Current Anthropology 1968
Andersen, Susan E. and Emery S. Fletcher. The Inverse Stonehenge Problem. Current Anthropology October, 1968 Vol.9 (4): 316-318
Andersen and Fletcher propose a way to identify structures possessing astronomical significance. The authors point to studies of Stonehenge by Hawkins (1963) and Thom (1966) as the basis for their explanation. The authors show that Hawkins and Thom came to their conclusion, that formation at Stonehenge was aligned to show the positions of the sun and the moon, through a long stretch of precise observations, measurements, and calculations. Andersen and Fletcher propose a framework by which one can easily check other alignments for possible astronomical significance.
This framework, according to Andersen and Fletcher, is accurate for formations that lie between 60 degrees North and 60 degrees South latitude and of an age not greater than 4000 years. They state that this method is possible because the factors, which affect the rising and setting of the sun and moon in relationship to the Earth, are reasonably small. Andersen and Fletcher provide “nomograms” to show rising and setting points of the sun and moon at various times (summer solstice, vernal or autumnal equinox, and winter solstice) and azimuths. The authors plotted their observations from various latitudes and altitudes on graphs. From these graphs, the authors say that one can determine if a structure is arranged astronomically.
Anticipating speculation, the authors state that this test should be used as a “filter” to eliminate formations that are not astronomically arranged without extensive on-site tests, similar to those performed by Hawkins and Thom at Stonehenge. Just because something appears to be in astronomical alignment, does not mean that it was intended that way. Andersen and Fletcher also state that observations made from the naked eye could cause errors. The computer program used to create the “nomograms” gives a more accurate interpretation, but the full results could not be published because it would require too many plots, making the chart method extremely complicated.
This article was not very clear. The information was too condensed and the authors did not go into good detail or description. More visual aids would be helpful, since the data was collected by visual means and measurements, to allow the reader to see how the authors gathered the data presented on the graphs.
CRAIG TROMBLY Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Davies, Oliver. The Origins of Agriculture in West Africa. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol. 9(5):479-482.
Oliver Davies attempts to uncover the origins of agriculture by using archaeological evidence. He discusses a protoagricultural stage in West Africa. Davies argues that certain tools found in this area could only have been used for digging. The peoples of West Africa probably began harvesting tubers, a kind of yam. Davies points out the discovery of digging tools for excavating tubers and the use of fire to cook the otherwise indigestible plant as proof of this harvesting. Cultivation of the tubers might have begun when people discovered that the discarded head of the yam sometimes took root in the soil. At some point men began placing the tuber heads in suitable soil so that more would grow. Not much else was necessary to procure more plants because the tubers did not need to be weeded, they are a hearty plant that competes with other plants on their own.
Davies argues for the rise of agriculture in West Africa by pointing out different tools that were developed over time by the peoples of West Africa. Digging sticks were found weighted with clay that he believes were used for opening piled yam-mounds. The development of hoes, axes, and picks reflect the needs to prepare the ground, cut trees, and dig the crop. Rough tools that mimic these described have been found in a cave on the Ivory Coast. Clearing of land is another clue that cultivation took place. These are areas where, climactically forests should exist. Overtime, the plants have re-grown in these areas. It is not certain whether they have been restored to normal conditions as this may take as much as a century to occur. Other food plants that grow in West Africa include: Coleus (Hausa potato), millets, sorghums, rice, okra, and nuts.
This article used some abstract language and spoke of regions I was not familiar with. I had trouble understanding many of the concepts that Davies wrote about.
CRAIG TROMBLY Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Davies, Oliver. Origins of African Agriculture: The Origins of Agriculture in West Africa. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5): 479-482.
H.F. Higot. The Origins of Agriculture: Sahara. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5): 483-488.
David Seddon. The Origins and Development of Agriculture in East and Southern Africa.Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5): 489-494.
The introduction of agriculture into Africa helped broaden different kinds of foods available throughout the multi-climatic continent. This article focuses on the different climates and eco-zones and how they affect crops, the range of tools used for agriculture, and the many types of vegetation that are native or imported into the area. “Origins of Agriculture” is divided into three sections based on eco-zone. Each section is written by a different author,but focuses on the same topic. The first part of the article is on the agriculture found throughout West Africa, the second on the Sahara, and the third focuses on East and Southern Africa.
The main source of nutrients found in West Africa is tubers. Though many other plants grow in this region, rice and millets to name two, tubers make up the majority of the carbohydrate intake. Tubers are easy to cultivate and prepare, they only need a tool to dig them up and a fire to cook them. The article proposes that the cultivation of tubers came about when somebody noticed that a discarded piece of yam (the tuber) rooted itself in loose soil and began to grow. The date of origin of tuber cultivation is unknown since it doesn’t leave any deposits. The only way to guess would be to look at the tools used in agriculture. The tools that are popular in this region are the digging stick, the sanogan pick, and the stone hoe. The digging stick is a stick with a heavy clay or stone attached to the base of the tool. The sanagon pick started as a “clumsy tool” (p.479) but evolved into a form of scraping tool with the invention of the handle. The origin of the stone hoe is a controversial topic because it is unknown when, where, and even if this tool was used in agriculture. The article also hints at other plants commonly used in this area, the oil palm being the only one native to West Africa.
Overall, this article only hinted at the types of plants and tools found throughout the region. It didn’t go into detail about where imported plants may have come from, nor did it give dates for any of the plants or tools. The most important thing I gathered from the article was that tubers are considered a staple food in West Africa.
The second section of the “Origins of Culture” focuses on the Sahara. The article begins with this equation: Prehistoric Artifacts + Botanical Proofs + Absolute Date = Agriculture (est. fact) (p.483). This article also focuses on the types of plants and tools found throughout the area, though none are native to the Sahara. In addition to stone hoes and digging sticks, ploughs and pottery make up the types of tools found throughout this region. It stresses that while pottery does NOT entail the use of agriculture, it does help date the organic material found within the pot. Some of the plants found in this region are yams, pomegranates, rice, melons, okra, and sorghum, none of which are native to the Sahara. The article touches upon the origin of two of these plants, but neither in great detail. Near the end of the article it introduces the topic of animal domestication and how it is very important to the area, but other than a brief mention it does not say much.
The third and last part of the article focuses on East and Southern Africa. This article went into the most detail about agriculture in Africa. In the introduction it says there are three ways of discovering the origin of agriculture. The first is by looking at the direct archaeological evidence such as the remains of domestication. The second is by studying the indirect evidence, and the third is by looking at the evidence provided by botanical and ethnographic studies (p.489). The greatest understanding comes from the second step, the indirect evidence, and the only way to test hypotheses on how people may have farmed in the beginning is to look at how people farm today.
Unlike the other two sections of the article, this one does not go into detail about the kinds of plants and tools found throughout Southern and East Africa. It instead focuses on what places may have influenced the origin of agriculture in Africa, but like the other two articles it does not go into detail.
ALEXANDRA DUMAS Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Despres, Leo A. Anthropological Theory, Cultural Pluralism, and the Study of Complex Societies. Current Anthropology February, 1968. Vol. 9(1): 3-25.
Despres’ article focuses on the idea that in order to study complex societies anthropologists need to adapt to a new kind of anthropology. Despres feel this is a “crisis” within the discipline of anthropology because it calls for a change to a more sociology-based field. He indicates that if this persists, many anthropologists would feel that anthropology will no longer exist as an independent intellectual discipline. Despres tries to dispute this view through an analysis and refutation of three primary criticisms representing current anthropology as a discipline: 1) anthropology’s main source of data (primitive societies) is diminishing, 2) there is no precise empirical methodology within anthropology, and 3) there are no “theoretical frames of reference” within anthropology that can be applied to complex societies.
Despres refutes the first criticism by discussing the common misconception of anthropology, which includes the belief that anthropologists only study preliterate societies and cultures. Through listing examples of previously published anthropological research, Despres shows that the discipline itself has always been interested in the study of complex societies. He also notes that 19th century thinking was interested in the phenomenon of civilization. Despres’ refutation of the methodology criticism includes defining methodology as a means of communication about what the researcher has observed. He believes that anthropologists use logic, art and technology as means of communication.
Despres spends a majority of the article attempting to refute the criticism of anthropological theory. He believes it is harder to refute and, therefore, sets out to differentiate between two types of theory: explanatory and paradigmatic. He believes that anthropology fully utilizes explanatory theories that come from other disciplines involving the study of man, but it lacks a paradigmatic focus. Despres argues that the field of anthropology has mainly followed Tylor’s paradigm of culture, which has, therefore, set the frame of cultural research. He says anthropologists have become reliant upon other disciplines for theory construction. He continues to focus on the need for a primary paradigmatic focus within anthropology in order for the discipline to maintain itself as an independent discipline. He says the “paradigmatic focus should be the scientific study of cultural systems” (16). Despres concludes his argument of theory development by incorporating discussion and examples of cultural pluralism as a means for developing theories and for studying complex societies.
