, but otherwise was very readable. The problem that I had was that Dixon did not define certain things that really needed to be clarified, such as the meaning of quinary. This is an article that has prerequisites for it, in my opinion. The reader has to have known beforehand what the meanings of the systems are. If the reader has a basic knowledge of different numbering systems, this is a useful article.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JESSICA BISHOP Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Fewkes, J. Walter A Fictitious Ruin In Gila Valley, Arizona. American Anthropologist July-September,1907 Vol.9(3):510-512
In this article, the author tries to rationalize why the “House of Tcuhu,” a once-believed ruin in the Gila Valley, is indeed an object of folklore. The author re-examined some documentary accounts of Casa Grande and other ruins in the Pinal county of Arizona. ( Pinal county is the current name of the valley formally known as Gila.) He claims that part of the document, originally in Spanish, was translated incorrectly. Fewkes has the document translated again and interprets the House of Tcuhu as a fictional house used in games and storytelling. The House of Tcuhu has a very distinct layout. When he consults one of the best-informed men of the tribe, Higgins, the old tribesman of Pima knew nothing of a real house with that same unusual shape. Higgins is familiar with a children’s game that included a similar figure traced in the sand. In the game, the figure is called Tcuhuki, a cultural hero periodically identified with Moctezuma. Fewkes infers that the initial translation was a misunderstanding between the native Pimas and the white man and that was displayed in the “assumed reality” of Tcuhuki. Fewkes ends his argument by showing diagrams of similar “houses” of Tcuhuki drawn by different tribes indicating a shared folklore based on the culture of the myth, not by the shared locality of a real House of Tcuhu.
This article is a short read and includes a few pictures, which are helpful. I had to read it a few times to put all his argument in place.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SALENA K. KOUNTZ: Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gerard, William R. Virginia’s Indian Contributions to English. American Anthropologist January-March, 1907. Vol.9(1):87-112
Presented in this article are numerous words, all of Algonquian lineage, that have been adopted into the English language. A majority of these adopted words are familiar to the people of this country, while some of the words have spanned the oceans and are known wherever English is spoken. William R. Gerard, far from posing an argument, takes a “grass roots” approach in demonstrating the origination of many words that we take advantage of everyday.
The author highlights a number of terms, different senses they have taken, notes on their history, combinations into which they have entered and their etymology. The author highlights a word at the beginning of a paragraph and includes the different spellings and, if available, an earlier spelling of the word. A majority of the words have been corrupted by English settlers in spelling as well as well as in the application of some of the words. The settlers may have changed the spelling or pronunciation of a word that may have been too difficult to pronounce. For example, the Indian word usketehamun was soon abbreviated by the settlers to hominy, a three-syllable word taken from a six-syllable word.
The author moves on to defining the word and stating where the word originated. All of the words are of Algonquian descent, but many words have been documented in an etymology as being from the Tapenhanek of Virginia or the Renape of Virginia. Within each paragraph, different applications of the word are noted. Although the same word was used between the Indians and the settlers, different meanings were applied to the word. For example, in the definition of a Macock, the English settlers in Virginia used the word to describe several varieties of pumpkins and squash. In contrast, the Renape of Virginia applied the word to a hollow receptacle. The Renape of Virginia would hollow out and then dry their pumpkins and squash then use them as rattles and vessels for holding liquids. The English obviously used the word in reference to an object, whereas the Indians used the word to describe an application used with the object.
Although this article was written in the form of a dictionary, overall it was interesting and easy to read. The continuous formation of new paragraphs, as you would see in a dictionary, made the article seem short, instead of one long continuous paragraph. Many of the words were new to me, but those words such as raccoon, which we take advantage of everyday, were interesting to see where the word originated from and the way in which the animal was viewed in Indian culture and English culture. William R. Gerard gives an ample amount of information in presenting his article to support his highlighting of a number of terms, different senses they have taken, notes on their history, combinations into which they have entered and their etymology.
SARAH M. LITTLE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gilder, Robert F. Archeology of the Ponca Creek District, Eastern Nebraska. American Anthropologist October-December 1907 Vol.9(4):702-719
The general issue that the author deals with is a study he conducted of the surface archeology of the northern portion of Douglas County, Nebraska. He obtained various artifacts, which were discovered beneath the roots of a large oak tree in the field he designated as the Ponca Creek district. The artifacts obtained varied from pottery to charcoal flakes to a fish made from a mother-of-pearl shell. The Ponca Creek district lies on both sides of a stream by that name, two and one-quarter miles north of Florence. The actual field was 200 yards wide and 500 long. The author dug three trenches. He designated the sites of the trenches as Work No.1, Work No.2, and Work No. 3. Work No. 1 was thirty feet in diameter, and seventeen feet in width. Work No. 2 was 500 yards away from Work No. 1. Work No. 3 was twenty-five feet in diameter. Gilder concluded that there were three dwelling sites observed. The author’s primary objective for this project was to carry on the exploration in these sites, based on the surface evidence.
The author concludes that the builders of these ancient homes were sedentary people, living in peace with whatever neighbors they had. This information is based on the isolation of a number of large house sites throughout the northern part of Douglas County. In fact, the author thought it to be probable that the houses were inhabited by a communal system. This system suggests that there may have been twenty to thirty people living in the larger dwellings. All of the sites found are in a direct line north and south. He also suggests another possibility that the isolated dwellings on the outside were placed in order to guard the larger dwellings in the inside.
