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DEFINITION: The manufacturing processes in which material is added to an original mass to form an artifact. Ceramic production and basketmaking are additive technologies.
DEFINITION: Deliberate attempts by prehistoric peoples to preserve key artifacts and structures for posterity. These artifacts that are reused and transported so often that they are rarely deposited in contexts that their original locations of manufacture and use are no longer known.
DEFINITION: The Earth Resources Technology Satellites, any of a series of unmanned U.S. scientific satellites that produce small-scale images of vast areas of the earth's surface; used to study regional patterns of use of land and other resources.
DEFINITION: The intentional use and control of fire by humans.
DEFINITION: A technology where an artisan acquires material (usually stone), then shapes it by removing flakes or other fragments until it is fashioned into the finished product
DEFINITION: Any manufacturing process in which artifacts take form as material is removed from the original mass. Flint knapping is a subtractive technology.
DEFINITION: One of the three basic components of culture; the systematic study of techniques for making and doing things. It is the means by which humans have developed things to help them adapt to and exploit their environment. By virtue of his nature as a toolmaker, man has been a technologist from the beginning, and the history of technology encompasses the whole evolution of man.
DEFINITION: A type of farming in which rice is grown in paddies, small, level, flooded fields in southern and eastern Asia. Wet-rice cultivation is the most prevalent method of farming in the Far East, where it utilizes a small fraction of the total land yet feeds the majority of the rural population. Rice was domesticated as early as 3500 BC, and by about 2,000 years ago it was grown predominantly in deltas, floodplains and coastal plains, and some terraced valley slopes. Although rice can also be grown under dry conditions, wet-rice cultivation in paddy fields is much more productive. The fields can be flooded naturally or by irrigation channels, and are kept inundated during the growing season. About a month before harvesting, the water is removed and the field left to dry.
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DEFINITION: The adoption of a trait or traits by one society from another and the results of such changes. This is a consequence of contact between cultures, usually with one being dominant, and is a process by which a group takes on the lifeways, institutions, and technology of another group. There are two major types of acculturation: free borrowing where one society selects elements of another culture that they integrate in their own way, and directed change, where one group establishes dominance through military conquest or political control. Though directed change involves selection, it results from the interference in one cultural group by members of another. In anthropology, the change is considered from the point of view of the recipient society.
DEFINITION: Research into the effects of demography, ecology, economics, and technology on human behavior.
DEFINITION: A large-scale Roman arena open to the elements and surrounded by tiers of seats. They were constructed for exhibiting gladiatorial and other public spectacles (military displays, combats, and wild beast fights) to the populace. The earliest were oval and built of wood, later changing to stone construction. Rome's Colosseum has tiered galleries 2-3 stories in height and has provision for covering the arena with shades to protect against rain or sun. Roofing of so wide an expanse was beyond Roman technology. The arena of the Colosseum had a false timber floor, below which there was a labyrinth of service corridors. The animal cages were situated here, linked with pre-tensioned lifts and automatic trapdoors so that participants and animals could be sent up to the floor of the arena with speed and precision. Somehow Roman engineers staged the grand opening by flooding the arena for a full-scale sea battle. Amphitheatres accommodated a great number of spectators (possibly more than 50,000 at the Colosseum). The Romans derived their ideas from the classic Greek theater and stadium and the model was widely copied throughout the Roman empire. It could be erected on any terrain and set inside an urban center. An early example of the Republican period is at Pompeii the Colosseum is of the Imperial model. The fortress of Caerlon and the towns of Caerwent, Cirencester, Colchester, Dorchester, Richborough, and Wroxeter are some British places which had amphitheatres.
DEFINITION: A group of Neolithic sites in Manchuria which demonstrate strong connections with the Novopetrovka and Gromatukha cultures of the Middle Amur in eastern Siberia, especially in stone tool technology. Animal, fish and mollusk remains occur on the sites.
DEFINITION: A distinct, individual characteristic of an artifact that cannot be further subdivided and distinguishes it from another. An attribute is used to classify artifacts into groups and describes objects in terms of their physical traits such as color, design pattern, form, shape, size, style, surface texture, technology, and weight. Attribute analysis is a method of using these characteristics to statistically produce clusters of attributes in identifying classes of artifacts.
DEFINITION: A type of extremely regular and large (1-2 inches wide and up to 10-12 inches long) flint blade produced by a specialized technique. The technology seems to have first appeared at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC in eastern Anatolia and adjoining areas, and was then introduced to the southern Levant (Canaan) by 3500 BC; these blades were produced until 2000 BC.
