Radiocarbon dates, δ13C measurements and observations on the sex and dentition of a series of prehistoric human skeletons from the south-western Cape coast reveal changes in the utilisation of marine foods during the Holocene. During life these people were heavily reliant on marine foods. People whose skeletons post-date 2000 BP ate more mixed diets with a larger proportion of terrestrial foods. This pattern mirrors that seen in food waste from sites excavated at or near Elands Bay. Tooth wear and the occurrence of dental caries vary according to sex, and to the degree of reliance on marine foods. -from Authors
Despite abundant data on preconquest sites and population in the Valley of Mexico, recent surveys yielded little information on post‐conquest settlement, sites being classified as either Aztec or modern on the basis of pottery. Through an integrated research project involving surface survey, documentary data (including especially dated site occupation), and studies of recent and modern pottery in the area, sites have now been identified for the whole period 1400–1969. Detailed seriation to establish phases is not yet completed, and absolute population estimates will depend on this. But three main periods can be identified already, and relative population shifts recognized. Contrary to general assumption hitherto, Aztec pottery styles can now be seen to continue well into the seventeenth century: thus the first period, 1400–1650, appears to be one of gradual rather than dramatic population decline. Between 1650 and 1800 ‘modern’ ceramics appear and become increasingly common. During this time, population reached its lowest point, and began to rise again. From 1800 to the present, population has continued to rise, with minor fluctuations.
In comparison with dryland settlements, peri‐alpine lake‐dwellings of the Neolithic represent an ideal case for the study of population growth and its consequences, owing to the better preservation of organic remains, architectural woods and artefacts. Research has been based on dendrochrono‐logical sequences divided into series of ten to twenty years and on the statistical study of hundreds of thousands of archaeological remains, preserved below the level of the water‐table.For the two lake basins of Chalain and Clairvaux at the end of the fourth millennium BC, direct correlations are proposed between a period of population growth and successive technical and economical adaptations rapidly adopted by agricultural communities trying to temporarily resolve the problems resulting from demographic growth, due in large part to the coming of immigrant populations.
Hunter‐gatherer adaptations can be given new interpretation within a biogeographical framework. Emphasizing theories dealing with the mechanics of adaptation to environments varying in their stability and predictability, the author discusses a stability‐time hypothesis. Stable environments are conducive to biological adaptation and hence large numbers of species, because concentration upon specific resources limits the amount of time and energy expended through interspecific competition. In variable and less predictable environments, specialization is not a wise adaptive strategy, because the underlying base permitting finely‐tuned niches is missing. When resources are subject to rapid, unexpected changes, ecosystems are likely to be resilient rather than stable, i.e. species types do persist but population numbers and distributions alter dramatically over time. It is reasonable to assume that conditions such as resource abundance, variability and especially predictability influence human behavior adaptations and social organization, as well as the ways in which societies change over time. Survey of desert cultural traditions reveals a close fit between biogeographical prediction and ethnographic and archaeological observation.
Recent archaeological excavations of a large rocksheiter at Buur Heybe, southern Somalia, resulted in the discovery of fourteen human burials of early Holocene age. The Gogoshiis Qabe burials represent: 1) the first primary context prehistoric skeletal remains from Somalia; 2) the earliest chronometrically dated burials from the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti); and 3) the earliest definitive evidence in eastern Africa for grave goods (lesser kudu horns). The mortuary data are examined in light of an ecological model of hunter/gatherer socio/territorial organization which predicts that when critical human resources are spatio/temporally unpredictable and scarce, hunter/gatherers are unlikely to bury their dead in formal burial areas or build grave monuments. Conversely, when resources are abundant and predictable across time and space, conditions will arise that favour the construction of grave monuments and/or formal burial areas, possibly as a means of ritualizing corporate lineal descent.
Drawing on the work of Judith Butler, I analyse practices through which lifecycle transitions were marked on the bodies of sixteenth-century Aztec children. Because the production of disciplined adults was socially so significant, it was also profoundly conservative. I examine implications of this ethnohistoric study for earlier societies that formed part of a Mesoamerican longue duree. The interpretation of archaeologically excavated material is transformed when related to the life course. Examples discussed include new perspectives on Formative period (c. 1500-400 BC) costume ornaments, conventions of figural representation, and feasting in domestic quarters.