The author presents his objectives in a sequential manner. This article must be read carefully because there is a lot of information not pertaining to the important parts of the author’s discovery of the isolated dwellings. This is a tough read because it focuses on the findings more than an understanding of why this particular area is being researched.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENINE CLEMENTS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Grinnell, George Bird. Tenure of Land Among the Indians. American Anthropologist January-March 1907. Vol.9(2):1-11.
The author believes the “civilized,” or white man, and the “savage,” or Indian, (he speaks specifically of Native Americans in the article) have different ways of looking at material things, specifically ownership of land.
The author says that while “our” Indians (meaning Native Americans) and the white man were similar in their regard of personal property (ownership of food, arms and clothing, for example), they differed in the way they performed land transactions. The author says when America was discovered, there was no individual land ownership. The tribes owned certain lands and the land passed from generation to generation within the tribes. He said that the white men were met with friendliness and the Indians let them camp and set up permanent buildings. The white men believed they had ownership of the land after these transactions, while the Indians did not have a system in which soil was “owned.”
The author makes the point that the Indians, while drawing up land treaties, were under the assumption they were lending the land to the white men occupying it. They looked forward to the time when they could repair the damage made by the new inhabitants and bring the land back to its original beauty and health. He says that the Blackfeet Indians of what is now Montana and Canada were upset when mining operations were set up on their land, as they believed only the surface would be damaged by building and plowing. The rights they gave the white settlers did not extend to the excavation of their land.
The author goes on to say that the white man took lands from the Indian, and in the process, pushed him out of his place in society. He said that the extinction of their race could be called the operation of natural selection; the weaker perish while the fit survive.
According to Grinnell, because the government allowed the Indians to rent out their allotted land, they grew lazy. He says the Indians were also unable to make wise judgments in regard to treaties and other business dealings. The only way to solve these problems, according to him, were to create transactions the Indian mind would be capable of comprehending, as the land dealings at the time of the article could never be grasped by the Indian mind.
This article is well-organized and easy to read. However, the author’s ideas are ethnocentric, and his conclusion is rushed and unsatisfactory.
KRISTA CHAMBERS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Holmes, W.H. On a Nephrite Statuette From San Andres Tuxtla, Vera Cruz, Mexico. American Anthropologist June, 1907 No. 4 Vol.9 (PL XXXV):691-701.
This article addresses questions raised regarding an antiquity thought to have been found in Tuxcla, Vera Cruz in Mexico. The author offers the opinions of eight experts who examined the actual statuette, pictures of the item, and drawings of the glyphics from the statuette. The responses of the researchers and/or experts are presented in the article.
The object in question is a 6 ½ inch tall and 4 inch wide statuette made of jade, a stone also known as serpentine. It has the head of a human with a beak and the lower part has feathers and bird feet. The main question examined in the article is the authenticity of the glyphics found on the sides, front, and back of the statuette as being authentic ancient Mayan glyphics. There have been middle and ending type of glyphic discovered, but there has not been a primary source of this type of Mayan glyphic. This statuette may be the missing piece; hence its importance. These experts had backgrounds in glyphic writing, American antiquities, native writings, and mineralogy among other disciplines.
The documentation compares the glyphic found on the statute to those of “The Books of Chilan Balam”, Dresden Codex, Leyden Stone, Chichen Itza inscriptions, a figure in “Primer of Hieroglyphics,” and Copan and Quiigua stele. One of the broader conclusions of the article is that the primary stage of Mayan writings may be found in the same area that the statuette was discovered, which will help anthropologists understand the Mayan glyphics development better; as well as an otherwise unknown culture area.
ALEJANDRA CANO Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)
Holmes, W. H. Aboriginal Shell Heaps of the Middle Atlantic Tidewater Region. American Anthropologist, January – March 1907. New Series, Vol. 9(1): S113 – 128.
Holmes’s goal in this article is to discuss the cultures living along the Atlantic coast during the aboriginal, pre-colonial, and colonial times based on the conditions and remains of the shell heaps that can still be found there today. His main area of focus is the Popes Creek community in Maryland. This is an area, on the Potomac River, which contains one of the lushest shell heaps discovered as of 1907. On the site is only a railway station, a kiln for calcining (required for turning the shells into fertilizer), and a cottage owned by, most likely, Mr. William D. Merrick who also owned the first kiln in that area. The remainder of the site consists of marshy landscape formed by the creek and river, with a layer of surface strata. Below that is 5 feet of bivalve and univalve shells which have accumulated over a number of years. This area is 50 feet wide at the mouth of the river, extending a mile inland, overlooked by a 50 foot high sloping plateau.
It is on this site that W. H. Holmes found a deposit of shells while excavating and researching. Once uncovered, he discovered some of the tools and other artificial items used by the people who once lived in the region. These include large bowls, used for both eating and preparing food, hand utensils also used to fulfill both these tasks, and certain tools used to find oysters and other shellfish.
Holmes divided his paper into four sections. The first is a brief introduction (S113-115) on shell heaps in general (what they are, how they were used, etc). He mentions that they can be seen along the coast from Maine to Florida, and were mainly used by Algonquian tribes but also some Iroquoian tribes that eventually moved in on the territory. The he begins (S115-118) to describe the landscape of the Popes Creek region where Native Americans once fished the Potomac. His largest section focuses on the shell heaps particular to that region (S118-124). He discusses how he can tell how the shellfish were prepared based on the discarded shells. He can tell where cottages once rested on the shell heap, because in those areas the soil is not as fertile, there are depressions, and the purest shells come from the areas between each depression. Now that the village has been taken down for excavation and for the extraction of good shells used in making fertilizer, 4-6 foot tall mounds of unusable shells stand where the tiny cottages once rested. The last section (S124-128) addresses the tools and remains found in the shell heaps, and there is even some coarse clothing.