DEFINITION: The maximum population of a species that can be supported by a particular habitat or area with the food potentially available to it from the resources of the area, including the most unfavorable period of the year. The carrying capacity is different for each species within a habitat because of the species' particular requirements for food, shelter, and social contact and because of competition with other species that have similar requirements. Studies of both human and animal groups suggest that few populations reach such a theoretical maximum level, but adjust themselves to a size which allows a margin for fluctuations in the actual food production in the area. In archaeological terms, carrying capacity is the size and density of ancient populations that a given site or region could have supported under a specified subsistence technology.
DEFINITION: A perspective for studying lithic technology that emphasizes the sequence of decisions and behaviors from raw material selection and acquisition, through manufacture, use, recycling, and discard.
DEFINITION: Literally, the Copper Stone Age" a period between the Neolithic (Stone Age) and the Bronze Age from 3000-2500 BC in which both stone and copper tools were used. It was a transitional phase between Stone Age technology and the Bronze Age and an increase in trade and cultural exchanges. The term is much less widely used than other divisions and subdivisions of the Three Age System partly because of the difficulty in distinguishing copper from bronze without chemical analysis partly because many areas did not have a Chalcolithic period at all."
DEFINITION: The main use of chemical analysis in archaeology has been the identification of trace, major, and minor elements characteristic of particular sources of raw materials such as obsidian. The methods include X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, optical emission spectrometry, atomic absorption spectrometry, spectrographic X-ray diffraction, and neutron activation analysis. This information can be useful in the study of technology, trade, and distribution.
DEFINITION: A population of anatomically modern Homo sapiens dating from the Upper Paleolithic Period (c 35,000-10,000 years ago), first found in 1868 in a shallow cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne region of southern France. French geologist Louis Lartet uncovered five archaeological layers and the race of prehistoric humans revealed by this find was called Cro-Magnon and has since been considered, along with Neanderthals, to be representative of prehistoric humans at that time. It was also the first discovery of remains of Homo sapiens in a deposit containing Upper Palaeolithic tools. The skeletons had been carefully buried, covered with red ochre, and necklaces laid beside them. They were the earliest known modern humans in Europe, who were characterized by a long skull and high forehead, a tall erect stature, and the use of blade technology and bone tools. They were associated with the Aurignacian culture, which produced the earliest European art. Unlike Neanderthal man, the remains are hardly different from modern man.
DEFINITION: Any distinctive toolkit or technology that lasts a long time, longer than the duration of one culture, at one locality or several localities. The term also refers to cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions.
DEFINITION: In a general sense, the whole way of life of man as a species. In a more specific usage, it is the learned behavior, social customs, ideas, and technology characteristic of a certain people or civilization at a particular time or over a period of time (such as Eskimo culture). In this sense, a culture is a group of people whose total activities define what they represent and are transmitted to others in the group by social (mainly linguistic) -- as opposed to genetic -- means. Culture includes the production of ideas, artifacts, and institutions. In a more restricted sense (as in the term 'blade culture') culture signifies the artifacts or tool- and implement-making tradition of a people or a stage of development. Similar or related assemblages found in several sites within a defined area during the same time period, considered to represent the activities of one specific group of people is a culture. Cultures are often named for a particular site or an artifact. The word 'culture' in archaeology means a collection of archaeologically observable data; it is defined as the regularly occurring assemblage of associated artifacts and practices, such as pottery, house-types, metalwork, and burial rites, and regarded in this sense as the physical expression of a particular social group. This usage is especially associated with Gordon Childe, who popularized this concept as a means of analyzing prehistoric material. Thus the Bandkeramik culture of Neolithic Europe is an hypothesized social group characterized by its use of a particular type of pottery, houses, etc. The term, in reference to the specific elements of material culture, is most often used in the Old World.
DEFINITION: The study of waste products resulting from tool manufacture to reconstruct stone technology.
DEFINITION: The theory that all technology is a compromise between the short-term and long-term costs, utility, and risk of failure of artifacts as they operate within a technological system.