In the early days of radiocarbon dating bone samples were found to provide often specious dates when the calcium carbonate content of bone was utilized, since it is subject to exchange reactions with ground water carbonate. With the development of collagen‐based radiocarbon dating, a number of avenues of research opened up, one of which led to the dating of a number of fossil human remains found in Southern California. Dates for Laguna woman (17,150) years and Los Angeles Man (23,000) point to a much earlier presence of early man in America than had been thought. Moreover, independent amino acid racemization dates support these data.
Evidence for Palaeolithic diet is critically reviewed, especially that from African sites. Methods of evaluating it, and some of the resulting socio‐economic conclusions, are examined. Hominids, although their ancestral stock was largely vegetarian, have evolved so as to include more protein in their diet; its importance has varied, apparently increasing by latitudinal gradations from equator to pole. Flexible joint dependence on animal and plant foods, establishment of home bases, food sharing, and differentiation of the subsistence activities of the sexes, together constitute an integrated behavioural complex already partly established some two million years ago. Large animals are certainly represented in Lower Pleistocene food refuse; they become commoner in the Middle Pleistocene, when evidence for effective co‐operative large‐scale hunting also first occurs. Other Middle and Late Pleistocene developments, some dependent on the increased geographic range of hominid settlement, are briefly reviewed. In Africa, hominid subsistence was probably broadly based throughout the Pleistocene.
This paper discusses prehistoric man‐environment relationships in the Southern Cape, defined as Africa south of 32°S. lat. Although the area was occupied in the early Pleistocene and perhaps earlier, archaeological evidence only becomes substantial in mid‐Pleistocene contexts. Local mid‐Pleistocene peoples (Acheulean) seem to have been widespread, but reconstruction of their environment and subsistence remains a goal of future research. Detailed archeological knowledge is so far restricted to the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene, but even here major questions go unanswered. Chief among these is the nature of the replacement of the Middle Stone Age (MSA), some 30–40,000 years ago. In all known Southern Cape sites, the MSA is followed by a gap in occupation, varying from 15,000 to 25,000 years. This gap alone suggests that the immediate successors to MSA peoples may have been characterized by significantly different settlements and subsistence patterns from those of their predecessors. Additionally, the fact that MSA peoples in a coastal habitat utilized marine resources less intensively, and probably less effectively, than later Albany and Wilton (terminal Pleistocene and Holocene) peoples raises the possibility that replacement of the MSA was accompanied by a major advance in modes of resource exploitation. This and other problems are the focus of on‐going research.
The agricultural transition has long been recognized to have been a very important period in human prehistory. Its timing and consequences, including the effects on human health, have been intensively researched. In recent decades, this has included the idea that there is a universal positive correlation between the adoption of agriculture based on a carbohydrate staple crop and dental caries prevalence. This is mainly based on evidence from America, where maize was the staple crop. On the basis of evidence from prehistoric skeletal samples from a series of prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia, this correlation does not appear to apply in areas of the world where the staple crop is rice. Although we have looked only at dental caries, we suggest that caution be applied in the drawing of inferences about subsistence changes from dental health. Patterns reflecting the adoption of one starchy staple are not necessarily applicable to all such crops.
South America was occupied by or before 14,000 B.P. Five different lithic traditions can be assigned to the late Pleistocene on the basis of radiocarbon dates and stratigraphy, and two others date to the very end of the Pleistocene or the earliest Holocene. The four earliest traditions, predating 11,000 B.P., may have been brought in by different groups of migrants from North America and, ultimately, Asia. The later traditions either show clear North American affinities or else appear as local developments in South America, but probably do not hark back to Asian antecedents.
