American Anthropologist 1930

Allyn, M. Harriett. Excavations Near Athlit, Palestine, 1929 (Preliminary Report). American Anthropologist September, 1930 Vol.32(3):643-650.

Allyn describes the artifacts and stratigraphy found at the Cave of the Valley in Palestine. The cave was occupied from the middle of the Paleolithic to present, and is composed of limestone and breccia. The top layer of stratigraphy was highly mixed; potsherds, animal bone, stone, and little metal was found here. In the Mesolithic level crescents and sickle blades were the common implements found. There were bone points, bone polishing tools, harpoon fragments, and deer antler as well. Ornaments made of bone fragments, teeth, and stone were found. There was a large human burial, composed of ten bodies, along with a carved human skull out of stone beneath the burial.

In the Middle Aurignacian level four different types of scrapers were found. In the lowest level, the early Middle Aurignacian level, many blade points along with bone points and scrapers were found.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALICIA HOLMBECK Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Birket-Smith, Kaj. The Question of the Origin of Eskimo Culture: A Rejoinder. American Anthropologist October-December, 1930 Vol.32(4):608-624.

Birket-Smith writes in response to a paper in this volume by Therkel Mathiassen. Mathiassen criticized the hypothesis of Birket-Smith that the Caribou Eskimo is an older culture than the Thule.

Birket-Smith starts by stating he cannot accept the opinions of his old traveling companion and colleague. He goes into a brief geographical history of the Eskimo and then makes clear the reason he tried to show the culture of the Caribou Eskimo has been developed from an earlier stage that the Thule culture is because if this can be proven it goes without saying there must be a culture layer beneath the Thule culture.

Birket-Smith discusses each of the elements refuted by Mathiassen. These included: the lamp, platform covering, water pail, bow, bird dart, stiletto or dagger, fish hook, bird snares, dog harness, some features in the cut of the frock, tattooing, the comb, thimble holder, swivel, dice, skin tanning with urine or water, and burial. He takes each of these elements and discusses in further detail how they support his hypothesis.

He also makes clear that he does not view all elements of Caribou culture as being older than that of the Thule. He states: as to the occurrence of younger elements within the culture of the Caribou Eskimo we are, more fully agreed than might be supposed on the basis of Mathiassen’s words, even if certain details may be open to doubt. His conclusions of the arguments are as follows: (1) I must insist that some of the elements in the culture of the Caribou Eskimo have an older stamp than the corresponding ones in the Thule culture; (2) other elements are more developed than those of the Thule culture; (3) there are also a greater number of elements with a narrow central distribution than there are in the Thule culture, but it is true or many of them at least that they are only younger than the Thule culture at the coast, whereas nothing is known of their age in the interior.

He ends his article stating that he would like an occasion for Mathiassen and himself to meet in collaborations and discussion.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
MELISSA ANN-TERESE BOCKER Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Densmore, Frances. Peculiarities in the Singing of the American Indians. American Anthropologist April, 1930 Vol.32(2):651-660.

Densmore uses his field observations as a starting point to describe racial, regional, and personal peculiarities in Native American singing. Each of the above factors are modified by the others to give each Native American singer a distinct sound. Densmore claims that his work does not include all the categories of singing peculiarity. However, his study represents the results of more than twenty-two years of work throughout a wide variety of tribes.

Densmore details items of racial contrast between Native Americans and white men in regard to how they sing. He calls these differences racial peculiarities. The Native American separates tones without the use of words, which is not a commonality in music of the white men. The author portrays the importance of words in song to Native Americans, but also explains that words are not always necessary. A second racial peculiarity is the Native American method of unevenly spacing accents in a song. Still another is the ability to do without rests. A further point of interest is the Native American method of pulsing of the voice during prolonged tones.

Regional peculiarities are determined by available materials for building instruments. The environment further influences singing through the type of structure in which the songs are frequently sung. Densmore goes on to describe many different tribal meeting houses and the elements of their construction.

Densmore conveys the wide range of sounds that exist among Native American singers. He points out class peculiarities dealing with the purposes of songs, as well as personal differences in vocalists. Densmore illustrates the impossibility of displaying all the vocal variations in notation. He concludes by pointing out that by studying Native American music, one studies a complex form of individualistic expression.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
JASON HULS Illinois State University (Robert Dirks).

Forde, C. Daryll. Early Cultures of Atlantic Europe. American Anthropologist 1930 Vol.32:19-100.