Holmes generally seemed to focus more on the tools found in the heap and their ancient uses, rather than how they related to the purpose of the heap.
BRENDAN HOLAHAN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)
J. M. Albert Samuel Gatschet-1832-1907 American Anthropologist July-September, 1907 Vol.9(3):561-569
The author’s intention in this obituary is to expound on the fascinating life and accomplishments of Dr. Albert Samuel Gatschet. Dr. Gatschet was born in Switzerland in 1832, and died in Washington D.C. in 1907. He was a well-respected philologist and ethnologist. He attended university in Germany in 1852 and studied languages, history, art, and theology; his favorite studies were the Greek languages. In 1867, he published his first work, “Ortsetymologische Forschungen,” which was a philological study of Swiss place-names in their Celtic, Latin, German, French and Arabic origins.
Dr. Gatschet immigrated to the United States in 1868. He lived in New York, and spent many years as a teacher of languages while simultaneously he was a contributor on scientific subjects in both domestic and foreign journals.
Dr. Gatschet’s primary interest was in recording and researching the languages of Indian tribes. “In 1881, he finished a lengthy study of linguistic material recorded by Father Pareja from the Timucua tribes of Northern Florida 1612-1614. He recognized the fact that the Indians of the Florida missions of St. John region long since extinct constituted a distinct linguistic stock” (562). The same year, he visited the remnants of the Catawba in South Carolina, and demonstrated that they were part of the Siouan stock of the western plains and probably the parent branch.
The author reports that Dr. Gatschet spent several years traveling the southern United States and Mexico. During his travels he recorded the languages of the Biloxi and Tunica tribes of Louisiana; these were recorded for the first time. Dr. Gatschet also visited a number of tribes in Oklahoma and Texas, and as far south as Saltillo, Mexico. His ethnographic research enhanced the knowledge of the Indian tribes in those areas.
In 1877, Dr. Gatschet moved to Washington D.C., and assumed the responsibility of the arrangement and classification of the extensive collection of Indian linguistics material at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1890, his life’s research entitled “The Klamath Tribe and Language of Oregon” was published. Working with the Klamath on their reservation, Dr. Gatschet compiled the information for the two-volume research monograph. During his lifetime, Dr. Gatschet has worked on recording nearly one hundred Indian languages and dialects.
This article gives an excellent portrayal of the life of an amazing individual whose pioneering contributions to linguistics and Native Studies has greatly benefited future anthological studies.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
DEBORAH ROELS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Hartman, C.V. The Alligator as a Plastic Decorative Motive in Certain Costa Rican Pottery American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(3):307-314
This article was mainly focused on the alligator as a main symbol found in Costa Rican pottery. Hartman discusses pottery that he, along with a team of excavators, has found in the highlands of Costa Rica. He notices that the alligator is a focus in numerous jars, pots, and vases. The article mainly describes different styles of the pottery and Hartman goes into a great amount of detail on a number of pieces. He also compares these pieces to each other and contrasts factors such as color, shape, and size. Hartman mentions the difference in texture also among pieces from different areas. One of the more interesting parts of the article was a section that mentioned some of the ceremonial uses for these pots besides storage. In a region of Costa Rica the pottery was broken over burial sites and then more were buried with the dead. Hartman found many fragments of pots and pieced them together to reveal the alligator patterns. He also mentions the use of other animal symbols in the pots but says that about 80% are alligators.
This article was not difficult to read although the descriptions of the pottery pieces did become lengthy. The author was knowledgeable about his subject and reinforced his writing with detail.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
AMY KROON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Kennard, Karl S. The Racial Derivation of the Ossetes American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(2):276-286.
The author’s objectives are to figure out why the Ossetes vary physically from the other groups in the Caucasus, and to determine their origin. Groups in the Caucasian Mountains shared the characteristics of dark hair, dark skin and eyes, as well as broad heads, and there is very little variation in the tribes because of their isolation from other groups. The Ossetes, on the other hand, had long heads, were tall, and more than 30% had blond hair. The trait of long-headedness was the fundamental distinguishing feature. Some thought the Ossetes came from the Iranian plateau and settled in the mountains, but everyone from Arabia had dark hair, and there was no mixed breeding. Anthropological investigations discarded these differences and explained them as a matter of race. The Ossetes were probably descendants of the Alani, a Nordic tribe that lived north of the Caucasus. There was no evidence of any one but the Nordic people occupying northern Europe and extending south to the Alps.
The Alani were a group of “white complexion and yellowish hair” (283) who divided and dispersed when the Huns invaded in 176 A.D. They settled in the mountains around the Pass of Dariel. All Alani were blond, but over time some breeding with other groups occurred because the Ossetes occupied the only pass across the mountains. Breeding with other groups, most likely Jews, Mongols, Armenians, Russians, or Tartars, gradually introduced dark hair. Kennard says the Ossetes are “in transit, … from a higher to more degenerate type” (285), but they still hold enough racial features to verify their origin.
Historians conclude the Ossetes were remnants of the Alani, who were a division of the Finns. Lithuanians, Esths, Tchuds, and Russians descended from the Ossetes. This article has a few words that will need to be looked up, like “cephalic index”, but overall, it is easy to read and understand.
JUSTIN ZAMBO Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Laufer, Berthold. A Theory of the Origin of Chinese Writing. American Anthropologist. March, 1907 Vol.9(1): 487-497.