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: An ancient kingdom of southwest Iran with its capital at Susa and other centers at Anshan and Dur-Untash. This broad valley of the Karkeh and Karun rivers was geographically an extension of the southern plain of Mesopotamia. Early on, it adopted writing and devised its own pictographic script (proto-Elamite) to suit its language; later it used Akkadian cuneiform. Politically the two regions were usually bitterly opposed and the Elamites overthrew the 3rd dynasty of Ur shortly before 2000 BC and raided as far as Babylon in the later 13th century BC. The Golden Age of Elamite civilization was c 1300-1100 BC, reaching its peak under Untash-Gal (c 1265-1245 BC), the builder of Choga Zambil. Raids into Mesopotamia brought the downfall of Kassite Dynasty in 1157 BC. The period was also remarkable for glass technology and bronze casting (cire perdue). Elam was absorbed into the Achaemenid empire in the 6th century BC, after falling to the Assyrians when Ashurbanipal sacked the city of Susa. Little is known about the Elamite language, which is not related to any known tongue and still not fully deciphered.
DEFINITION: The reconstruction and reproduction of past behavior and processes to obtain or evaluate archaeological data and test hypotheses about the way man dealt with subsistence and technology. The experiments involve such activities as creating and using stone tools, duplicating prehistoric methods of farming, building, and travel, etc. The term is normally used only for those experiments which deal with material culture, such as industry, the building of structures, mining, and crop processing. The more theoretical aspects, such as ideas about the development and organization of society, are generally thought of a part of processual archaeology rather than experimental. Reconstructions can be based on excavated ground plans, and some of these have been deliberately burned or left to decay so that an idea can be gained of what the archaeologist might expect to find later. Boats have been built and sailed, food has been cooked in earth ovens and eaten, stone monuments have been laboriously erected, and trumpets and stringed instruments have been made and played. Although past events are not exactly repeatable, experimental simulation can prove very instructive and is being increasingly used. One of the earliest examples was General Pitt-Rivers' observations of the rate and duration of ditch silting on his excavations at Cranbourne Chase in the 19th century.
DEFINITION: An island off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, once called Formosa, of particular archaeological interest. A Neolithic technology existed and continued till the early centuries of the 2nd millennium AD, presumably due to the absence of sources of metal. A similar situation existed in the Canary Islands. This site in western Africa lies in a strategic situation from which the Niger mouths and the Slave Coast could be watched.
DEFINITION: Any object made by one of the various percussion or pressure techniques of stone tool technology. Tools produced by the removal of flakes (or chips, commonly referred to as debitage) from the stone to create a sharp surface. Projectile points, bifaces, unifaces, and cores are common flaked stone artifact types.
DEFINITION: A primitive people inhabiting the South American archipelago of Tierra del Fuego from c 2000 BC. The culture, a coastal tradition of the Alacaluf tribes, was often called the Shell Knife culture. It was based on the exploitation of marine resources and operative on the southern coast and offshore islands of southern Chile. The beginning of the tradition was marked by a change from land-oriented hunting and gathering; bone and stone tool technology persisted well into historic times. The primitive cultures of the Ona and Yámana (Yahgan) of Tierra del Fuego are so similar that anthropologists traditionally group them with the neighboring Chono and Alakaluf of Chile into this one Fuegian culture area". The Ona inhabit the interior forests and depend heavily on hunting guanaco (a small New World camel). The Yámana are canoe-using fishermen and shellfish gatherers. They are all nomadic and are sparsely scattered over the landscape and poor in material culture."
DEFINITION: Computer-generated mapping systems that allow archaeologists to plot and analyze site distributions against environmental and other background data derived from remote sensing, digitized maps, and other sources. It is computerized technology for storage, analysis, and display of geographically referenced information.
DEFINITION: A large cave site in Cyrenaica, Libya, with the most complete sequence, back to c 78,000 BC, of Upper Pleistocene and Holocene industries known from a single site in North Africa. The oldest flint industry is a Libyan variant of the pre-Aurignacian (Libyan Amudian), and is followed successively by Levalloiso-Mousterian (60,000 years ago), Dabban (40,000 years ago), Oranian (18-16,000 years ago), Libyco-Capsian, and finally (from c 6800-6400) by Neolithic with pottery and domesticated animals. Based upon the striking of parallel-sided blades from prismatic cores, the earliest stage has clear affinities with broadly contemporary industries in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Its makers exploited both large game animals and seafood resources. There was a return to blade technology with the Dabban industry and the beginning of the Dabban occupation of Crenaica seems to have coincided with the onset of very arid conditions in the Saharan regions to the south. The Oranian had small backed bladelets.