Forde gives a broad synopsis of Atlantic Europe, concentrating on the Neolithic, microlithic, and megalithic eras. Forde discusses how cultural practices migrated from area to area, what these practices were, and how they differed. He writes significantly of tomb architecture in different regions throughout Atlantic Europe. In addition, Forde discusses pottery styles and artistic work, stone tools, and bronze tools. Extensive comparisons are made between pastoralists and agriculturalists of the area.

Forde describes migrations of peoples and the changes they went through when introduced to different environments. He discusses the adaptations people made after encountering the abundance of shells on the warm Atlantic shores. Attention is drawn to housing architectural style in the different regions of Atlantic Europe. Forde describes the various lifestyles these different environments produced.

CLARITY RATING: 3
MICHAEL WAHLS Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Hawley, Florence M. Chemical Examinations of Prehistoric Smudge Wares. American Anthropologist January-March, 1930 Vol.32(1):500-502.

Hawley discusses the composition and application of a black color found on the inside of Southwestern pottery. Hawley cites several types of pottery found at different locations to exemplify her topic. She speculates on the composition of the black “smudge.” Hawley describes how Native Americans may have produced the atmosphere needed to apply the smudge.

Though this topic has been previously explored, Hawley believes more detailed chemical testing of smudge wares should be considered. She suggests that smudging may be responsible for a majority of black interior types. Hawley concludes with a detailed account of F. G. Hawley’s tests and results regarding pottery smudge.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
JASON HULS Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Hawley, Florence M. Prehistoric Pottery and Culture Relations in the Middle Gila. American Anthropologist April, 1930 Vol.32(2):522-536.

Florence Hawley discusses the extent to which prehistoric Mexican and Pueblo cultures have influenced each other. She claims that the Middle Gila drainage area of Arizona provides significant evidence pertaining to this issue, arguing that it is important not only because of its geographic location, but also because of the large prehistoric population and the pottery they produced.

Hawley gives a detailed description of the types of early pottery, including such attributes as texture, shape, thickness, decoration schemes, temper, and glazing and firing techniques. She provides a cross-examination of these types of pottery and where they are located. Hawley determines the cultural relationship of the Middle Gila sites mainly through pottery comparison, but also supports the existence of these relationships with other types of evidence of trade and diffusion.

Hawley finds three large culture areas according to related pottery types: 1) the black-on-white ware San Juan area which makes use of carbon paint, 2) the Little Colorado area, which is characterized by black-on-red ware with carbon and iron paint, and 3) the red-on-buff area of the southern Middle Gila. She explains that each of these larger areas will be further divided into subdistricts after more extensive pottery research is conducted.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
NICOLE ROTH Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Herskovits, Melville. The Negro in the New World: The Statement of a New Problem. American Anthropologist March, 1930 Vol.32(1):145-155.

Cultural phenomena and physical forms are tenacious due to historic time and human travel. Herskovits believes the study of African Americans will contribute toward understanding the degree to which human traits are biologically innate or cultural.

The tropical climate of West Africa is not different from the localities where African Americans are found in the western hemisphere. Herskovits believes differences manifested between unmixed Africans in the two regions must be recorded and applied to the study in question. Herskovits suggests observing if the pure Africans in tropical America and Africa are of the same physical form and operate under the same physiological processes. Africans were not only transported to tropical American. Africans were transported to the sub-tropic Caribbean and temperate zones in both the United States and Brazil. Herskovits suggests noting if Africans held on to essential characteristics or made fundamental physical adaptations to the colder climates they were exposed to. However, he stresses the degree of admixture between African Americans and Europeans must be recorded for the data to be interpreted correctly.

Herskovits stresses that the extent African American cultures diverged from their original African cultures must be recorded and analyzed. What cultural traits are retained and what are discarded will point the way to a greater understanding of culture as a whole. If anthropologists find that what is retained by the Africans in all of these varying cultural situations is constant throughout the groups, anthropologists will have a lead as to what to look for when attempting to unravel situations arising out of other groups’ unknown historical past. Herskovits believes data of this kind regarding Africans and African Americans may point to an understanding of the nature of the interrelation of physical form and culture.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALEXANDRA ROBINSON Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Laufer, Berthold. The Early History of Felt. American Anthropologist January-March, 1930 Vol.32(1):1-18.