The author’s objective is to present his theory on the origin of Chinese writing. He states the original interpretation done by Chinese scholars could not be believed, because the writing had already been used for three millennia; “…so that practically they could have known nothing about its original origin”(p.487). He also points out the discrepancy between various Chinese interpretations as being evidence against their theories (p. 488). The author also disregards the work of European sinologues who had explained Chinese writing being pictographic in origin. The pictographic theory explains the origin of Chinese writing as being “developed from an original realistic picture portraying the object which the character is intended to represent” (p.489). He defends his argument with the evidence that realism did not appear in Chinese art until after the beginning of Christianity. The author feels this evidence is enough to rebuke the previously held belief that Chinese writing did in fact originate from realistic portrayals of life. Instead, he argues, Chinese writing originated as “conventional ornamental forms” (p. 491). He states that abstract symbols were used to form Chinese writing symbols such as dots representing rice, or raindrops. In contrast with pictographic representation, these symbols were not attempts to represent their objects realistically.
The author then supports his theory by presenting interpretations of the origins of the writings of two other Asian cultures, the Lolo and the Miaotse. He argues that their writing also originated out of symbolic and ornamental forms, “no doubt originally represented indigenous ornaments of those particular tribes” (p. 492). These are the factors he believes accounts for the differences between the three.
The language and sentence structure in the article are sometimes hard to understand. In order to comprehend the material and the message, it must be read slowly and possibly more than once.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALLISON BOISVENU Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Mooney, James. The Powhatan Confederacy, Past and Present. American Anthropologist January-March, 1907. Vol. 9(1):129-152.
Mooney’s main concern is that of Virginia Indian history. His focus is on one of the most influential Indians group within the Virginian state, the Powhatan Confederacy. He aims at giving a detailed account of the tribes’ population and territory both past and present. This article includes a map of the former Powhatan Confederacy territory, population figures for the Powhatan in the first century of colonization, and the names of current living individuals with familial ties to certain Powhatan bands.
Mooney begins his account of the Powhatan tribes prior to the Jamestown colonization of 1607. Here his focus is showing that the Powhatan bands had already known and hated the white man prior to the Jamestown colonists’ arrival. Mooney follows with a description of the Powhatan territory and its members’ relationship the Maryland tribes. Though hostilities existed between the two groups, Mooney decides to consider the Maryland tribes as part of the Powhatan Confederacy. Following this, Mooney gives an account of Powhatan population figures in 1607 and compares them with current Virginia numbers. He estimates the population of the Confederacy to be around 8,500 in 1607, compared to the half million believed to be living in Virginia 300 years later. The influence of the Powhatan tribes is shown by their numbers when compared to the tribes of the Iroquis (New York) and the Tuscarora (North Carolina).
After concluding his description of the pre-Jamestown Powhatan Confederacy, Mooney then turns his focus to the period following the 1607 colonization. He concludes that because of the westward expansion from the coastline by the white settlements, it is nearly impossible to accurately calculate the population figures for the Powhatan tribes at this time. By comparing the population figures for the main Virginia Indian tribes in 1669 and 1670, Mooney estimates the total Indian population of the state to be around 1,700 during the Jamestown colonization. This he sees as a drastically smaller population density then the current state of Virginia. Mooney then continues to discuss the reasons for the decline of numbers within certain Powhatan tribes. He notes certain extinctions of tribes and three Indian Wars.
The purpose for his discussion of population figures is to show the decline of the Powhatan Confederacy after the death of Powhatan. He believes the reason the Powhatan Confederacy was unable to survive the death of its leader was due to its being founded upon conquest and despotic personal authority. He discusses hostility amongst the tribes within the Confederacy after Powhatan’s death as well as the wars that subsequently occurred between the tribes themselves and with white settlements. Mooney gives as detailed account as possible from the historical record of wars and treaties that marked the end of the Indian period in Virginia. He continues by mentioning a few accounts throughout the 1800s of the Powhatan remnants. In 1902, the last living member who spoke the Powhatan language died. Included are a few of the only known words of the language.
The last portion of the article is focused on naming a few living individuals who have familial lineages to certain Powhatan tribes. Included are those of the Pamunkey, Mattapony, Chickahominy, Nansemond, and other bands. These names are of Englishmen but are those whose families have evidence of past intermarriages with the Powhatan peoples.
RYAN THROCKMORTON Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)
Morice, A.G. The Unity of Speech Among the Northern and Southern Dene. American Anthropologist October-December, 1907 Vol.9(4):720-737
Morice is concerned with the morphology, grammar, and specific alterations that may occur as a language splits into dialects. Morice focuses on the Dene languages of North America and asserts the morphological and grammatical unity of all their dialects. The same roots are spoken as far north as the region of the Eskimo, and as far south as the plains of Mexico. Some of the consonants are interchangeable throughout the entire family of Dene language, while some are invariable within a certain dialect.
In all Dene dialects, the sounds of the correlated sonants and surds b and p, d and t, g and k, as well as the exploded t’l and k’l are indistinguishable. In Morice’s extensive research of the northern dialects, he observed that t in one dialect will occasionally become n in another, and kh may also appear as krh. He states that in no case will a th be converted into a common t, or a kh into a common k, and that these are fundamental laws of the northern Dene phonology. He uses this to law to account for discrepancies between southern and northern dialects by asserting that certain transcribers of southern dialects have missed important sounds when compiling a vocabulary. Upon being criticized for being too dogmatic, he defends his notion that some compilers have misheard or incorrectly transcribed some words by showing the disagreement between translators of southern Dene. He notes that some transcribers leave out the essential clicks and the characteristic th in their writings of the Navaho language while others include these sounds. To support his statement further, he gives examples of Navaho words and northern Dene words that are remarkably similar, with only certain distinct transmutations of sounds.