DEFINITION: The present geological epoch, which began some 10,000 (bp) years ago (8300 BC). It falls within the Quaternary period (one of the four main divisions of the earth's history) and followed the Pleistocene Ice Age. The Holocene is marked by rising temperatures throughout the world and the retreat of the ice sheets. During this epoch, agriculture became the common human subsistence practice. During the Holocene, Homo sapiens diversified his tool technology, organized his habitat more efficiently, and adapted his way of life. The Holocene stage/series includes all deposits younger than the top of either the Wisconsinian stage of the Pleistocene Series in North America and the Würm/Weichsel in Europe.
DEFINITION: The modern human species, possibly evolving out of Neanderthal Man, with the archaic Homo sapiens dating to between c 100,000-33,000 years ago (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) and the oldest-known anatomically modern Homo sapiens fossils dating between 130,000-80,000 years ago. Modern man -- a large, erect, omnivorous terrestrial biped -- first appears in the fossil record during the late Upper Pleistocene around 35,000 BC. It is still controversial how Neanderthals were replaced by the modern Homo sapiens. The oldest fossils come from sites in Africa and the Near East. In Eurasia the oldest flint industries associated with Homo sapiens are always of Upper Palaeolithic blade-and-burin type. Modern man's technology replaced that of the Mousterian period.
DEFINITION: The creation of a new type of technology, often in response to a need to accomplish some task
DEFINITION: A ductile, malleable, magnetic metallic element, used to make artifacts of both practical and decorative function. Its oxide form, hematite, is found naturally and the technique of ironworking was mastered around 1500 BC by the Hittites. Iron began to spread and replace bronze for man's basic tools and weapons -- the start of the Iron Age. Early in the 1st millennium BC, iron industries were established in Greece and Italy, and by 500 BC, iron had replaced bronze for the manufacture of tools and weapons throughout Europe. The pre-ColumbianNew World, however, did not develop iron technology. Iron smelting is more complicated than for copper or tin, since the first smelt gives only slaggy lumps, the bloom. Hammering at red heat is then required to expel stone fragments and combine carbon with the iron to make in effect a steel; the resulting metal is far superior to copper or tin. The two basic methods of working it are by forging -- hammering into shape at red heat -- and casting. The Chinese used the latter method as early as the 5th century BC, but it was not employed in Europe until the Middle Ages. The first evidence of iron smelting in Egypt dates to the 6th century BC. Large-scale steel manufacture depends on the production of cast iron, which in Europe dates only from the 14th century AD. The West did not enter the 'Age of Steel' until the 19th century with the invention of the Bessemer and Siemens processes, which are industrial processes for obtaining liquid metal of any desired carbon content by the decarburization of cast iron. Steel was made in China within a few centuries of the first known use of smelted iron. In principle, modern techniques descended from China's casting techniques.
DEFINITION: An Early Iron Age site in Buhaya, northeastern Tanzania. The pottery appears to be of the Urewe type known from other parts of the Lake Victoria basin. There is also evidence of sophisticated iron-smelting technology during the last few centuries BC. It is the oldest-known evidence for ironworking in central and southern Africa.
DEFINITION: The third and final phase of Stone Age technology in sub-Saharan Africa, dating from about 30,000+ years ago until historical times in some places. There was much art and personal decoration, evidence of burials, and in assemblages some microlithic stone tools. Pottery and stone bowls appear during the last three millennia as the lifeways changed to herding from nomadic hunting and gathering. The large number of distinctive Later Stone Age industries that emerged reflect increasing specialization as hunter-gatherers exploited different environments, often moving seasonally between them, and developed different subsistence strategies. As in many parts of the world, changes in technology seem to mark a shift to the consumption of smaller game, fish, invertebrates, and plants. Later Stone Age peoples used bows and arrows and a variety of snares and traps for hunting, as well as grindstones and digging sticks for gathering plant food; with hooks, barbed spears, and wicker baskets they also were able to catch fish and thus exploit rivers, lakeshores, and seacoasts more effectively. The appearance of cave art, careful burials, and ostrich eggshell beads for adornments suggests more sophisticated behavior and new patterns of culture. These developments apparently are associated with the emergence between 20,000 and 15,000 BC of the earliest of the historically recognizable populations of southern Africa: the Pygmy, San, and Khoi peoples, who were probably genetically related to the ancient population that had evolved in the African subcontinent.