The art of making felt is assuredly older than the art of spinning and weaving. Felt was practiced in times of great antiquity in both Asia and Europe. Felt was however restricted to these two continents. It was not present at early times in Africa, ancient Egypt, or aboriginal America. There are ancient references to felt in Chinese, Greek, and Latin literature.

The primitive process by which felt is made is practically identical all over the world. In civilized nations, felt is considered to be a utilitarian product, which is useful and practical. In nomadic societies, felt is an item that is associated with religious and ceremonial practices. These facts, and many others, pertaining to the history of felt can be accurately reconstructed by using historical, ethnological, and archaeological methods.

Laufer writes at great length about the specific histories of felt in each of these separate areas: China, Iran, India, Tibet, and among the Greeks and Romans.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
CARLY J. SCHROCK Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Lowie, Robert H. The Kinship Terminology of The Bannock Indians. American Anthropologist Jan-March, 1930 Vol.32(1):294-299.

Lowie attempts to construct a pattern of kinship grouping among the Bannock Native Americans. He surfaces questions of Bannock origin and points out their relationship to the Shoshoni. Lowie briefly describes the efforts of those who worked on this topic before him, including Kroeber, Powell, Mooney, Waterman, and Sapir. Lowie discusses how he gathered data from two Bannock locations in Idaho and how his data supports the conclusions of Kroeber’s study.

Lowie expresses the multilingualism of the Bannock and posits a hypothesis regarding the age of the Bannock tongue in relation to Shoshoni. Lowie uses kinship terms to place the Bannock within the Shoshonean family.

Lowie continues by providing a list of Bannock kinship terms and comparing the terms to those of other tribes historically positioned alongside the Bannock. He discusses similarities and differences in the linguistic groups, and concludes his study by illustrating how researchers must use these linguistic groups when attempting to devise patterns of kinship organization.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
JASON HULS Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Maddox, John L. The Spirit Theory in Early Medicine. American Anthropologist June, 1930 Vol.32(3):503-521.

Maddox argues that primitive medicine use similar techniques that are practiced in modern medicine. Primitive notions of early medicine dealt with ghosts, demons, and spirit. Maddox observed the Visayan Natives and found them to believe that sickness falls upon people because of evil spirits. The spiritual man who tended to the sick and demented of the Visayan is addressed as the Medicine Man. The Medicine Man is not only a doctor, but also a diviner, rainmaker, soothsayer, prophet, priest, and sometimes chief or king as well. The Medicine Man has mystical and spiritual powers to heal the sick.

In some indigenous societies, the sick are fumigated, made to swallow nauseous substances, and drenched with foul concoctions to drive out unseen intruders. Methods such as fumigation and cupping (primitive sucking method) are early versions of therapeutical medicine. Many ancient practices are used in modern day medicine. These ancient practices applied in modern medicine may lack spiritual aspect, but they enforce a therapeutical aspect.

Maddox’s last observation of the Visayan Natives leads him to argue the difference between modern day medicine and early spiritual medicine. He states that believing is an essential part in healing for early medicine because belief in spiritual healing is beyond the realm of visualizing; one actually must be there.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
KIMBERLY JONES Illinois State University (Robert Dirks).

Mathiassen, Therkel. The Question of the Origin of Eskimo Culture. American Anthropologist October-December, 1930 Vol.32(4):591-607.

Mathiassen discusses two points. First, can a comparison between the culture of the Caribou Eskimo and the Thule culture reveal which has the older foundation? He then poses this into an archaeological question as to whether or not there is archaeological evidence of a culture older than the Thule.

Mathiassen relies on studies done by Birket-Smith. He criticizes Birket-Smith’s studies and finds an argument against his theory that the Caribou Eskimo is the older stage while the Thule culture is younger. Opposing viewpoints are made by the two anthropologist’s on the following elements of the Eskimo: the lamp, platform covering, water pail, bow, bird dart, stiletto or dagger, fish hook, bird snares, dog harness, some features in the cut of the frock, tattooing, the comb, thimble holder, swivel, dice, skin tanning with urine or water, and burial.

Mathiassen goes into detail on several of these elements, refuting Birket-Smith’s hypotheses with each element. He concludes this discussion of elements by saying if the culture on the Barren Grounds (the Caribou) represents such an old layer of culture, one could have expected to find many older forms of the different types preserved there.