Morice then moves on to the Hupa dialect, where he finds similar disparities between Dr. Goddard’s transcription of their dialect with that of the northern dialect. He states that the Hupa dialect differs more from the northern dialect than the Navaho or Apache, yet he fails to see how the Hupa dialect could have done away with those essential characteristics, the lingual explosions or clicks, the th and the kh, which are found everywhere. Morice shows that the material structure and the grammatical rules of the Hupa conform amazingly to those of the north. He again argues that there must be an error of hearing or transcribing here. He goes on to say that if he is wrong, and the essential sounds have completely disappeared from the speech of the Hupa, then this is a most remarkable and unprecedented linguistic phenomenon.
The author gets his point across with much evidence to his support. The article is complex to read at times because of certain words used that are specific to linguistic scholars.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JUSTIN LEBIECKI Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Prince, J. Dyneley Last Living Echoes of the Natick. American Anthropologist July-September 1907 Vol. 9(3): 493-496
The author’s objective is to describe how the old customs of the Natick Indians of Cap Cod, had virtually disappeared. Specifics are given that include the disappearance of all but a few words of the Natick language; even those are only remembered by the elderly. He tells how the Natick at Mashpee are almost all that remain. Details are given of the old style housing remembered by few. These houses were styled in two different fashions, one similar to a teepee; the second was dome shaped with a vent hole at the top to allow smoke ventilation. The author gives a few details of Natick basketry, the staple crop (corn) and what types of meals were prepared with this crop. He describes how they made canoes and pestles. The only mention of any type of religious beliefs they had, the belief in spirits. The Natick believed “spirits frequently appeared in the paths of the living”, they appeased the spirits by building small lodges along the paths traveled, in which bits of food, property, or whisky would be left by travelers (495). The author makes note that this belief still survives.
I believe the author accomplishes his objective in this article. However I believe more research and information about the Natick customs and way of life could have been given. There could have been more historical and background information as well as current information. Perhaps even mention of any on going research would have been helpful. This article is a good place to start, though, for anyone wanting to research the Natick.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SHANNA CRUMMEL Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Sapir, Edward. Notes on the Takelma Indians of Southwestern Oregon. American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(2):261-275.
Sapir provides a detailed outline of the Takelma people composed from notes taken from conversations with an elder Takelma woman. The work also serves as a clear example of what has since been termed salvage ethnography. This was perhaps explained best by Sapir, in direct reference to the Takelma people, when he stated, “an excellent example of the appalling rapidity with which many still very imperfectly known tribes of North America are disappearing and of the urgent need of ethnologic and linguistic study of these remnants before they are irrevocably lost” (257). This style of ethnography accounts for the intense focus on detail and the past-tense terminology used to describe a non-extinct culture as observed by Sapir himself.
Many topics are covered pertaining to the Takelma way of life in such detail that it is well advised to tackle the work bit by bit in order to digest it all. Surprisingly, the language of the Takelma people is only briefly discussed, while a great deal of attention is placed on the linguistic positioning of the people and the way names of locations are created within that positioning with little background provided about the language itself. However, Takelma words are provided next to their English counterparts throughout Sapir’s work. In fact this is carried out to such an extent that they become more of a distraction or barrier for those lacking the ability to even pronounce the words, much less understand them. A glossary or table would better serve readers who could then familiarize themselves with the terminology later on if so desired.
Furthermore, despite the article’s richness, the lack of a male informant limits the amount of information available to the reader on male roles and duties within the Takelma social structure and daily life. In direct response to that, his work does serve as an excellent account of Takelma women’s daily lives, duties, and rites. However no religious, mythological, or spiritual beliefs held by the Takelma are discussed at all gender aside.
Despite the amount of information in the article to be gathered, there is a tendency for readers to get lost in the detail and terminology, causing them to perhaps lose more than they gain.
SARA A. FELLOWS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Sapir, Edward. Preliminary Reports on the Language and Mythology of the Upper Chinook. American Anthropologist. July-September 1907 Vol.9(3):533-544.
The author’s overall concern in this article was to describe the basic usage of language and mythology of the Upper Chinook society. The author compares and contrasts the different linguistical usage of the Upper Chinook and lower Chinook. However, the article had a strong focus on the grammatical processes and usage of words and tenses in the Chinook society. The author also discusses the use of mythology in the Chinook lifestyle.
Both Upper and Lower Chinook share the same general morphological characteristics in their language, for example, the incorporation of subject, object, and indirect object in the verb of a sentence. A difference is found in the phonetic system of the Upper Chinook and Lower Chinook. This makes words sound differently when Chinook language is spoken. For example, the short “u” and “I” of the Upper Chinook are represented by the long “o” and “e” of the Lower Chinook. The Upper Chinook have phonetic changes to express diminutive and agrumentative consonants of a word. For example, the word “sk!alkal” means baby’s hip-joint but changed to the argumentative usage requires the change of “k!” to “g”; “cgalkal” meaning big hip-joint.
The author discusses many other verb-forms, tenses, and noun usage of the Upper Chinook. The study of these similarities and differences aid in the research that grammatical dialects change from one geographical region of a society to another.
The author does not speak about the mythology of the Upper Chinook in great detail. This is due to the lack of text and material to conclude a complete description and analysis of mythological influence in Upper Chinook society. However, the author discusses the usage of animals in myths. Myths are used to teach lessons and to fix weak points in the society. The coyote is discussed as the main character in these myths; through him lessons on hunting, gathering, survival, death, love, and deceit, are taught to generations upon generations. Other main characters that resemble more of a heroic aspect in the myths are the eagle and salmon. Overall, these myths play an important traditional role in the Chinook society.