The individuals who responded to Despres’ article both agreed and disagreed with his argument. Many of the respondents seemed to commend his efforts to solve the issue of theoretical approaches. However, they also acknowledge the fact that disciplines actively change with their research material (i.e., the study of complex societies instead of primitive societies). Many of the respondents focused on Despres’ claim of a need for a paradigmatic theory. They felt that an overall paradigmatic theory should not focus on cultural systems, but should incorporate all fields of anthropological study. Another general point the respondents made was that other disciplines come in contact with the same problems that anthropologists do and they are also lacking in a paradigmatic focus.
Despres states that some of the responses he received were due to ambiguities in his article. Therefore, he focuses on clarification of some of these ambiguities. One major ambiguity he attempts to clarify is the central theme of his argument. He states “that if anthropology is to make a special contribution to the study of complex societies it must have theories which are capable of informing anthropologists of significant research problems” (23). He bases this clarification on the idea that “anthropology claims a special status among the sciences of man or it does not” (23). Another major clarification he attempts to make is in his discussion of cultural pluralism. Despres felt that many of the respondents believed him to be presenting the plural model as the only suitable model for cultural study. He again stresses that his example was only an illustration of differences between cultural and sociological analyses and how it could set up theoretical problems within the study of complex societies.
STEPHANIE FINLEY Southwest Missouri State University (Bill Wedenoja)
Despres, Leo A. Anthropological Theory, Cultural Pluralism, and the Study of Complex Societies. Current Anthropology February, 1968 Vol.9(1):3-26
In this article, Leo Despres argues against the need for a new kind of anthropology for the study of more complex societies. Many social scientists found the need for such a study as a response to the emerging nations of the post World War II era which caused the disappearance of the primitive societies usually studied by anthropologists. Because the so-called primitive societies were becoming scarce, Despres states the future of anthropology depends on the new definitions and research methods used by anthropologists when studying the more complex societies.
To tackle the problem, Despres offers the reconstruction of anthropological theories as a solution. Originally, explanatory theory was used in the study of preliterate societies. He blames the lack of use of paradigmatic theories because explanatory theory comes from deductive reasoning after scientific analysis. On the other hand, paradigmatic theory prepares the focus and approach of a discipline and makes the development of that discipline possible. The paradigm that has been used primarily is the Tylorian paradigm of culture which provided an epistemological framework for the science of culture. Still, anthropology as a discipline has been known to borrow theories and frameworks from classic sociology. Despres feels the sharing of paradigms risks the convergence of anthropology with other social disciplines, thus making the study of complex society without proper theory a problematic situation for the independent field of anthropology. Therefore, he decides to shift his attention to the cultural systems within societies as a basis for the framework of the new anthropological theory. Despres looks at social structure as a series of networks to be used as a model and then studied. Cultural pluralism becomes his example. When the model is produced, questions can be developed to aid the formulation of new theories regarding cultural pluralism.
Despres’s article received many comments. While some commentaries disregarded his article and argued that Despres was focusing too much on defining anthropology, others wrote in agreement that new theories should be developed to aid the study of complex societies. The main dispute is given by Ronald Cohen who claims that an anthropologist can not be the expert on everything. Despres’s reply to this that such and anthropologist would not want to be expert on anything if he or she is not expert on everything.
All in all, the article was written clearly enough to be generally understood. Despres structures his arguments well and creates order with his ideas. His structural approach to forming new theories within emerging topics in anthropology is thoughtfully written and expressed through his example of cultural pluralism. One criticism I would have to this article is his constant need to define terms. The amount of writing he used to define terms lengthens the article and at times distracts the reader from the main focus of the article.
LINDSAY PETTIT Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Emiliani, Cesare. The Pleistocene Epoch and the Evolution of Man. CurrentAnthropology February, 1968 Vol. 9(1):27-44.
Scientists disagree on whether the Calabrian stage should be placed at the end of the Pliocene epoch or the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch. The presence of certain marine species is used to determine the position of this stage. The timeline for the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene is also unknown. Temperature change is studied by “oxygen isotope analysis of deep-sea cores” in Italy and the Netherlands to help with this age problem. Also, comparison studies of marine species from the Atlantic and the Caribbean are used to determine the age of glaciations in the Pleistocene. Scientists believe these glaciations will occur in the future, however right now we are in a postglacial stage known as the Holocene.
Along with climate history, scientists can look at the evolution of man in these epochs. The study of climate causes problems with defining the dates of the appearance of many hominids such as Homo sapiens sapiens. It is interesting to contemplate that the evolution of man was hindered by difficult conditions such as the glaciations. Despite the cranial capacity and survival skills of Homo erectus, it was very difficult to endure such harsh weather conditions. This is also true for the Neanderthal; however, this hominid was specially designed to resist the factors of glaciations. For example, the larger nasal cavities allowed for advantages in cold weather. This leads to the discussion of who gave rise to whom. The author believes Africa is “the cradle of the early Homininae,” whereas “Europe is the cradle of modern man.”
Comments and Reply
There are several comments on this article. Many scholars agreed that the title of the article is misleading and that the first part on the dating of the Pleistocene and the second part on the evolution of hominids do not fit closely together to form a complete whole. Also they believe it is quite brief and could use more documentation. Despite these criticisms, the scholars also point out the great influence of ecology during the Pleistocene. In his reply, Emiliani answers questions about specific scientific data, and he also corrects his mistakes.
MEGAN NELSON Southwest Missouri State University (Bill Wedenoja)
Emiliani, Cesare. The Pleistocene Epoch and the Evolution of Man. Current Anthropology February 1968 Vol.9(1):27-47
The Calabrian stage is the last stage of the Pliocene Epoch and the early stages of the Pleistocene Epoch, and is characterized by the presence of shallow and deep water facies; in particular, Artctica islandica and Hyalinea blatica, found in the Mediterranean. These northern invertebrates, found in the Mediterranean, are evidence of temperature decrease. This temperature decrease in the late Cenozoic Era and early Pleistocene Epoch can attribute to mountain building and increase of continentality.
Emiliani suggests that the decreasing temperature caused human evolution. Due to decreased temperature, twenty glaciations were produced in the past one million years. The population of Homo erectus located in Europe and Asia was confined between ice caps. Emiliani demonstrates this isolated Homo erectus population evolved separately and independently into the neanderthalensis subspecies in order to survive decreased temperatures. As a result, Neanderthals successfully existed for thousands of years until their extinction thirty to forty thousand years ago.
The modern notion of speciation and evolution concludes that a small population and each population, beginning with Australopithecus, evolved separately, than competed with the original population and eventually the evolved population replaced the original population. Emiliani suggests that decreased temperature during the late Cenozoic Era led to isolation of populations in Europe; this isolated population evolved into Neanderthals and eventually replaced Homo erectus.
However, in order to follow the modern view of speciation and evolution, Emiliani does not conclude that Neanderthals evolved directly into modern man. Instead, Emiliani suggests Neanderthal disappearance was a result of modern man’s physiological advantage, specifically, Neanderthals’ larger sinus cavities which led to higher incidences of diseases and death. Furthermore, Emiliani disagrees with the belief that modern man originated in Africa since modern man replaced Neanderthals in Europe, not Africa.
Out of twenty-four commentators, most commend Emiliani’s attempt correlating climatic changes and human evolution and each highlight their disagreements. Among them, James J. Hester points out that Emiliani’s article is superb at highlighting the correlation between human evolution and climatic changes; however, he disagrees with Emiliani’s description about the severity of weather conditions, to which Neanderthals had to adapt. Ralph L. Holloway, Jr. agrees with hester that we are unaware about the weather conditions described by Emilaini. Holloway additionally criticizes Emiliani’s belief that severe weather in Europe created intelligent Neanderthal’s who evolved into modern man, since, according to Emiliani, Neanderthals were physiological, not intellectually, at a disadvantage. Furthermore, John M. Longyear III, points out that it was Neanderthal’s lack of cultural ability and intelligence that led to their extinction. Emmanuel Anati points out that Emiliani disregards culture and social change as an impact on human evolution. In Emilian’s reply, he explains that Neanderthal’s did have culture and religion.
The first half of the article is confusing since it focuses on complex geological dating. Overall, the author’s theory on the correlation of climate change and human evolution is informative.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SARA E. IDEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Goldstein, Marcus S. Anthropological Research, Action, and Education in Modern Nations: With Special Reference to the U.S.A. Current Anthropology October, 1968 Vol. 9 (4): 247-265.