The development of amino acid racemization as a dating technique holds considerable promise for resolving questions of human evolution and culture histories. The advantages of this method are: fossil bone can be directly dated; only gram quantities are needed for analysis; and the range extends beyond that of radiocarbon. Amino acid racemization rates are dependent upon both time and temperature. In order to eliminate the need for evaluating the temperature history of a bone before it can be dated by racemization, a procedure has been developed wherein the in situ racemization rate is determined from the extent of racemization in a radiocarbon‐dated bone. Once this ‘calibration’ has been completed for a particular site, other bones from the area can be dated. Racemization ages deduced using this procedure are shown to be in close agreement with radiocarbon dates. The effects which other physical factors (pH, humidity, leaching) have on racemization rates are discussed. Because of the close correlation between temperatures calculated from in situ racemization rates (under diverse environmental conditions) and actual mean annual temperatures at various sites throughout the world, we conclude that factors other than temperature have very small effects on the reaction rate. The use of amino acid racemization in dating fossil man is illustrated by the racemization analyses of several North American paleo‐indian skeletons, the results of which provide additional evidence that man was present in North America more than 40,000 years ago.
This article is intended as a warning against giving biogeographical models more respect than they deserve. Few academics are primarily concerned with biotic distributions. Many taxonomists and ecologists have geographical interests, but they must cope with hundreds of thousands of species. Most biogeographers are too absorbed in field exploration to have much time for general theory. The separate scholarly traditions of museum and mathematical biogeography each have sets of concepts having little connection with concepts used in field biogeography. Moreover, some schools of thought are in the primitive state of confusing a priori assumptions with tested theory and of accepting deductive explanations without investigating the processes involved. An increasing emphasis on ecology, however, is enabling field biogeographers, like modern archaeologists, to elucidate evolutionary and migrational processes by working on middle‐scale studies of areas and time spans that contain enough biotic and habitat diversity to be challenging without being overwhelming. On the other hand, attempts to reach grand syntheses by ignoring species differences are bound to be time‐wasting detours, not shortcuts to understanding.
We review some of our recent work on the analysis of DNA extracted from skeletal remains up to four thousand years old, which is made possible by the exquisite sensitivity of the polymerase chain reaction. To do this, we consider in some detail our approach to a particular archaeological problem, the question of the scale and nature of the settlements which took place in post‐Roman Britain. This involves the analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region surviving in bone material from early Anglo‐Saxon cemeteries, and from likely modern descendents of the British and Germanic populations. We discuss the potential value and limitations of such an approach, and in so doing give some indication of the present state of the art.
The paper explores the problems of isolating criteria for use in identifying ancient remains of plant foods, and the possibility of using chemical residues in this role. It first discusses factors affecting the choice of such chemical criteria, and the taxonomic framework within which all chemical, morphological and histological criteria have to be assessed and applied. It then outlines three examples of the way in which criteria of all three types have been used by our research group in identifying archaeologically critical remains of foods plants from Late Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Neolithic sites in the Near East.
This paper describes how the study of animal bones from archaeological sites ('osteo‐archaeology') may contribute to our reconstruction of cultural and economic history. Methods of identification, quantification and sex and age determination are critically reviewed. The basic problem of relating bone debris at archaeological sites to a prehistoric animal population is discussed.
In the course of a general review of archaeological animal bone studies, this paper draws particular attention to the importance of data quality, and the assessment of the integrity and information potential of bone samples, and the integration of such studies with the rest of archaeology and with palaeobiology. Taxonomic identification and bone diagenesis remain two key problem areas, the second of which is slowly yielding to detailed research. The integration of animal bone studies with the rest of archaeology is discussed, with particular reference to the linking of research questions with particular interpretative models. Animal bone studies are seen as a fundamental part of archaeology, with a contribution to make to palaeobiology, rather than the converse.
Recent work has focused attention upon the population density of hunter‐gatherers and the point at which these populations stabilize. Many of these hypotheses have been incorporated into further hypotheses concerning subsistence and the development of agriculture. Two models are presented to predict maximum expected population densities of hunter‐gatherer groups in given geographic areas and provide a basis of comparison for observed or hypothesized population densities.
The archaeobotanical investigation of past subsistence is far more advanced in temperate and sub‐tropical regions of the world than in the humid tropics. Past subsistence strategies in the Pacific are little understood. In this paper the increasing amount of archaeobotanical evidence from the region is described. Two problematical areas of Pacific subsistence are examined: Lapita subsistence and the introduction of the sweet potato into the Pacific. The role of archaeobotany in the investigation of subsistence strategies in the humid tropics is discussed.