The author accomplishes getting his point across in this article. However, the article is difficult to read during the discussion of linguistics section. The article needs to be read carefully and slowly during this section. The section mythology was brief but much easier to read and follow.
AMANDA DEKARSKE Michigan State University. (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Scott, Hugh Lenox. The Early History and the Names of the Arapaho. American Anthropologist July-September, 1907 Vol.9(3):545-560
This article serves to list the early history of the Algonquian-speaking natives, the Arapaho. To show the variance in language among Native American tribes, the author also includes several references to the Arapaho by incorporating the dialects of tribes that lived within close proximity to the Arapaho. Aside from Native tribes, many pioneering settlers also came into contact with the Arapaho tribe. Such settlers renamed the Arapaho by names of “Gros Ventres” by the French, Lewis and Clark knew the Arapaho as the “Paunch Indians” and “Sarict-tethka” was the Comanche name for the Arapaho tribe. All of the nicknames evolved by the physical stature of the Arapaho tribe, potted bellies and a curvature in the back gave the Arapaho a distinct stance. Although many groups encountered the tribe, the Arapaho nation maintained and utilized their original dialect, which was virtually untranslatable at the time of the author’s publishing of the article.
The author details the early history of the tribe in terms of where they lived, with who they were in contact, and the beginnings of European influence. The author borrows many sources to describe the land on which the Arapaho subsisted. Accounts taken from Native American ledgers and the words of pioneers authenticate the article. As for where the Arapaho lived, a detailed description of the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains serves as a map marker for many of the American Natives. The demeanor of the people during the influx of European settler and the communications held between the Arapaho people and outside observers are also outlined in this article.
This article is not easily understandable, yet is informative of the people and the early history of the Arapaho culture. The sources are not clear while reading the text and the author seems to lose focus several times.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ALLISON GOFF Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Speck, Frank G. Some Comparative Traits of the Maskogian Languages American Anthropologist July-September, 1907 Vol.9(3): 470-483
This article was an explanation of the range in traits of the Maskogian languages. The Maskogian languages are spoken specifically by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians. The author’s objective in this article is to present the differences and divisions of Maskogian languages through the divisions of Native American Indians who speak the languages. He groups these divisions as the Choctaw-Chickasaw, Alibamu-Koassati, Hitchiti-Apalachi-Mikasuki, and Creek Seminole. The author sets out to explain and prove that the Indian divisions have distinct dialect traits, though all comparative. These divisions are distinctly described and demonstrated through research the author used done by Gatschet. This research was accumulated by in the region of the Creeks and from the book Choctaw Grammar by Byington. Through this research the author is able to analyze and present in detail the specific grammar traits that are common and distinct among the Maskogian languages between the Indian divisions.
The author presents this information by stating examples of how the Maskogian languages have phonetic unity. He explains that they collectively have the glottal catch. With pronunciation they have similar stops and common sounds. But they also have slight distinctions. For example, Chickasaw and Chocktaw are weak in sonant series, having only b among the stops. In Creek and Seminole the stops are q and c. Some of the other traits that the languages have in common are that the syllables are well balanced with consonant and vowel, and the words and stems themselves show a strong tendency to end in a vowel. He then goes on to explain how Maskogian languages have prefixation, infixation, suffixation, and a form of reduplication. Under suffixes there are active subject pronouns and in Creek and Hitchiti they are quite modal and temporal. When it comes to mood the author tells how through his research of the languages he learned that the Creek express modification in mood and tense. The Choctaw and Chickasaw indicate voice. The author offers a lot of information on the language and the comparative traits, along with the distinctions, which make them unique though comparative.
The author accomplishes his objectives in this very detailed, long article. However, to understand it you must pay close attention to everything being said because its content is complex. The article discusses a lot about the phonetics and linguistics of the languages and states the differences and comparative traits very well. Just read closely and pay attention and it is understandable.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KRISTEN WOLOSZYN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Speck, Frank G. Some Outlines of Aboriginal Culture in the Southeastern States. American Anthropologist. June, 1907 Vol.7:287-295
The author’s objective is to examine tribes living in the Southeastern states through enthnological methods. He explains that in the current time, 1907, very little is known about the southeastern states. The boundaries under the southeastern states would include “the Atlantic ocean and the Mississippi river, from the Gulf of Mexico northward to the affluents of the Ohio river and somewhere in the state of Virginia” (289). Most clans within this area live in localized communities.
The aboriginal culture that the author speaks of includes such tribes as the Yuchi and the Creek. Most of the tribes within the area are friendly with each other. Contact with outside tribes is frequently taking place. Within the tribes, social rank is shown by the design of the face paints that they wear. This tradition has been around for a while along with the annual ceremonies. Many tribes hold ceremonies during the corn crop harvesting. These ceremonies include activities such as dancing, starting a new fire, fasting, and ceremonial games. Some of these traditions came from the Pueblo groups that lived further west. For instance, “the rites of fasting” (291) came from Arapaho and the Wichita from the west. Death and burial tell a different story. They believed that after death, the soul splits up and they travel for four days. During this time the relatives are performing rituals at the grave and they leave aid to the deceased soul. “Nowadays burials are made in the open and small houses are erected there instead” (293) of the traditional burial in the lodge floor. Overall, many of the tribes have not survived the effects on their cultures from Europeans.