In this article Marcus Goldstein calls for more anthropological research on modern nations in order to address problems that exist there. Applying anthropology and anthropological research to address these problems is needed. Anthropological application in addressing problems within modern nations can have great benefit to society. In the U.S. the spread of anthropological knowledge would be effective in reducing ethnocentricity, and racism, among other things, and would help in addressing other social problems as well.
Anthropology has far ranging application and value but the general public is not aware, or aware enough, of how anthropology can be an effective means toward solving problems in today’s modern nations. Anthropologists should move toward the application of anthropology to the general public to create social change and influence social behavior. Such application should increase the tolerance of different cultures, and races, and demonstrate the “fallacy of beliefs in racial superiority or inferiority.”
There has not been much anthropological research conducted on modern nations, particularly the U.S., according to the author, and research must be carried out in order to address these problems. Anthropological ideas, knowledge, and research must be presented to the general public in some way. The author suggests types of mass media, such as movies, in order to do this. Goldstein states that even though museums present much knowledge of anthropology that reach a great number of people, this knowledge can lack depth, displays may not represent relevance to the modern day, and seeing and reading all the displays in a museum can be physically fatiguing.
Goldstein then suggests in the creation of an Institute of Pure and Applied Research on the National Culture, and gives suggestions on funding, affiliation, and creation of such an institute to implement the presentation of anthropological knowledge through mass media to influence the public.
There are comments from twenty one scholars about this article. Many point out that there has been a significant amount of research done by various people concerning modern nations that Goldstein as neglected. Many also agree that more needs to be done in relating anthropological knowledge to the public. A few scholars defend the use of museums as an effective way to spread anthropological knowledge to the public. Others question how such a proposed institution by Goldstein could be created, how it would receive funding, and who would work there or be affiliated with it. Other questions include how anthropological research can be framed or used to address current problems when much research is very specific and does not directly relate to modern problems of the general public. Another author points out that much research exists that can address current concerns but there are not enough personnel or resources to apply it. A final statement was made that many anthropologists are not encouraged to do applied research because they do not gain the prestige or recognition they would if they conducted theoretical research.
CHRISTIAN STAUM Southwest Missouri State (William Wedenoja).
Hall, Edward T. Proxemics. Current Anthropologist April – June, 1968 Vol.9 (2-3): 83-100.
The focus of this article is proxemics, which, according to Hall, is the study of man’s perception and use of space. It is his belief that people of different cultures live in different sensory worlds. By this he means that people structure space in specific ways that are unique to that culture. He thinks this is due to different cultures ignoring and accepting sensory information. People learn what types of sensory information are rejected or favored when they are very young and thus it becomes a part of their unconscious.
To support his hypothesis, Hall devises a complex research strategy. He uses many research techniques including observation, experimental abstract situations, structured interviews, analysis of the English lexicon, interpretation of art, and analysis of literature. By using these different techniques he endeavors to discover and identify space perception elements. He believes that the elements of space perception are much like the structural details of linguistics. He believes that if we were to uncover the structural details of space perception, then we would be able to understand the construction of spatial boundaries of other cultures.
Hall found three important points that led to his ultimate conclusion about proxemics. First, he found that there are three categories of space; fixed, semi-fixed and dynamic. These categories describe how a culture treats a proxemic feature. For example, certain cultures may classify territorial boundaries as fixed while others classify the same boundaries as semi-fixed due to the fact that the latter culture is migrational and changes boundaries according to season.
The second point refers to the way in which space is organized in relation to communication between people. Sociopetal space is conducive to communication between people whereas sociofugal space promotes solidarity. In some cultures, a space may be considered to be sociopetal but that same space would be considered to be sociofugal in other cultures. Hall gives the example of a small recreation room that is considered to be sociopetal, or as he states “cozy”, to a group of Germans, while the same room is considered to be sociofugal to a group of Arabs.
The third point refers to the relationship between proxemics and spoken language. He states that distance and situation of a conversation impact the content of that conversation and content is also impacted by the relationship between the participants, their activity, and emotions.
Hall concludes that there is no specific universal distance-setting mechanism. By this he means that he found no set mechanism for spatial perception and use of space. He found that all cultures set their distances in unique ways but no culture can explain how those distance rules and perceptions came about. He also states that all the senses are involved in setting the distance but each culture chooses which senses are favored. He closes by discussing different areas that need to be investigated in order to understand proxemics more fully.
The replies and comments to this article are numerous and mixed. Each commentor praises Hall’s work but some have concerns about the article. For example, Ray Birdwhistell discusses the good points of the article but states that Hall’s theory is somewhat fuzzy and contradictory at times. He states that a more concrete theory is necessary because without it, the data are only data and become evidence only in the context of a theory. Hall’s data and his interpretation of the data are generally accepted and praised by all. But some people commented that he needed to expand and clarify his theories.
I found this article to be very enjoyable and easy to read. Hall presents his information clearly and gives many examples to put his data and conclusions into context. I do agree with some of the commentors though, Hall should clarify his theories.
ANNA JOHNSTON Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Harris, Marvin. Book Review: The Rise of Anthropological Theory. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5):519-533.
The article starts with a simple summary and explanation of the book being reviewed. Harris says his book outlines the progression of anthropology as a discipline, showing the merits and flaws of each paradigm and approach. To do this, he lays out his view of the history of anthropology, starting with the very basic roots in the philosophes. Scientism and Evolutionism take a more prominent place after the French Revolution, but the theories and practices are often racist and still idealist. Cultural Materialism comes onto the field with Karl Marx playing the part of the champion. Move forward to the earlier 20th century when Harris says that Anthropology rejected Marxism entirely and denied the idea of determinism by one’s living conditions. After this, nomothetic interests swing back into the front of the discipline of anthropology, scientism returns, and the discipline focuses more on causal understanding. This stance is shaky in Harris’s view but a “science of history” is the future for which he hopes.
Harris managed to stir up quite a reaction, and the reviews range from applause to assault. Some authors felt they had more to add in agreement to the views expressed in the book, but the majority of reviewers were more compelled to correct Harris. One reviewer spent his entire review clarifying the Evolutionist position from his point of view.
All that aside, Harris’s book was not very kindly received. It was dismissed as simply a series of reviews. It was praised for its aims with one hand and yet stricken down as being too biased (particularly concerning the 1950’s and 1960’s) with the other. Harris came under fire for using too many secondary sources; in particular the critic felt that he had misquoted Hume secondhand. The work was seen as narrow and even outright called “bigoted.” Harris was accused of simply bashing all that wasn’t Harris. One reviewer gave the backhanded compliment that at least somebody had written a history of the discipline, and that it will at least garner some good reads in the books that will be written to refute Harris’s work. Harris was portrayed as arrogant and hypocritical. One reviewer felt that the book only viewed the faults of theorists. It was said that the opposition between nomothetic and idiographic was overplayed in the book. One of the better, more clear and concise reviewers was disappointed that Harris had not better shown the interrelationship and context of the theories, then corrected one of Harris’s cultural generalizations.
One of the most consistent criticisms and a notable one was the issue of language. The book was said to have metalanguage issues concerning whether various phrases had different meanings or were interchangeable. What one reviewer called in a sarcastic remark “dyadic-conjunctionitis” was all too frequent in the book. Harris’s work was even dismissed as ramblings about a voluminous multitude of “isms” and that “would-be witty subheadings. . .substitute for the lack of form.”
The primary reply to most of the rather harsh criticisms roughly equated to questioning the critic’s understanding of the book or, for that matter, anthropology. Some of Harris’s verbal parries are simple dismissals, while others are quite deft (such as informing the critic who did not like the hyphenated “neologisms” frequently employed in the book that his editor and many other anthropologists were quite fond of hyphens, and that “a hyphen does not a new word make”).
SHAUN GREENWALD Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Hofer, Tamas. Anthropologists and Native Ethnographers in Central European Villages: Comparative Notes on the Professional Personality of Two Disciplines. Current Anthropology October, 1968 Vol.9 (4): 311-315.
Tamas Hofer sets up a basis for comparing anthropologists and ethnographers, who are generally classified as a single group. A key difference is that ethnographers generally study their own people, where anthropologists do not. Therefore, Hofer states, ethnographers have a limited scope where they thoroughly document the occurrences of their native people over time. Anthropologists have free range over the specific concentration of their studies, which often change throughout their career.
Although both anthropologists and ethnographers collect data, there are many differences how this data is used as well as presented. Throughout their lifetimes, ethnographers collect data about their native lands, moving to another area for the purpose of comparison between his/her country with another. Cohen compares ethnology to history in the sense that they are both cumulative disciplines. (313) Rather than make assumptions in order to bring attention to their work, ethnographers only disclose information that “adds to the fringes of knowledge.” (314) In fact, calling attention to the significance of one’s discoveries is “against good manners.” (314) This explains why titles of ethnographic works are often flat and understate the significance of the book.