Infants and children are nearly universally found to be among the most vulnerable subgroups of a population. Their health can be a sensitive indicator of the health of the population as a whole. Furthermore, repeated bouts of illness during infancy and childhood, periods of rapid development, can have lasting functional effects on the individual and the group. In this paper we provide a framework for studying infant and childhood health in archaeological populations, briefly review methods for studying infant‐childhood health in skeletal remains, and provide examples of the sensitivity and adaptive significance of this segment of the population by examining infant and childhood health at Dickson Mounds, Illinois and Wadi Haifa, Sudanese Nubia. A variety of methods are available for studying infant and childhood health in archaeological groups. Taken together, these methods can provide insights into the patterns and consequences of health in prehistory.
Human local populations differ in the extent to which social relationships are diffused over large areas or are condensed into semi‐discrete clusters. This dimension of structuring is reflected in the amounts of local genetic variability, of dialect variability, and in stylistic variability of archaeological remains over the area. Because of the nature of the resources exploited, hunter‐gatherers have a very diffuse patterning of social relationships, resulting in little genetic differentiation (low inbreeding) and stylistic uniformity in artefacts over large areas.
Egyptian data speak to modern interpreters in many ways; through the rich iconographic repertoire, the materiality of houses and tombs and through the vast corpus of writings left to us. At the New Kingdom village of Deir el Medina (c.1500-1100 BC) each of these data sets is available and can be used dialectically to gain a more intimate knowledge of lifecycles and individual life experience. Using excerpts from the documents and personal letters of the community I present the villagers' own narratives of life experience: pregnancy, birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death. These potent vignettes of life potentially have material correlates in the archaeology of the village - the individual houses and tombs which have remained in a remarkable state of preservation. For instance, the Eastern Necropolis at Deir el Medina is layered in terms of the lifecycle: neonates were buried at the base of the slope, followed by children and adolescents mid-slope and adults were buried at the high point of the hill. Using an explicitly narrative style, I aim to show the conjoinings and ruptures between various levels of evidence and, at the same time, allow for a more sensuous and embodied understanding of cycles of life in Egyptian culture.
Excavations in the last two decades in York, combined with developments in the techniques of environmental archaeology, have enabled studies to be made of the city's layout, housing provision, food and water supply, effluent disposal and environmental conditions over a span of 2.000 years. Excavation of several thousand burials allows an assessment to be made of these and other environmental effects on longevity, robustness, stature, the incidence of disease, stress and trauma. Relatively good provisions and an evident concern for public health matters in the Roman legionary fortress and nearby colonia do not seem to have resulted in exceptional longevity though general health levels seem to have been fair. Quite different environmental conditions appertained in Anglian York, some better (no rats) and some worse. By the Viking Age conditions in York reached an all‐time low. the city being a largely organic world sited on a heap of rotting organic debris. Conditions, housing, water supply, rubbish and effluent disposal ‐and their implications for the physical state and life expectancy of some 2.000 individuals recently excavated from cemeteries ‐ all improve as the Middle Ages proceed.
Medium‐sized biomolecules, particularly lipids, can frequently be detected in ancient materials. The structures and compositions of mixtures of lipids can provide direct evidence for their origin, and hence, evidence for human activity in the past. An important concept in the field of biomolecular archaeology of lipids is that of ‘biomarkers’. Archaeological biomarkers are characteristic compounds (or mixtures of compounds) found in archaeological materials that can be matched to those present in contemporary materials likely to have been exploited in antiquity. Some of the general principles surrounding the use of lipid biomarkers, including their properties, origins, means of detection, characterization, modes of preservation and decay, and application to archaeological investigation, are discussed in this article. Examples are presented to illustrate the scope of the biomolecular archaeology of lipids and some remarks are made concerning possible areas of future development.