He concludes the article with the following two points. If this explanation of the Caribous Eskimo is correct, (that they are not the older culture), the Thule culture is the oldest in the central regions. The first Eskimo to migrate over the arctic coasts of Canada and Greenland were thus the carriers of the Thule culture, and as we have the home of that culture in the west, it is to the west that we must turn to find the original home of the Eskimo. Mathiassen believes we must look to the old World for the deepest roots of the Eskimo culture.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
MELISSA ANN-TERESE BOCKER Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Merriam, C. Hart. The Em’-Tim’-Bitch, A Shoshonean Tribe. American Anthropologist September, 1930 Vol.32(3):496-499.

Merriam clears confusion regarding the proper names and dialects of two tribes located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The confusion occurred when A.L. Kroeber conducted fieldwork in the area, and was mislead by an elderly tribe member. Twenty-three years later Merriam was in the area conducting similar work, attempting to record languages of the area, when he came across the same man. Merriam exposed the man as being misleading.

Merriam discusses his interaction with the elderly man at great length. He makes it clear that the man was helpful in correcting Kroeber’s misunderstanding. The man also aided Merriam with local historical information. This provided him with the opportunity to also briefly discuss characteristics of the area, including geography and subsistence strategies of the people. Merriam also provides a detailed description of burial ceremony.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
Rob O’Brien Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Merrill, E. D. Tobacco in New Guinea. American Anthropologist January-March, 1930 Vol.32(1):101-105.

Merrill questions Finsch’s statement regarding the independent knowledge of tobacco by New Guinean natives prior to its introduction by Europeans from Malaysia. Merrill acknowledges that the Papuan aborigines used tobacco after 1520 when introduced into Amboina by the Portuguese, but he finds nothing to support indigenous tobacco or its use prior to that time.

According to Merrill, the problem with Finsch’s thesis is the lack botanical evidence. The author points out that when cultivated plants get introduced they disseminate rapidly throughout primitive cultures. There is no evidence of this from New Guinea where only American tobacco strains exist.

Merrill cautions ethnobotanist to substantiate claims with botanical specimens when talking about the origin and dissemination of cultivated plants.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
RANDY INGRAM Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Renaud, E. B. Paleolithic Man in Ireland. American Anthropologist October-December, 1930 Vol.32(4):633-642.

Renaud writes of the evidence supporting the existence of Paleolithic man in Ireland. The main support for his argument comes from limestone flakes found at three different archaeological sites in Ireland. One conclusion that has been made regarding the flakes is that they are debitage from prehistoric stone toolmakers, who were making simple Levallois chopping and scraping tools.

These conclusions were respected by some and discounted by many. English anthropologists believed that the limestone fragments were simply made by natural causes. They studied the geology of the regions involved and concluded that the limestone fragments were not artifacts but geofacts. The author states that man existed in England during interglacial periods and during those times England was connected to Ireland. Renaud also points out that there are many discoveries of caves containing Pleistocene faunal remains in Ireland. Despite many English scholars refusing to accept the conclusions made by Renaud and his colleagues, further study was done which placed the limestone fragments in the Mousterian industry.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
MATT EKLUND Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Stern, Bernard J. Selections from the Letters of Lorimer Fison and A.W. Howitt to Lewis Henry Morgan. American Anthropologist 1930 Vol.32(1):257-279, 419-453.

The letters span seven years and begin with Fisson first offering assistance to Morgan on his research, and, later on, Howitt doing the same. Since Morgan rarely made copies of his correspondence only Howitt’s and Fisson’s letters are reprinted. The early letters are primarily about Australian Aborigines. These letters go into great detail about the courtship and marriage practices of the Aborigines. Though Australia kinship practices are the main topic, the letters also discuss Polynesia.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
MEGHANN O’BRIEN SMITH Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Strong, William Duncan. A Stone Culture from Northern Labrador and its Relation to the Eskimo-Like Cultures of the Northeast. American Anthropologist January, 1930 Vol.32(1):126-144.