Anthropologists have the option of moving their studies abroad, where they collect their data through immersion into another culture. Hofer states that the nature of anthropology is theoretical, seeking to make generalizations about a group, or possibly mankind, from these short periods of fieldwork. Their data has a limited time frame and is collected for the purposes of proving one’s theory. These theories are published with dramatic and descriptive titles, such as the Chrysanthemum and the Sword, and Nomads of the Long Bow, calling attention to their works. With this completed, the anthropologist can be considered accomplished in his/her field, whereas the ethnographer’s gauge for success lies in his/her accumulation of knowledge and experience.
Hofer does not agree with the oversimplified theories of anthropologists. He proposes the necessity for cooperation between the two fields. By analyzing the detailed descriptions of a culture provided by ethnographers over generations, anthropologists could prove their theories with increased knowledge and understanding that they could not possibly achieve in their short periods of fieldwork.
This article is very clearly written with language that most can understand. The author keeps it simple and to the point.
CRAIG TROMBLY Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Hugot, H.J. The Origins of Agriculture: Sahara. Current Anthropology. December, 1968 Vol. 9(5):483-488.
H. J. Hugot discusses the origin of agriculture in the Sahara. Although at present the Sahara is a barren land it is not always so. The desert conditions result from a decline in isohyets; if the isohyets rise so will the vegetation. These desert conditions are also the result of various cycles in the movements of heavenly bodies. Other factors include the expansion and contraction of the Azores anticyclone. When the anticyclone expands, moist air-masses are blocked on the edges of the Sahara; when it contracts, these air-masses, the cold polar front and the monsoon of the Gulf Of Guinea, are able to penetrate into the continental mass. At these times the Sahara is a rich, fertile land.
Tools have been found in the Sahara that have been linked to agriculture. Stone hoes have been found. These stone tools were used on the end of a digging stick. Mortars and pestles are another example of agricultural tools found in the Sahara. Pollen of cultivated grasses has been found in some of these. Stone weights or kwe show the cultivation of tubers. The main areas of the Sahara that these tools have been found suggesting some form of agriculture are : Meniet, Adrar Bous, and Tichitt. Some of the cultivated or cultivatable plants found in the Sahara are : wheat and barley, date-palm, shea-butter, fig, pomegranate, yam, African lotus, rice, jujube, gourds, melon, sorgham, bullrush-millet, vine, and okra.
Agriculture in the region of the Sahara could only have occurred during the Neolithic time-period. At this time, the climate was right to allow vegetation to flourish in this region. Changes over time have turned the once fertile land into a land of desert-like terrain. Many factors played into the change in climate that changed the fertility of the Sahara.
This article used language that is easily understood. Some of the concepts discussed were a little difficult to understand.
CRAIG TROMBLY Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Hultkrantz, Aka. The Aims of Anthropology: A Scandinavian Point of View. Current Anthropology October, 1968 Vol. 9 (4): 289-310.
The aim of the author is to describe the organizing efforts of Scandinavian academic institutions to define anthropology as it relates to their intellectual and cultural pursuits. Using American anthropology as a model, Hultkrantz attempts to identify areas that could be joined together to form a multi-faceted field. Counterparts to the American system of anthropology are listed as physical anthropology, general and comparative ethnography; Nordic and comparative folk life research, archaeology; folklore and folk poetry; and Indo-European and comparative linguistics. The emphasis on Nordic studies stems from the opinion that while American Anthropology is wide in scope, many things are grouped together for study that do not have much in common. A critique of the American system is that the field has grown too broad. European anthropology is broken down into different categories, mainly physical anthropology, and what Americans consider to be cultural anthropology is referred to as simply ethnography.
The author outlines the evolution of anthropology as a field, dependent on the theory of evolution as a starting point that spread from France and Britain to America. The fathers of American Anthropology then shaped it into a field dedicated highly to the examination of primitive peoples, whereas the European anthropologists wanted to place importance on high or, contemporary culture. Hultkrantz closes by stating that each form of anthropology has been adapted for survival in its environment, but that American Anthropology has no place in European academic pursuits.
Many of those commenting on this article feel that it was full of contradictions, such as the implication that American anthropology is too rigid, yet too vague in its approach. Others say that this critique is correct in saying that the American field does not give enough credit to evolutionary theory, while one Dr. Weltfish describes first hand experience of Boas’ attempts to study “primitive” cultures out of a need to understand the concept of evolution. Dr. Hultkrantz replies by stating that the time of Boas is over and American Anthropology needs to evolve.
LEANNA AYER Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Karve, I. and K.C. Malbotra. A Biological Comparison of Eight Endogamous Groups of the Same Rank. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol. 9 (2-3): 109-116.
This article deals with a long-standing theory on the biological comparison of eight different endogamous groups in India. Anthropologists studying in India have long believed that eight different endogamous groups, all carrying the same general name of Brahmin, are the products of splitting from a single parent group. If splitting did occur from a single parent group, each of the eight different endogamous groups would be biologically similar to one another. In this article, Karve and Malbotra focus mainly on testing this theory and presenting their findings.
Karve and Malbotra set out to prove that these sub-castes, another name for the endogamous groups, are not derivable from a single caste or parent group. The authors, in contrast to the original theory, maintain that each Brahmin sub-caste holds an independent social reality. While the authors admit that similarities in social status and function exist, they contend that this does not equate to biological affinity. Karve and Malbotra theorize that sub-castes are a result, not of fission, but of lack of fusion. They believe that India’s history of tribal migration lends support to this theory. A migrating group would settle and make a place for itself in the caste structure by assuming a caste name and status. At the same time, the migrating group retained its “group character” through endogamy. If this holds true, each group would be biologically distinct from one another.
A number of unrelated males from different groups in four cities were used for biological comparison. The authors used statistical analysis to identify significant and various differences between groups. They looked for differences in morphological characteristics, genetic traits, and somatic changes. Karve and Malbotra were careful to strictly adhere to recommended techniques for testing and plotting data. This helped to eliminate the element of subjectivity. Four tables and charts help the reader summarize their findings on affinity between groups. Their data support the new theory by showing great heterogeneity among the groups. Karve and Malbotra conclude from their data that the biological relationship, within the Brahmin groups are no closer to each other than they are to non-Brahmin groups. Some of the Brahmin groups actually reveal a closer biological relationship to non-Brahmin castes. To this day, the authors’ new theory on biological comparison shows no contradicting data.
Complaints about the article revolve around three major points. The first major criticism states that Karve and Malbotra, in many cases, used compound characteristics with informative sub-components and treated them as single characteristics. By failing to address the variations found in sub-components, the authors have failed to look at total biological differences in each group. A very different picture and set of data could have emerged out of this study, had sub-components been looked at separately instead of being lumped into one characteristic. A second issue states that the authors failed to consider the possibility of genetic drift. No one knows to what extent or how much change has resulted from genetic drift. With the sub-castes living in such small, closed communities, critics feel the authors should have looked into this idea. The small, closed communities and high number of past generations makes genetic drift a crucial element to research. One last point brought against Karve’s and Malbotra’s article attacks their lack of interest in researching the considerably different kinship and marriage patterns within each group. Frequency and dynamics of genetic recombination in each group would vary in relation to the sociological factors. Critics maintain that the authors need to take into consideration diversity within each group instead of applying the same statistical procedures to everyone. Populations by definition are not uniform and therefore can not be studied that way.
Karve and Malbotra’s reply was extremely short and only covered one of the three main points brought up by critics. The authors state that they wish to do future research to investigate how separation from a main caste may affect and change the new group. Studying caste separation would help to illustrate factors such as genetic drift and provide more extensive data for a biological comparison of different caste groups. The authors, in their closing reply, state that the critiques were well received and had sparked their interest in future research on the subject.
CIARA HOWELL Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Kortmulder, K. An Ethological Theory of the Incest Taboo and Exogamy: With Special Reference to the Views of Claude Levi-Strauss. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5):437-448.
In this article, Kortmulder attempts to develop a causal theory, based on findings in animal ethology, for the incest taboo and exogamy. He defines incest as sexual behavior and or marriage between siblings or between parents and children. Kortmulder uses other animals to compare incest taboo, exogamy, pair formation, familiarity, and aggressive behavior with humans.
Kortmulder refers to the works of Huxley and Lorenz, who studied grey-lag geese. In this species of geese, neither pair formation nor sexual behavior occurs between siblings of the same nest or between parent and offspring. Lorenz postulates that pair formation involves aggressiveness and fear, at least in the male; since siblings of a nest do not display aggressive behavior towards each other, they cannot form pairs. In reference to Huxley and Lorenz, Kortmulder believes that the same mechanism that drives the grey geese also causes human endogamy and exogamy.