The author accomplished his objectives in this thorough report that must be read twice in order to understand completely. Read slowly and carefully.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ADAM COHEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Swanton, John R. Ethnological Position of the Natchez Indians American Anthropologist January 1907 Vol.10(1):513-528.
In this article the author’s purpose was to try and figure out the derivation of the dialect of the Natchez Indians. He compares and contrasts their language with many other Indian dialects. He talks about many other people who have studied the languages of other Indians and compares what he has found to what they have found.
Both f and q occur more sparingly in Natchez than in the Muskhogean dialects, and are never initial sounds as is so commonly the case with them. The “richness” of Muskhogean dialects in modes, tenses and pronominal forms is hardly duplicated by Natchez material in the shape in which we now have it. In both Natchez and Muskhogean there is no grammatical gender or case, while number in nouns is represented only by a collective applied principally to human beings. In both dialects, verbal nouns are common, possession however appears to be indicated very differently, since pronouns are prefixed in Muskhogean and suffixed in Natchez. Practically nothing in Natchez is represented in Muskhogean; but besides the two languages agreeing on processes, they agree on what they mutually lack also. He goes on to analyze the language of the Natchez to be considered onto their component elements of stems and affixes. He had not completed the study of the Muskhogean dialect yet.
The author discusses the different findings of other individuals concerning the origin of the Natchez dialect. William Bartram as well as many other writers agreed with the author, that the Natchez dialect originated from the Muskogi language, but many had other beliefs. Gallatin believes that the Natchez dialect is distinct. In 1867, Brinton attempted to establish a relationship between the Natchez and the Maya, but later he changed his belief completely, saying that it originated from a Creek dialect.
The author does a good job explaining the similarities and differences between the two dialects. It was a very complicated read, and took a lot of discipline to stay focused.
NAHALA BUYCKS: Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Thomas, Cyrus Cahokia or Monk’s Mound American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(2)362-365
This article was designed to explain how Cahokia’s mound, found near the base of St. Louis, was created by Native peoples without the aid of beasts of burden, iron tools, or vehicles. Thomas uses many measurements to describe the mound, eventually deciding upon these dimensions: 721 feet east to west (base), by 998 feet north to south, with a height of 99 feet. He decides the mound must have been built over a period of time, with several successive additions, over multiple intervals, over many years.
Artifacts found at the site were similar to those from the southern part of the Mississippi, indicating that the mounds cannot be attributed to Cahokia, but rather, must have been built by a more southern tribe during the time that the first whites entered the area. He therefore deduced that the mounds do not belong to a tribe of great antiquity, but were in fact from a later time period all together.
This short article is easy to read, though the point is not clear until the very end.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JULIE SCHWARTZ Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Tozzer, Alfred Ernst Forstemann American Anthropologist January-March, 1907 Vol.9(1):153-159
According to Alfred Tozzer the hieroglyphics of Central America would be unknown if it were not for Dr. Ernst Forstemann. He lived during a time when Central America’s languages might have been forgotten. Forstemann was one of, if not the only, researcher in the field of hieroglyphic writings of Central America.
The article’s basic argument is simple; without Ernst Fostemann’s knowledge much of Central American writings and linguistics would have been lost. He presented the first manuscript of Dresden Codex this was a great intellectual achievement. He then produced a colored manuscript of the Maya document.
Dr. Forstemann devoted many years of his life to decoding and preserving these writings. He also published commentaries of both Maya codices, Tro- Cortesians and the Peresianus. The productions of these manuscripts are the greatest single contribution to Central American hieroglyphics writings, according to Tozzer. Forstemann investigated carved stone inscriptions that, along with the three codices, together furnished together the greater part of his works. The scholar acquired a great deal of knowledge within his life span.
Ernst Forstemann worked endless hour of his life to interpret the ieroglyphic writings of Central America. He seems to be one of the few or even the only scholar to try and save these ancient writings. The entire article was clear enough to grasp the general concept.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
TANEE ELSTON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Willoughby, Charles C. The Virginia Indians in the Seventeenth Century. American Anthropologist January, 1907 Vol 9(1): 57-86.
In the seventeenth century, tribes known as the Virginia Indians inhabited the tidewater area of Virginia and the northeastern part of North Carolina. They were part of a larger family of Indians known as the Algonquian. In this article, Charles Willoughby paints a picture of the life of the Virginia Indians as reported by Thomas Hariot, William Strachey, and Captain John Smith, three men whose contact with these Native Americans in the seventeenth century was firsthand.
The author describes in detail every aspect of the life of the Virginia Indians. We get a picture of thriving communities with from two or three to fifty houses. The houses were quite large. Each family had its own plot of land to cultivate. Each community had a fort of sufficient size to house all the residents of the community in the event of attack. Each community had a temple in which there was an image of their god and the remains of deceased chiefs.
Other aspects of Virginia Indian culture detailed in the article have to do with personal grooming and decoration. Hair was cut and styled according to one’s station in life, although different lengths and styles seem to have been acceptable. Tattooing was practiced, mostly by women. Body painting was also practiced, in part as ritual but it also served as a mosquito and vermin repellent. The clothing worn by the Virginia Indians is described in some detail as well as different types of ornamentation, such as earrings, hair fashions and headdresses.
The article describes household utensils, implements and weapons used by the Virginia Indians. It also goes into their hunting and fishing practices. This article portrays the Virginia Indians of the seventeenth century as a self-sufficient people, able to adequately provide all of their sustenance.