The study of ancient biomolecules in preserved wheat remains could provide information on both the initial development of agriculture and its subsequent trajectories and spread in relation to changing human society. We have detected ancient DNA in extracts prepared from charred, waterlogged and mineralized wheat seeds, and have used the polymerase chain reaction to study specific genetic regions of the ancient DNA preserved in Triticum spelta from Danebury, UK and T. dicoccum from Assiros, Greece. We discuss future developments in the biomolecular archaeology of wheat, including the possibility of a genetic test that may enable tetraploid and hexaploid wheat remains to be distinguished by ancient DNA analysis.
It has often been observed that archaeologists are adept at borrowing theory but not very good about building it. Analyses of the uptake by archaeologists of perspectives from a diversity of sources indicate that such borrowings rarely (if ever) lead to the building of archaeological theory. The return of explicit discussion of evolutionary theory within archaeology affords us the chance to explore whether the traditional pattern of borrowing is being repeated once again, and, if it is, to suggest some strategies which might help us to do better. The core of the paper comprises two case studies to support an argument that evolutionary archaeologists need to integrate the development of evaluation strategies into the process of theory building. These studies focus our attention on the need to reconcile interpretation and inference with the temporality of archaeological records, and provide good examples of how a serious consideration of problems that are revealed by this reconciliation can be a positive force in theory building.
This editorial‐cum‐paper reviews some of the main areas of interest in which biomolecular archaeology has either made a significant contribution, or promises to do so in the near future. Six major research areas are considered: hominid evolution, including the origins of anatomically‐modern humans; human migrations, dispersals and past population biology, including disease; reconstructing human diets, food webs and subsistence systems; the analysis of artefact use; site‐based interpretations; and the reconstruction of past human environments.
The problems of modern human origins have received much attention recently: data from molecular genetics, physical anthropology and archaeology have been linked by some authors to formulate a coherent argument for ‘Out of Africa’. This paper makes a critical evaluation of the archaeological record, raising issues concerning the nature of the evidence, and emphasizing the need to consider how the different datasets are related. In relation to East Asian evidence it suggests that chronology can ultimately be used for ‘scheduling’ the events associated with the origins of a ‘modern’ behavioural complex which seems to involve new classificatory systems and changes in social organization.
Neanderthal lives were not easy, and, given the levels of physical exertion they seem to have experienced habitually, bringing them often into contact with physical trauma, it would not be surprising if such phenomena played a major role in the way in which Neanderthals perceived the world. This is the underlying theme of this paper, which is organized into two parts. After presenting data on Neanderthal ontogeny and lifecycles, an attempt is made to integrate these broadly with the archaeological record and intepret both in terms of the constitution of society by Neanderthal individuals. In this sense it is in the main a purely interpretative work, representing the author's reading of the biometric and archaeological data. Given that linguistic and/or external means of information storage and communication were probably poor or absent in Neanderthal society, it is suggested that the phases of the Neanderthal lifecycle and events of physical trauma experienced ubiquitously within it played the major role in the negotiation of individual identities within Neanderthal bands, and ultimately were a major factor in the constitution of Neanderthal society.
With the rapid increase of city populations, the traditional forms of body disposal within European towns became a threat to public health during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Once initial conservatism and vested interests were overcome, a new form of mortuary behaviour developed. This involved large cemeteries with private plots and their attendant memorials, following on models already applied in the colonies. These changes certainly led to a reduction in the risks to public health, but shifts in the attitudes to death also hastened the abandonment of crowded city centre graveyards. The cemeteries offered much more scope for exhibition of material success and remembrance of the dead.
The analysis of use‐residues on tools using methods drawn from microscopy, biochemistry, radiocarbon dating and molecular biology results in information which can be at least as informative as excavation‐based reconstructions of past cultures. The analysis of a collection of tools from a now destroyed site in north‐western Canada yields species identification of the residues, the age and task association of the tools, and necessitates a change to the reconstruction of the subsistence and economy of the late prehistoric period in the region.
The skeleton Q1 from the long mound structure at Maiden Castle, Dorset, is considered in detail. In particular, the nature of the injuries in various parts of the skull and post‐cranial skeleton are discussed as a forensic exercise. A major finding is that some of the injuries would seem to be the result of a long sharp metal weapon ‐ a fact which is incompatible with the supposed Neolithic date of the skeleton. As a result of this clash in evidence, a C date was obtained directly from a bone sample. This supports a post‐Neolithic date for the body. Possible social implications of the mutilations are briefly discussed.