Kortmulder also uses Weinberg’s (1955) description of personality types among people who commit incest in our own society: 1) the endogamic, 2) the promiscuous, and 3) the paedophilic. He then describes different cultures that express the type. For instance, he compares the endogamic type of the Arapesh with the promiscuous type to of the Mudugumor.
Kortmulder also examined Levi-Strauss’s theory of the “fundamental structures of the human mind” that underlie marriage rules in general. Some of Levi-Strauss’ postulates include: 1) Man is a biological being as well as a social individual, 2) Stimuli influencing man’s behavior may be physico-biological or psychosexual. 3) Culture transforms life, to achieve a synthesis of a higher level. Levi-Strauss also points out that marriage rules are essentially an exchange system, and he questions why women are exchanged as gifts. He postulates that women must be considered a scarce commodity, “especially under primitive circumstances.” The reason for giving women away to other families, or communities, is to create a tie between the two groups through marriage and children. Kortmulder concludes that Levi-Strauss does not adequately explain the incest taboo and exogamy. He even admits that his own theory is inadequate to explain systems of marriage preferences more complicated than incest avoidance.
Out of eight responses, four disagreed with Kortmulder’s theories, and four supported his analysis of behavior patterns. The main criticism was whether Kortmulder could prove that the incest taboo is “natural” in origin. Other disagreements include the function of giving gifts; some believe that gifts present a challenge to the receiving party.
Kortmulder defends his theory as causal and testable. As for gift giving, he agrees that the gift giving acts as a challenge; in reciprocal exchange, each side expects a counter gift when exchanging, thus representing a form of competition. Even though it represents a challenge, it usually leads to reciprocal aggressive gift giving, rather that to overt aggression.
ROGERS, RICHARD Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Kortmulder, K. An Ethological Theory of the Incest Taboo and Exogamy. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5):437-449.
Kortmulder presents a causal ethological theory to explain the incest taboo and exogamy. The theory opposes other current ideas because it is based on animal behavior. Kortmulder argues that a biological basis of incest avoidance exists in human beings.
To prove that human incest avoidance could be driven by the same factor as in other animals, Kortmulder uses an example from geese families. The theory is based on observed aggressiveness between partners that has been studied in both animals and humans. Evidence is then presented from Margaret Mead’s research on aggressiveness in Arapesh culture. Kortmulder attempts to synthesize his theory with the seemingly contradictory position of Claude Levi-Strauss by combining Levi-Strauss’ redistribution and gift giving with his own causal theory for incest avoidance. Using an example of fish behavior, he argues that counterparts for the mechanism of redistribution can be found in animal behavior.
Kortmulder’s brief article generated numerous commentary reactions. While Kortmulder’s ethological approach is praised by some for recognition that man is biologically included in the animal kingdom, it is largely criticized by others who believe that culture cannot be excluded from a theory for incest taboo. Scholars disagree with Kortmulder’s use of examples from birds and fish rather than more closely related mammals. Some believe Kortmulder took ethnographic data out of context. Others claim that his argument is reductionist because of use of extreme examples while leaving out other contributing factors found in research available on the subject. He is also accused of misunderstanding Levi-Strauss’s structural theory of incest taboo and portraying it in terms of a causal explanation.
In a reply by the author, Kortmulder defends and clarifies his theory. He insists that examples of geese and fish were chosen because little was known about partner choice in primates and also because geese lend themselves to comparison because of the particular behavior of study. The author also explains an understanding of Levi-Strauss’ structuralist theory. However, Kortmulder believes the theory is also causal and gives an example of this. Kortmulder maintains that he is forced to use extreme examples of aggressive behavior because no objective study of aggressiveness currently exists.
Although Kortmulder’s arguments are straightforward they are largely incomplete. I find the arguments weak in the sociocultrual dimension and simply lacking in sufficient supporting data, from both human and other animal behavior. Further, in his reply the author fails to clarify several points introduced by commentators and leaves the reader questioning the usefulness of his theory.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ABIGAIL L. STEERE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Maday, Bela C. Hungarian Anthropology: The Problem of Communication. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol. 9(2-3):180-184.
In this article, which is a response to a previous letter by Eiichiro Ishida, Maday’s main purpose is to shed light on the miscommunication problems between American anthropologists and those of relatively isolated European countries. Ethnological work underway in these countries was escaping international notice due to linguistic isolation as well as several other communication obstacles. Maday cites these as being 1) differing interests, 2) deviating European and American field structures, and 3) politics. She goes on to summarize each of these problems in detail.
Language problems stemmed from the fact that most American anthropologists can’t read Hungarian, and though Hungarian anthropologists attempted to have their work translated into more common academic languages, such as German and Russian, an American anthropologist would still have had to know either of these languages or both in order to understand the content.
Also, most Hungarian studies focused on ethnohistory, a field American anthropologists had little interest in at that time. This was further complicated by different modes of classification and field structures used by American anthropologists and those from Central European countries. In Hungary, “the science of man” was too broad a definition to be contained solely by one field and the term “anthropology” mostly applied to anything under physical anthropology. As a result, misinterpretation of labels applied to field work allowed Hungarian finds to be buried in miscommunication.
In the last section of her article, Maday relates the history of Hungarian anthropology and the laws and ruling bodies by which it is governed. She concludes by stating that closer international ties should be made between anthropologists of differing countries, allowing scientists within this field to expand their world view as well as prepare for a time when American and European field structures more closely align, allowing grater communication between the two groups.
TARA BYERS Southwest Missouri State University (Bill Wedenoja)
Parizkova, Jana. Body Composition and Physical Fitness. Current Anthropology. October, 1968. Vol.9 (4): 273-284.
The purpose of this article is to show the relationship between body composition and physical activity. This article is comprised of three main sections: (a) the relationship of physical activity and body composition; (b) the relationship of body composition and selected functional characteristics; and (c) the mechanisms underlying this relationship.
In the first section Parizkova seeks to prove that a person who is physically active will have more lean body mass and less fat than a person who is sedentary. She mentions two methods for measuring body composition. The first method is to calculate the ratio of lean body mass to fat using a measurement of body density. The second method is to measure skinfold thickness and calculate body composition using regression equations or nomographs. In order to prove that increased physical training results in more lean body mass at the expense of fat, Parizkova cites studies done by many different people including herself. Koldovsky found that this was true by studying men in military service who were subject to different workloads. Kanina and Chagovetz studied athletes at the Kiev Institute and found that during the school year the athletes increased weight and lean body mass but decreased in fat content. Studies by Capkova and Parizkova show that physical activity increases lean body mass and decreases fat at any age. There is not a significant difference in the ratio of lean body mass to fat among participants of different sports. Only in sports with heavy weight classes does the fat of the participants reach even 20-25%. Subcutaneous fat in swimmers is an adaptation to prolonged exposure to cold water. The ratio of lean body mass to fat varies depending on the intensity of training and efficiency. A long term study of girls who trained in gymnastics showed the amount of subcutaneous body fat and total body fat varied with the intensity of training. Parizkova writes about the effect of increased physical activity on obese people. A low calorie diet in obese children will result in a slight breakdown of lean body mass. Increased energy output without correspondingly increased energy input sometimes results in the loss of lean body mass.
The article moves on to talk about the relationship between body composition and characteristics of the functional state. Studies by Buskirk and Taylor show that there is a relationship between the amount of lean body mass and maximal oxygen consumption. An increase of lean body mass results in an increase of maximal oxygen consumption. Cermak studied 11 year-old boys in various sports and found that the greater the lean body mass, the greater the heart volume. Lean body mass does not determine physical fitness. Parizkova believes the adaptation processes leading to greater fitness also leads to an increase in the proportion of lean body mass. She does not discuss the underlying mechanisms in detail. Instead she claims there is not yet a detailed analysis of the mechanisms that produce increased proportions of lean body mass to fat and improved physical fitness.
Many of the commentators thought that Parizkova did a good job of summarizing available research. E.R. Buskirk criticizes Parizkova for not factoring more details into her article. She doesn’t address the result of increased physical training combined with increased food intake. Maximal oxygen consumption primarily measures the fitness level of athletes whose sport required the rapid movement of the body over a distance. Mario Cappieri believes that there are so many factors acting on body composition that isolating a single cause is impossible. He claims that by forming a selected sample from athletes, these studies do not statistically represent the general population. B.K. Chatterjee thinks that some of the statements made were too general and lack quantitative data. Johan Huizinga suggests that other factors influencing body composition, such as genetics, should be addressed. Most of the commentators praised Parizkova’s work and suggest additional factors, variables and questions to address.
Parizkova claims that research using simple and outdated methods can still be used as a background for future research. She says that factors such as genetics, details on particular sports, and longevity in relation to physical fitness are beyond the scope of her summary. She emphasizes the importance of the close relationship between body composition and functional aerobic capacity. A more detailed explanation of how the amount and frequency of food intake affects body composition is presented in the reply. Citing Kennedy, Widdowson, Parizkova, and Koldovsky, she claims that body composition is influenced for life by the diet immediately after weaning. Parizkova’s reply provides supplemental information that addresses the commentators’ questions. She emphasizes that her article was about the relationship between body composition and physical activity.