This article does not address a problem or theoretical issue; rather it reports the findings of men who had contact with these people. The purpose of the article is to describe and that aim has been achieved very effectively. It is very easy and very interesting reading.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SHERRY BRUMGARD Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Willoughby, Charles C. The Adze and the Ungrooved Axe Of The New England Indians American Anthropologist. April-June, 1907. Vol.9(2):296-306
Willoughby focuses extensively on the development of stone tools found in the New England area and the distinction between artifacts known as the ungrooved axe and the adze blade. Commonly, both instruments at the prehistoric level are made of stone and affixed to a haft of wood. Basic contrasts between the two include different cutting- edges in relation to the haft: the parallel cutting edge of an ungrooved axe and the perpendicular edge of an adze. This indicates a difference in connecting the blades to the haft, which creates an asymmetrical shape for adzes and a symmetrical shape for ungrooved axes.
Beginning first with ungrooved axes, there are definite congruities between New England axes and those found elsewhere. Like European samples, stone axe blades are placed directly into the handle, which Willoughby identifies as a basic North American practice. Most axes of this sort are composed of slate blades and polished completely. Among collections of ungrooved axes, the author focuses briefly on five as examples of prehistoric stone-working. Originating from the Algonquian and Iroquoian regions, they are evidence of hafting a heavy implement for added force. Additionally, a lighter implement could serve as a weapon like the tomahawk. Unlike the adze discussed later, most of these artifacts are found on the surface and not in graves.
Level of development and usage of the stone-bladed adze in New England is evident by the large variety of styles. Specimens without a knob or grooves to hold the blade to haft have an angled wedge at the top that drives the blade farther into the haft by the force of impact. Although, in some cases, the author suggests a hand usage of the blade, most blades were undoubtedly used lashed to a haft. Mentioned briefly is evidence of alternate uses of the adze, such as removing it from the haft to grind out wooden mortar bowls. Small, consistently worn spots on the tools support this supposition. Willoughby expands his study briefly to include the adze’s influence on the Eskimos and the introduction of later iron and steel tools by white traders. Although less common in the historic period, prehistoric shell-heaps of Algonquian origin and graves hold numerous types of adzes in the same site, indicating a wide array of tools used by a single person.
After studying this data, Willoughby suggests the improbability of the prehistoric peoples using the ungrooved axe, although the late prehistoric to historic tribes used the tool frequently. In contrast, the adze blade is found abundantly in prehistoric sites, yet is rarely found later. This evolution of stone tools was interrupted by the introduction of iron and steel.
Although the author explains his points eventually, it is difficult to draw organized conclusions from the scattered content. Illustrations help in the explanation of tools, however.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
STEPHANIE SMITH Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Winchell, N.H. Precolumbian Elephant Medals Found In Minnesota. American Anthropologist. April-June 1907 Vol.9(2):358-361.
The author’s objective is to dispute the origin of the particular elephant medals that were found near Hastings, Minnesota and then published in one of J. V. Brower’s archeological volumes. The author acknowledges the likelihood of a “coexistence” of man and elephant in the Americas previous to Columbus’ arrival, but claims these medals cannot be used as evidence to support this coexistence. It is interesting to note that the author’s first argument put forth to discredit the origin of the elephant medals was that they were “beyond the skill of the Minnesota aborigines”. Afterwards the author gave description to the dead giveaways, such as the presence of Roman characters and correct Latin words printed on the elephant medals.
The author also provides some explanation for the precise origin of the medals and speculated on how they happened upon the “Indians”. The Latin words on the medal, “D. Isottoe Ariminensi” were said to honor the Lady Isotta of Rimini, and the Roman numerals on the back represent the year it was made, 1446. Also, the occurrence of an elephant on the medal coincides with the elephant on Lady Isotta’s tomb, which would then explain why an elephant would appear on a Roman medal. It was hypothesized that the medals found their way into Minnesota in 1680 when La Salle and his companions were “captured and robbed” by Sioux Indians near Lake Peppin, and then “conducted” to Mille Lacs in present day Minnesota. It was thought of as possible that La Salle and his men could have had a few Isotta medals with them at the time of the supposed attack; however, there is no specific evidence to support this claim.
The author thoroughly provides evidence for his position in a clearly stated manner which makes for an enjoyable read despite seemingly racist remarks.
KEVIN BULGER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Wright, Frederick G. Recent Geologic Changes As Affecting Theories of Man’s Development American Anthropologist July-September, 1907 Vol.9(3):529-532.
The author has two main objectives: one is to use geography to date the existence of man; the second is to illustrate the correlation between geological events and the origin of the human races. Glacial deposits have been a source for finding skeletons and other evidence of man; this evidence suggest that mankind existed in the Glacial period which dates around 6,000 to 8,000 years before the Christian era. The author describes the different locations where evidence of mankind in glacial deposits was found.
The author suggests that the Glacial period strengthened the existing races by geographically separating mankind, suspecting them to different environmental conditions. The arise of enormous ice sheets and the disappearance of others over a short time are exactly the “changes in the physical conditions that would most directly and rapidly affect the development of races of mankind in both their physical and mental characteristics.” (531). The changes in physical conditions are what Wright believes to have helped find the “discoveries which form so important a part of the life of mankind even in these later days.” (531). Most of the evidence points to these discoveries taking place before the glacial period, although the author presents that there is evidence against this idea as well, for example, the ruder type of implements found that belong to the late Wisconsin stage of the glacier era.
Wright touches on many important ideas and gives one a base for understanding the correlation between changes in the physical environment and the existence and evolution of man. The author also states that we are still “very much in the dark concerning the influences that most affected the rate of the progress and development of primitive man.” (532). Some kind of a background or knowledge of geological terms and periods would be useful before reading this short article.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
HEATHER MCISAAC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)