A recently discovered Pleistocene archaeological site at Lake Mungo, western N.S.W., is announced and described. This was found within the core of a lunette sand dune at a level dated to between 25,000 and 32,000 years B.P., and is thus the oldest archaeological site so far discovered in Australia. The stratigraphy and chronology are described, and a palaeo‐environ‐mental reconstruction is made. Within the site were stone tools, hearths, faunal remains and a human cremation. The Mungo typology changes little in south‐eastern Australia until about 6,000 years ago, and the diet is similar to that recorded in the ethnographic record. The cremation was of a young adult female; the bones had been smashed after burning. Morphologically, the remains show some resemblances to Australian Aborigines, but there are also some palaeo‐Australian features.
Within all penal institutions, networks of black market exchange circulate luxuries throughout the inmate population. Both material objects and sexual encounters fuel these systems of illicit barter. This paper presents some archaeological implications of such exchange. Exploring documentary and material records of the Ross Female Factory, a nineteenth-century Australian colonial prison for transported British female convicts, I relate the differential distribution patterns within the button assemblage to sexual dynamics of the convict black market. What were the same-sex implications of this 'trade'? What was the nature of these encounters? Can same-sex relationships be archaeologically interpreted?.
Most scholars concerned with the evolution of complex societies have tacitly assumed that population, growth was essentially a constant phenomenon in antiquity. Recent research, however, has shown not only that extreme variety in rates of growth occurs in both time and space but also that successful reproductive performance, and by implication the potential for population growth, is closely related to population nutritional status. The interrelationships between nutritional status and the potential for population growth from one area of Meso‐america, the Basin of Mexico, are examined here. Periods of rapid sustained growth are highly correlated with periods of balanced nutrition, while periods of population stability appear to be associated with a variety of nutritional deficiencies: to shortages in raw protein and essential amino acids in particular. Interrelationships with other factors ‐ food preparation techniques, animal domestication and environmental change ‐ are also discussed.
The archaeological record of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition (PHT) demonstrates that the technology and mobility of Prearchaic hunter-gatherers differed dramatically from later Holocene foragers, suggesting a hunting-oriented subsistence. However, meager PHT faunal assemblages imply a generalized, broad-spectrum diet. Ethnographic analogy fails to provide a behavioral frame- work for understanding this discrepancy because the resource structure of the PHT differed utterly from the ethnographic present. Palaeoenvironmental data alone are incapable of retrodicting ancient diets without an understanding of foraging costs in extinct resource landscapes. This paper reviews recent studies using behavioral ecology as a theoretical framework for simulating foraging behavior in a PHT resource landscape. The simulation for Railroad Valley, Nevada, suggests the explanation for the diversity of subsistence remains in PHT records lies in different foraging strategies for men and women, rather than risk aversion alone. Furthermore, the simulation suggests that Prearchaic hunter-gatherers enjoyed a narrower diet breadth than later foragers, prompting the mobility and technological proéles evinced in the PHT archaeological record.
Pre‐industrial man and other animal species are compared with respect to colonization cycles, i.e. the cycles of population expansion and contraction that provide the historical basis for instantaneous biological distribution patterns. Because every species is basically different from every other species, biogeography has developed a common framework for understanding such unlike distributions as those of giraffes, oak trees and man by seeking relations among key variables or processes relevant to any species. Like other species, man reproduces, dies, disperses, exploits environments of varying stability and productivity, adapts phenotypically and genetically, is subject to intraspecific competition and ‐ still like other species ‐ differs from other species in particular characteristics of each of these processes. These key ingredients for biogeographic analysis are discussed to inquire in what ways man is unique as a colonist.
Biogeographical thinking in archaeology and anthropology permits social scientists to consider questions about the size, distribution, ecology and population structure of human groups without succumbing to the fallacies of biological determinism or the similarly naive and deterministic presumption that man is unique and beyond scientific scrutiny. A biogeographer's approach to ancient and modern man furthers investigation of the events and environmental circumstances, natural and man‐made, that play a role in the evolution of similarities and differences among human populations and among their cultures.