JONATHAN GOOD Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Parizkova, Jana. Body Composition and Physical Fitness. Current Anthropology October, 1968 Vol. 9 (4):273-288.
Jana Parizkova openly states that the purpose of her article is to pull together the studies that have been done on composition and physical fitness in order to provide an over-arching view of where the research stands. Through the review of past studies, Parizkova describes the adaptation processes leading to increased fitness also leads an increase in the proportion of lean body mass. To extrapolate, people who exhibit a body composition that can be classified as lean ultimately will maximize O2 consumption and will have more adipose tissue which in turn aids in the metabolic process.
Jana Parizkova organizes the results of studies pertaining to body composition and physical fitness into three specific categories. The first category is titled “the influence of adaptation to intensive physical activity and the lean-fat ratio” which looks at physical training and its effect physiologically on the human body. Next she looks at “the relationship between body composition and functional state” which looks at how these physical changes can make someone more physically fit. Finally, Parizkova looks at “the underlying mechanisms” which the author acknowledges are not completely known.
Through the use of case-studies, Parizkova is able to describe the results which provide the reader a framework to understand the article. She uses both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies. For example, one such study shows that athletes who train rigorously display a higher ratio of lean body mass to fat than the population as a whole. This type of study helps Parizkova show that there are some people who are more physically fit than others.
The commentators on Parizkova’s article all commend her for providing a needed summary of the research completed in this field. The main concern of one commentator was Parizkova’s lack of definition for key terms like fitness and training. One commentator seized the opportunity to question why Parizkova did not go into more depth and pursue further explanation, while also commenting on what he believed would be the future of this discipline.
Parizkova uses the reply section to state the limitations she faced, due to the fact that she was working within the confines of research that had already been undertaken. She further reiterates the fact that her article was not about new research, but was intended to bring all past research together in one essay. Parizkova further uses this opportunity to provide definitions that her commentator mentioned as missing. Finally, Parizkova closed by discussing the importance of this work and the potential future gains this discipline can bring.
Parizkova constructs a concise and well organized summary of these scientific studies. The main difficulty when reading this article is the lack of background information that the author provides.
CLARITY RATING: 3
JEFF KERSTEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Sebeok, Thomas. Book Review of Current Trends in Linguistics Volume III: Theoretical Foundations. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol. 9 (2-3): 125-179.
This article is a book review of the third volume in the Current Trends in Linguistics series. Volume III establishes some theoretical foundations of contemporary linguistics. Coverage of this volume is not exhaustive, and many important current linguistic theories are not discussed. Future volumes are projected to present more extensive information over other, current linguistic theories. This volume is comprised of seven principal chapters. Each chapter has been consolidated from the Trends in Linguistics Lecture Series delivered at the 1964 Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, held at Indiana University. Each chapter represents one of seven lectors: Chomsky, Greenberg, Haas, Hockett, Malkiel, Pike and the late Uriel Weinreich.
Chapter one presents information from four lectures on the theory of Generative Grammar. The first three lectures are devoted exclusively to syntax, and mainly concentrate on the syntactic structure of language. Lecture four briefly describes ideas regarding phonological structure, and discusses the status of phonemic theory. Chapter two looks at the problem of “universals” in the study of human language. The lector of this chapter states the idea that universals coincide with the search for laws of human behavior or linguistic behavior. The main ideas outlined in chapter two revolve around three main issues: the concept of marked and unmarked features, semantic application in the area of kinship terminology, and the illustration of a number of problems in the general methodology. In chapter three, readers are introduced to the field of descriptive linguistics. Historical and comparative linguistics follow a methodology for comparing languages and showing their genetic relationships. Descriptive linguistics follows this methodology but differs in that it compares unwritten languages to each other. This chapter also encompasses the fundamental facts about protolanguages and stresses the absolute necessity for accurate description in this field. The fourth chapter explores the essay “Language, Mathematics, and Linguistics.” This chapter is composed of two distinct sections. The first looks at the advantages of teaching linguists mathematics, while the second questions Chomsky’s transformational-generative theory and Lamb’s stratificational model on language design. Chapter five focuses on word formation and the enrichment of a lexicon through derivational or compositional devices, rather than through borrowing. The lecture that comprises chapter six deals with the morphophonemic system of language and entails several theoretical principles. The principles revolve around morphophonemic alternations and how they account for the systematic nature of alternations. The last chapter in this volume critiques the idea of two linguists, Katz and Fodor, to construct a semantic theory compatible with generative syntax. Chapter seven also outlines a new semantic theory that explicates the way in which the meaning of a fully analyzed sentence is derivable from the fully specified meanings of its ultimate constituents.
Comments and Reply
Criticisms of the book revolve around three major points. The first major criticism is that more non-Americans should have contributed to this book. Critics contend that the third volume of this book should have been titled Current Trends in American Linguistics. Sebeok replies that the contributors in volume III come, in large numbers, from every continent, and further points out that even Australia has been represented in this volume.
The second major criticism expresses disappointment in the article, as it seems to have largely passed over the subject of Soviet linguistics. Sebeok argues that this is incomprehensible because nearly 473 pages are devoted to the subject of Soviet linguistics in volume one of the Current Trends series. Sebeok also states that there were no less than twelve references made to the work of Soviet linguist Revzin.
One final issue states that psycholinguistics was completely ignored and that all the articles were completely devoid of information dealing with social ideas of the social sciences. Sebeok, in his closing reply, tells critics to consider the text of the series. He goes on to explain that each volume discusses a different aspect of linguistics. He also mentions that volume XII, which was included in the editorial design and has yet to be published, will deal with linguistics in relation not only to the arts and social sciences, but also to other sciences.
CIARA HOWELL Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Seddon, David. The Origins and Development of Agriculture in East and Southern Africa.Current Anthropology. December, 1968. Vol. 9(5): 489-504.
David Seddon explains that there are three different types of evidence used by a prehistorian. These kinds of evidence are used to try to find the origin of agriculture as well. The first of these is direct archaeological evidence, which are the remains of domesticated plants (pollen, seeds, etc.). The second is indirect evidence, or all other material discovered in an archaeological context that by nature suggests agriculture. The third is evidence provided by botanical, ethnographic, and linguistic studies. Seddon points out that while indirect evidence, such as tools or pottery, is the least reliable, it is the one that most studies have to be based on.
Seddon discusses the Pleistocene as a background to agricultural studies. Seddon says that in this era there was probably a concentration of peoples around areas with permanent water sources. He also says that temperatures increased and rainfall decreased at this time shrinking these water sources. Pleistocene peoples of this area were sedentary or near sedentary which made it necessary for them to have patterns of food procurement. This sedentary lifestyle would have made vegetable foods, such as tubers, more important. This suggests a need for cultivation. Specialized tools found in this area also suggest agricultural development. Tools like digging sticks suggest harvesting of vegetables like tubers. Planting agriculture seems to have preceded seed agriculture and was probably used by these people to cultivate food plants.
Seddon discusses many areas and the evidences of agriculture in these places. The first area discussed is Egypt and the Sudan. In this area there is direct evidence of wheat, barley, and flax. Other sites in this area show the spread of farming concepts. Iron was also found in the Egyptian and Sudan areas. Seddon also discusses Ethiopa and the Somali Republic. These peoples were “hoe cultivators” and grew ensete. They used digging stick and hoe-like objects to plant and harvest their crops. In Uganda there were pottery findings that may suggest agriculture. In Kenya there is evidence of seed collecting and possibly domestication. Seddon also discusses Zambia, Malawi, Rhodesia, South and Southwest Africa, but there is less evidence of agriculture in these regions.
I had a lot of trouble with the language and terminology used in this article. There were also abstract ideas and topics that I did not have a good enough background in to understand.
There were many anthropological comments to these articles. In general most people thought that this topic was a good one, and that having three different authors gave unique perspectives. Many of the comments were that there is too much indirect evidence used by these authors and not enough ethnographic and botanical evidence. One anthropologist commented that these articles created confusion about the topic. These articles show that our knowledge of the topic is still “sketchy”. Others commented on information and evidence that was missing, such as the Punt problem of Egypt that may suggest trade with an agricultural society. One author says that these articles confused agriculture with horticulture. For the most part these articles received good reviews, people were interested in the topic, but dissatisfied with the lack of real evidence.