Three sites in Labrador, two coastal and one inland, were excavated over two seasons of work in order to determine whether the stone culture found at the sites was representative of Eskimo (Inuit) sites of pre-Caucasian contact, post-Caucasian contact, or associated with other Native American tribes in the region. It is theorized that the Inuit were originally an inward dwelling group. By using this theory, Strong then compares the Labrador sites with some found in Newfoundland to try to understand which culture the sites may have derived from. A kitchen midden in New Brunswick is next analyzed to understand the origin of materials not found in early the Newfoundland sites. Other sources of analytical data include Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Characteristics examined when searching for the Inuit culture in these artifacts included use of steatite, ground stone knives, bone or ivory harpoon points, and presence of Iron pyrites. In addition to finding all of these artifacts at the sites in Labrador, chipped points for hunting and gouges for woodworking were also discovered. Strong suggests that these artifacts most likely originate from Native Americans in northern Labrador rather than a pre-Caucasian Inuit influence. He stresses this does not eliminate the possibility of Inuit influence at the Labrador sites, only points to greater influence by other Native American cultures.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANN ZILIC Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Swanton, John R. Some Neglected Data Bearing on Cheyenne, Chippewa, and Dakota History. American Anthropologist July-September 1930 Vol.32:156-160.

Swanton addresses the destruction of Cheyenne Town on the Cheyenne River in North Dakota. The Cheyenne Native American people were occasionally accompanied by the Crees and Ojibwa and had disputes with the Sioux and Mandan. However, it was the Chippewa Native Americans that destroyed Cheyenne Town.

The Chippewa killed everyone in Cheyenne Town excluding the three women they took as prisoners. Eventually two of the three women were also killed. The last remaining woman committed suicide, which was seen as a sign of great bravery. The Cheyenne and Chippewa were never allies but did some occasional trading of food before the destruction of Cheyenne Town. After the destruction of Cheyenne Town the Chippewa and Dakota migrated westward.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
SHANNON REYNOLDS Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Swanton, John R. The Kaskinampo Indians and their Neighbors. American Anthropologist July-September, 1930 Vol.32(3):405-418.

Swanton believes the Kaskinampo Native Americans were absorbed into the Koasati Native Americans shortly after European colonization of the Tennessee River region. Swanton supports his theory by citing passages and maps drawn by Marquette, Joliet, Franquelin, de Soto, and other explorers. Swanton’s inquiries do not end after examination of the maps; he studies the syllables and phonetics of Native Americans currently residing in the Tennessee River region to support his theory. Swanton stresses the importance of using historical maps and passages and concludes that the use of these sources can assist the cultural anthropologist, linguists, and archaeologists interested in the Native Americans of the Tennessee River region.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALEXANDRA ROBINSON Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)

Teit, James A. Traditions and Information Regarding the Tona’Xa. American Anthropologist July 1930 Vol.32(3):625-632.

Teit identified the Tona’Xa and Tuna’Xe through a series of ethnological interviews with Kutenai and Salish tribe members. The name Tuna’Xe was the Salish pronunciation and spelling of Tona’Xa (the Kutenai interpretation). Through investigation of the languages, locations, and historical evidence about both tribes, Teit discovered that despite similarities between the tribes, two separate tribes existed instead of two branches of one tribe.

Originally, both Native American tribes were traced to an area in Montana. Upon further research, the two sources describe slightly different locations for the Tona’Xa. The Salish describe a group of Kutenai to the north of the Tona’Xa (Tuna’Xe). Members of Kutenai tribe called this northern tribe of Kutenai the Tona’Xa. The Tuna’Xe (as they are called in the article for clarification purposes) are a separate group of native people descended from the Salish, with a completely different language than the Tona’Xa. The two groups often intermarried due to their proximity. Due to this, their close regional localities, and similar names, it is not surprising that many outsiders were not able to differentiate between the groups.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ANN ZILIC Illinois State University (Robert T. Dirks)

Weltfish, Gene. Prehistoric North American Basketry Techniques And Modern Distributions. American Anthropologist July-September, 1930 Vol.32(3):454-495.

Weltfish examines prehistoric and modern basketry in North America. Weltfish discusses the distribution of modern and prehistoric basketry techniques by separating North America into ten basketry areas. Each basketry area is distinct from the others in style, technique, and material type. Eight of the technically distinguishable basketry areas are located in the western third of North America. The other areas are in the northeast and southeast.

Weltfish describes the main types of basketry: coiled, twined and plaited. Subdivisions are made to further distinguish between types of baskets and their manufacturing techniques. The main subdivisions include: the direction of stitching, whether stitching is interlocking or not, and shape of the work surface used to weave the vessel.

Weltfish concludes by comparing the contemporary and prehistoric basketry types found in the ten different basketry areas. Modern basketry techniques are not new innovations within each area; they are the modern day representations of ancient techniques.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
BRAD HANSON Illinois State University (Robert Dirks)