Khok Phanom Di is located in Central Thailand, and was occupied between 2000 and 1500 BC. A cemetery spanning 17–20 generations was encountered, in which members of the same family were interred alongside and over each other within collective burial areas. At first settlement, the site commanded a major estuary, one of the world's richest habitats in terms of self‐replenishing food. The diet comprised marine species and rice. Access was possible to local sources of shell for the manufacture of jewellery, and the site was also a pottery‐making centre. The biological remains suggest that a major environmental change, involving the relocation of the river and coastal progradation, occurred after the passage of about ten generations. This was accompanied by changes in the human diet and health. Males had less‐developed upper body strength which could reflect a sharp reduction in canoeing. Hardly any shell beads were found in the graves representing the four generations which followed this change. It is suggested that local sources of shell for bead manufacture were no longer available, and men ceased coastal canoe voyaging. With the fifth generation, there was a dramatic increase in some very rich graves, which incorporated an entirely new range of shell jewellery made from probably exotic species. At the same time, women predominated numerically and in terms of wealth. Some infants interred alongside these women were also very wealthy. It is suggested that the women were pottery makers and were able to engage in long‐distance exchange as a means to attaining high individual status. A trend towards matrilocality saw young females becoming central in maintaining the social group. Those who died in infancy were given particularly impressive burial rites. Yet status was personally achieved rather than ascriptive.
Documentary and archaeological evidence provides a view of conditions of sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition under the boarding house system in Lowell, Massachusetts. The evidence is sometimes complementary but more often contradictory. Archaeological evidence, for example, reveals that public expression of corporate concern for worker welfare often failed to be followed by actions that would improve living conditions in the boarding houses. The archaeological record further reveals that even well‐intentioned efforts by the corporations to improve worker living conditions may have resulted in the inadvertent addition of new hazards to an already unhealthy environment.
The Classic Maya (AD 250-850) represented emotion via the human body in stylized ways that reflected their categories of 'affect', the subjective states attributed by one person to another through empathy. Such displays, although rare, served as negative contrasts to a more ordered, restrained and controlled state that operated as an ideal for élite comportment. Control equated to morally appropriate behavior, the lack of it to non-human, supernatural or pre-human conduct. In anthropological terms, affect was 'hypercognated'—elaborated and explicitly highlighted—through both its presence and its absence in Maya images. The inclination of the Classic Maya to display overt affect increased dramatically by the seventh century AD, and was facilitated by the representational conventions of the time, which emphasized close correspondences to a perceived, external world.
The history of leprosy is briefly outlined. First recorded is an Indian source of the sixth century BC and a Chinese text of the third century. The earliest recorded skeletal evidence comes from the Dakhleh Oasis dating to the second century BC. By the fifth century AD the disease had reached Britain and rose to a peak between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. By the sixteenth century it had declined rapidly. Questions of early diagnosis and treatment are considered.
New data is presented relevant to some aspects of the palaeodemography of early British populations. Certain earlier work is also discussed. Some of the difficulties and problems of establishing meaningful demographic information for earlier populations is first discussed. Following this, there is a consideration of population size, age variation and differences between the sexes in early British groups, with concluding remarks related to this data.
This paper argues that conventional archaeological approaches to food need a new and sophisticated theoretical framework which acknowledges that food is culturally defined and acquires immense significance in all societies because it involves the human body. It is (through consumption) an act of incorporation involving senses, feelings and emotions. Away from the nutritionist paradigm and the subsistence discourse, this study re‐examines the issue of wine and olive oil production and consumption in Bronze Age Crete and suggests that they are related to broader social and political developments rather than to environmental conditions or micro‐economic concerns on the part of Bronze Age Cretan farmers.
Analysis of the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of burials in a colonial cemetery in Cape Town, South Africa, reveals life histories of the underclass there. We are able to distinguish foreign from local-born people, and to infer social status, specifically slavery, by linking bone chemistry and somatic modification. This is the first use of bone chemistry to reconstruct the life histories of a mixed population of diverse origin, buried in a cosmopolitan colonial city. As such, it may be used as a guide for future work in other colonial sites.