NICOLE PLASKON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Tugby, Donald J. Ethnological and Allied Work on Southeast Asia, 1950-1966. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol.9(2-3):185-198
Tugby’s article is primarily a report on a survey he designed to gather information on fieldwork in Southeast Asia, including field problems, situational circumstances, what types of scientists were actually doing the work, and the theoretical styles under which they were working. His goal was to bring to focus the areas of Southeast Asia that were being neglected by fieldworkers and to highlight problems encountered by foreign scientists who did work there so that future anthropologists could plan their research accordingly.
Tugby begins with background information on how he conducted the survey, who the participants were, and what geographical locations they were representing. After receiving preliminary results, Tugby then made an effort to interview those that returned his survey in order to complete his research.
His analysis of the results showed that the majority of fieldwork done in Southeast Asia was primarily in the field of ethnography, with American fieldworkers being the main contributors. Tugby states there were practical reasons for this such as economic factors, location, and political conditions. In distribution of fieldwork, the United States sent most of their scientists to study in the Philippines, which Tugby says is regarded as an American preserve, leaving the minority of their work done in Indonesia.
Tugby supports his findings by including a number of tables that outline his survey and interview results, providing statistical data as a way of stressing the areas of Asia where little or no fieldwork was being done at all. They also illuminate problems workers were having in the field, as well as what type of communication was taking place by the different regional anthropologists, if any.
Tugby concludes that better planning is needed if more fieldwork is to be done in Southeast Asia including, better field testing for equipment, a more focused definition of the research subject, and better use of financial means. He predicts that research styles will become more influential in determining fieldwork locations within Southeast Asia, with ethnography continuing to dominate that spectrum. He also states that a good way to promote longer field stays in Asia would be to institute more international research centers, with a emphasis on coordination and communications between workers and those of other countries. If changes likes these are made, Tugby believes Southeast Asia will continue to grow as a unique and interesting location for fieldwork.
TARA BYERS Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Tugby, Donald J. A Report on A World Survey of Field Practices and Problems: Ethnological and Allied Work on Southeast Asia, 1950-1966. Current Anthropology April-June 1968 Vol. 9(2/3): 185-206.
Donald Tugby summarizes the findings from a survey on ethnological work done in Southeast Asia during the years 1950-1966. He attempts to shed light on current and past fieldwork in order to pave the way for future fieldwork. The article first looks at who responded to the survey, their origins, their topics of study, their area of fieldwork, and their approaches. An examination of how field workers used their time and how they collected data follows. The methods used to collect data influences the type of data collected. While most field workers used aids, translators, and natives to help gather data, relatively few used tape recorders or video cameras. The reader unfamiliar with ethnological fieldwork might find it surprising that field workers also use psychological tests and museums as resources.
The article continues to outline various problems that field workers encounter: obtaining permission to do research, sickness, travel difficulties, money issues, lack of expedient communication with a base, and the relationship between a lack of supplies and prolonged absences from the group of study. Some of these problems remain linked to the actual area of fieldwork, but others relate to how closely the field worker coordinates with others. Tugby briefly describes the main areas or origins of field workers who completed the questionnaire. He then goes on to compare how the workers from these areas coordinate their work with others and who (if anyone) they bring with them.
Tugby concludes his article with two main findings of the survey: the need for more careful planning and the influence of research styles on types of studies done in Southeast Asia. This leads him to criticize anthropologists working in Southeast Asia for their “short field trips” and attention to “limited topics” (198). The article concludes with a few pages of publications arising from fieldwork between the years of 1950-66, arranged by area of study.
This article reads easily, even for those who have no anthropological background. It provides a brief, yet informative overview of the survey of anthropologists working in Southeast Asia and includes charts and tables that remain just as easy to understand as the general text. In fact, one could study the charts and tables without reading the text and understand Tugby’s article. It remains highly statistical, but the study’s statistics revolve around individual anthropologists’ statements. One problem with this article involves Tugby’s biases. At one point he claims that “United States workers are probably more efficient than European workers” (190), which some might construe as a bias on the part of the author. At another point, Tugby presents a research opportunity in “a few field situations in Southeast Asia of classic simplicity – a small group of so-called untouched people who indigenous culture is intact” (195). The latter statement illustrates the article’s outdated nature, for most contemporary anthropologists would agree that no culture or group remains “untouched.”
CLARITY RATING: 5
MELISSA RABINEAU Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Tugby, Elise. The Distribution of Ethnological and Allied Fieldwork in Southeast Asia, 1950-66. Current Anthropology. April-June, 1968. Vol.9(2-3): 207-214.
The main focus of Tugby’s article is to describe the fieldwork localities in the region of Southeast Asia during the period of 1950-1966, and to discuss the reasons for ethnographers’ choices. She compares the post-World War II work to the pre-World War II work done in the area. Pre-World War II, the focus of the ethnographers oftentimes reflected the interests of the governments involved, while post-World War II work changed to reflect the interests of the ethnographers engaging in fieldwork.
Tugby suggests that given the choice, ethnographers prefer to study marginalized people who have moved to the interior parts of the countries in which they live or into the more mountainous ranges. She says that the choice of fieldwork location may be based on two important factors: 1) whether the ethnographer has had previous contact with people he/she wishes to study and 2) because the location is the only option given to the ethnographer. Her conclusions in the article are based on the discussions she had with ethnographers in the region.
This discussion is followed by a brief section regarding linguistic and archaeological work that has been done with regard to the selection of field sites. She writes that the majority of the linguistic work in the region had been done in conjunction with missionary work, although some linguists had chosen not to travel into the more remote locations, but instead dealt with the speakers living in more urban areas. Since World War II, the majority of the archaeological work has focused on conservation projects with the majority of locations being selected due to random and accidental discoveries.
In the end, Tugby concludes that it is because ethnographers want to study people and places that they deem to be exotic and untouched that the locations in the region were selected, leaving those deemed less exotic or too dangerous unstudied. In addition to the desire to study something new, the general accessibility to a site has also influenced the work done in the area, as has the safety of the region. This is followed by a list of the field work sites and the duration of the work done.
The article is well written, if brief. On the whole, I felt that the author had very little to say and very little evidence outside of personal opinions upon which to base her work. There is a brief description of some of the work that has been done in the region. Her evidence for her notion as to why ethnographers chose the locations they chose is valid, but could really benefit from better support. The main point of the article is clearly presented and the article seems well written, despite the lack of support offered by Tugby for her claims.
ERICA BEGUN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Tugsby, Elise. The Distribution of Ethnology and Allied Fieldwork in Southeast Asia 1950-66. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol. 9(2-3): 207-209.
This article deals with the locations chosen for ethnographical fieldwork in Southeast Asia and how World War II has affected the choices of study made by ethnographers. She begins by discussing the locations of choice prior to World War II. Prior to World War II, Burma was controlled by the English and much work was done with the Kachin and the Chin people, who reside mainly in the inland areas of the country. After World War II, most work done in Burma was centered near Rangoon and Mandalay, the main urban centers for the country. Research in Thailand focused almost solely on the culture of the Thai people prior to World War II. After the war, people began studying the practice of Buddhism and the hill tribes in the country. In Malaysia, prior to World War II, the material culture of the Maylays and “pagan” cultures was studied, with more emphasis on the pagans. After the war, interest shifted to the Maylay people. Indonesian studies began to take off after World War II with the studies of the Batales and the Kalimantan people.
Tugsby attributes the changes in choice of field locations to World War II. Basically, the war caused a major political shift in Southeast As ia. When the war ended, most of the countries in the area were no longer colonial provinces and had begun to govern themselves. This had a large impact on the availability. She attributes the change from exotic locations prior to World War II and more mundane ones following the war to interaction with non tribal people (explaining why Burmese work is now centered near Mandalay and Rangoon). Also, most fieldworkers did not have much choice in where their research would be conducted, and they went to whatever location was available. The rest of the article lists all the current and past work being done in Southeast Asia, and she also lists potential site locations for cultural and archaeological work in the area for the future.
There was no commentary following this article.
MATT CHARLES Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Valoch, Karel. Evolution of the Palaeolithic in Central and Eastern Europe. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol. 9(5):351-368.
Valoch begins this evolutionary journey with a discussion of the Early Palaeolithic which begins with the introduction of human tools. The earliest evidence of this human activity is found in broken animal bones and some stone scrapers in Europe. However, it is difficult to determine whether these were man-made or just part of nature. These tools progress from crude choppers found in Hungary and Bohemia to hand-axes found in Germany. This period can be associated with Achuelean and Levallois techniques. Glacial periods caused technological changes that led to the Middle Palaeolithic. Bifacial groups are prevalent in this time period. Valoch introduces a new group, found in Central Europe, called the Middle Palaeolithic, (Mousterian) with leaf-points. These leaf-points are found with hand-axes even though it is very hard to distinguish the two types.
The appearance of the Upper Palaeolithic is characterized by cultural materials such as art and plans for habitation. Also, stone artifacts are accompanied by bone artifacts. The only true technology that links the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic is the leaf-points. The rest of the artifacts are of new industries such as high-end scrapers, retouching, and massive bores. In this stage, Aurignacian and Olschewian classes appear. These groups influence each other, leading to the formation of other tool groups.
Only in recent years has the Late Palaeolithic been discussed. This period is distinguished by the appearance of short flake end-scrapers. This phase in evolution is important because it provides links between the Upper Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic, also known as the Final Palaeolithic. Core and ring axes make an appearance. Valoch completed an intensive study to show this progression through different typologies of tools that relates with the division of geological time.
There were several comments to this intriguing article. All of them spoke very highly of Valoch’s research and clarity. The scholars agreed that this was a very valuable paper that will help many people better understand the development of the Palaeolithic in Central and Eastern Europe. In his reply, Valoch is very grateful to all the positive feedback. He also clarifies some different terminology used throughout the paper.
MEGAN NELSON Southwest Missouri State University (Bill Wedenoja)
Valoch, Karel. Evolution of the Palaeolithic in Central and Eastern Euro pe. Current Anthropology December, 1968 Vol.9(5):351-390.
Valoch stated “hypotheses on processes of cultural evolution in the Old Stone Age always reflect the known facts concerning the temporal divisions of the Palaeolithic and the content of its cultural stages.”(p.351) He noted that the geological stratigraphy of the Pleistocene is a valuable piece of information in understanding all of its occupation phases, correlating them with the Early, Middle, Upper, Late, and Final Palaeolithic Eras in Europe. Valoch went through each stage of the Palaeolithic to show what tools evolved in the culture during each time period. The article emphasized the evidence of cultural evolution from the tools found.
Volach discussed different tools that have been found in different parts of Europe and within each period. The earliest tools made in the Palaeolithic were made from the broken bones of animals and some showed evidence of fire. Pebble tools and stone tools were used for different chopping tools such as hand axes and blade-like flakes. The Early Palaeolithic in Europe was not sufficiently studied, but with what has been found, this group was considered to be the pebble-tool group.
Valoch presented tools from other stages of the Palaeolithic to show the evolution of technology. In the Middle, Upper, Late, and Final Paleolithic the tools were more complex. Different industries known today have been created from the base of the differentiation in tool technology found in the Palaeolithic. The spread of this technology brought about an increase in the use of hand-axes, flakes, and pebble-tools in Europe. With the progression in tool technology, he showed that the development of culture in the Old Stone Age was continuous.
When other authors commented on Valoch’s article, most found this article to be useful. They thought his description of each stage of the Palaeolithic was well summarized and useful for current anthropologists. Valoch was encouraged by all of the positive comments. He addressed different comments and small criticisms from the commentators about exact dates and definitions of different terms.
The article was fairly clear with its presentation of ideas. Valoch went through each stage of the Palaeolithic and labeled each stage, making it well organized.
CASEY PETERSON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Van der Merwe, Nicholas J. and Minze Stuiver. I. Dating Iron by the Carbon-14 Method and II. Radiocarbon Chronology of the Iron Age in Sub-Saharan Africa. Current Anthropology February, 1968 Vol. 9 (1): 48-62.
I. Van der Merwe and Stuiver begin with a history of iron alloys. Smelting had been done with charcoal (and occasionally wood) until about 1709, which means that carbon was always involved. The Hittites used bloom furnaces to make wrought iron and steel (which is called the direct method), and the Chinese (and later Europe) used a blast furnace to make molten cast iron, wrought iron, and steel (which is called the indirect method). At the time this article was written, the main smelting fuel was coked coal, which began to be used in 1709 and for which no C-14 activity can be detected. During the period in which this method was becoming more popular, both charcoal iron (which can be C-14 dated) and coke iron (which cannot) were used and often mixed together.
Dating iron is similar to dating organic material: it is decontaminated and extracted and its age is interpreted in context. The authors give examples and go through the steps taken to do each of these things to samples of iron. They also show what kinds of contaminations could occur and how they were successfully avoided in their experiments to acquire accurate dates. The variables that they say need to be considered in determining if an iron sample can be dated are size (preferably 5-10 grams of carbon) and type (cast iron is the easiest, then steel, then wrought iron).
II. The Sub-Saharan African Iron Age was difficult to piece together, since the authors had trouble getting a uniform sequence of pottery across the entire region. However, they did have a basic idea based on carbon dating of foreign imports. They admit that focusing on such a small fraction of cultural items is an oversimplification in determining this area’s Iron Age, but they had at that time nothing else to go by; much of it had not yet been explored or interpreted.
They determined that iron was being used in Egypt by 1200 BCE. By 1000 BCE, it was being used in Ghana, and the Phoenicians had carried its use to Northwest Africa. Many believed that the Napatan-Meroitic civilization of Nubia was the main iron center, but according to iron dating it was determined that they did not have this industry until after others had acquired it. It most likely spread later from Northwest Africa to West Africa. The Nok of Nigeria then most likely took the technology with them to South Africa. Van der Merwe and Stuiver also provide an extensive table of archaeological sites in Africa and their iron dates.
SHANNON WESTERN Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)
Van der Merwe, Nikolaas J. and Minze Stuiver. Dating Iron by the Carbon-14 Method. Current Anthropology February, 1968 48-53
Nikolaas J. van der Merwe and Minze Stuiver take an in-depth look at the use of the carbon-14 dating method in various forms of iron. They distinguish between the various levels of iron according to carbon level (wrought iron has the least, steel has more, and cast iron has the highest amount). In the first of two articles, they highlight the history of iron alloys and smelting fuels, as well as explain how carbon dating can be applied to iron. Next, they explain experimentation as well as potential problems they could run across. Finally, van der Merwe and Stuiver present the results and an analysis. The second article applies the carbon dating of iron to Sub-Saharan Africa in an attempt to create a better chronology of cultural flow. This new application of the carbon dating technology is particularly valuable in this situation because it can help anthropologists distinguish between decorative motifs that weren’t age-specific in design.
Van der Merwe and Stuiver argue that carbon-14 dating is a valuable and accurate resource in determining the age of older iron materials. They warn that there is a risk of modern organic materials skewing the data, however, that can be overcome with thorough cleaning. Also, this has less of an effect than does carbon dating on fossils or organic materials. Following instruction of how to clean the iron specimen along with the assertion of this technology’s accuracy, Stuiver and van der Merwe argue that although incomplete at the time of this article, through carbon dating, a much more accurate picture of the Sub-Saharan iron age could be achieved.
Stuiver and van der Merwe backed up their claims of accuracy by testing nine different iron samples out of 35, which had enough carbon to be deemed testable. They compared the known age of these specimens with the results from carbon dating. Eight of the nine were nearly perfect matches, while the ninth seemed to disprove the previous “known age”. Equipped with the knowledge of a new, more accurate technology, they set out to confirm or disprove previous ideas of movement in Africa. By implementing this procedure in various African countries, they were able to conclude that the Iron Age started in the north and moved to West Africa. Next, it migrated with the Bantu-speaking to East and South Africa. This was determined by testing specimens from around Africa and coming up with older iron products in the north, and more recent iron products in the south.
The first article is very dense and does not really have a definitive direction. Its function is mainly to set up the following article. It provides support for the methodology implemented in the second article. Although its purpose is brought to light after reading the following article, it is still tedious, bogged down with iron specimen after iron specimen. The second article is more straightforward and concise.
JUSTIN POOL Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Wahrhaftig, Albert L. The Tribal Cherokee Population of Eastern Oklahoma. Current Anthropology April-June, 1968 Vol.9 (2-3):510-518.
In this article, Wahrhaftig’s main purpose is to build on and refine previous studies of Native Americans. He claims that past studies of Cherokees included individuals who were “white Americans of Cherokee ancestry” and did not participate in tribal functions. Wahrhaftig begins his article with a clear definitition of “Cherokee”, meaning those Cherokee who participate in tribal social functions. He goes on to claim that many studies have based their information on populations that were “socially white” rather than true-blooded Indian. The main goal of this article is to present hard facts regarding Cherokee populations statistics and their growth of lack thereof.
Wahrhaftig includes a map of northeast Oklahoma that identifies Cherokee settlements. He also uses eight data tables which outline US Census information as well as population changes, settlements types, Cherokee to white American ratios, and comparable age distributions. Wahrhaftig begins with a summary of the Cherokee population in 1963 and estimates the functional population before discussing Cherokee demographics and dynamics. He predicts that not only Cherokee Indians, but also other American Indian populations, will continue to grow rapidly in the future due to the population growth rate that he presents.
In his conclusion, Wahrhaftig states that Cherokee populations are growing in comparison to white settlements and that, with new medical technology which might lower the Cherokee’s high mortality rate, they will continue to see and increase in this Indian population.
TARA BYERS Southwest Missouri State University (William Wedenoja)