DEFINITION: Describing industries with many blades and blade tools, especially end scrapers, burins, and backed blades, typical of the Upper Palaeolithic. The term leptolithic, literally 'of small stones', has sometimes been used specifically to refer to this type of stone technology, without any dating connotation or evolutionary position.
DEFINITION: A traditional way or manner of living of a culture. The settlement pattern, population density, technology, economy, organization of domestic life, kinship, social stratification, ritual, art, and religion of a culture.
DEFINITION: The analysis of stone tools and stone tool technology.
DEFINITION: The use of the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which depict a materialist model of social change, to understand past societies. Change within a society is seen as the result of contradictions arising between the forces of production (technology) and the relations of production (social organization). Such contradictions are seen to emerge as a struggle between distinct social classes. Marxist archaeology is built on the notion that an understanding of who has power and how that power is exercised is a vital element in explaining social change.
DEFINITION: The artifacts and ecofacts used by a group to cope with their physical and social environment. Material culture includes the buildings, tools, and other artifacts that constitute the material remains of a former society -- its technology and artifacts combined. Material culture thus embraces folk architecture, folk arts, and folk crafts. For example, the construction of houses, the design and decoration of buildings and utensils, and the performance of home industries, according to traditional styles and methods, make up material culture. The distinction is made between those aspects of culture that appear as physical objects, and those aspects which are nonmaterial. It is the major source of evidence for archaeology.
DEFINITION: Any theory that posits that the way humans organize labor and technology to get resources out of the material world is the primary force shaping culture.
DEFINITION: The major culture of the northern coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period. It originated in the Moche and Chicama Valleys and later spread by conquest as far south as the Santa and Nepeña Rivers. The culture developed around the start of the Christian era and lasted until c 700 AD. Dominant during the Early Intermediate Period (c 400 BC-600 AD), it is best known for its irrigation works, its massive adobe temple-platforms, and for its pottery. Especially famous are the modeled vessels and portrait head vases, and the jars, often with stirrup spouts, painted in reddish brown with scenes of religion, war, and everyday life. The pottery sequence has five phases which are identified by the details of the spout formation on the stirrup-necked bottles and it is used for relative dating of the sites (c 300-700 AD). The Moche culture was the major contributor to the subsequent Chimú culture of the north coast. Huge structures at the ceremonial center include a large, terraced, truncated pyramid, Huaca del Sol, and the smaller Huaca de la Luna, on top of which is a series of courtyards and rooms, some with wall paintings. Huaca del Sol was perhaps the largest single construction of the prehistoric Andean region. Grave goods in gold, silver and copper display a fairly advanced metalworking technology. Archaeologists excavated a site called Huaca Rajada and found the elaborate, jewelry-filled tomb of a Moche warrior-priest. Several more burial chambers containing the remains of Moche royalty have been excavated, all dating from about 300 AD, whose finds greatly aided the understanding of Moche society, religion, and culture. Incised lines on lima beans have recently been interpreted as a form of nonverbal communication similar in concept to the quipu. Developing out of Cupisnique, Gallinazo and Salinar, Moche survived into the Middle Horizon but appears ultimately to have been overtaken by the Huari culture. In the last phase (Moche V), the southern part of the Moche territory was abandoned and a new capital established in the north, at Pampa Grande.
DEFINITION: Inhabitants of Mycenae, the civilization of late Bronze Age Greece, set in the Argolid. Their name for themselves was Achaeans, and their achievements were remembered in the legends of the classical Greeks. Their forebears probably arrived in Greece around 2000 BC, bringing Minyan ware and an Indo-European language with them. Mycenaean civilization arose in the 16th century BC by the sudden influx of many features of material culture from the Minoans. Later traditions speak of the arrival of new rulers from the east. By c 1450 BC, the Mycenaeans were powerful enough to take over both Knossos and the profitable trade across the east Mediterranean, especially in Cypriote copper. Trade was extended also to the central Mediterranean and continental Europe, where Baltic amber was one of the commodities sought. The peak of their power lasted only a century and a half until natural and unnatural disaster struck. The Trojan War at the end of the 13th century points to unrest east of the Aegean. There is evidence of increasing depopulation of southern Greece about the same time, paving the way for invasion by the Dorians. At home, the Mycenaeans dwelt in strongly walled citadels containing palaces of the megaron type, exemplified at Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, and Pylos. To these were added the more Minoan features -- frescoes, painted pottery, skillfully carved seals, artistic metalwork, clay tablets, etc. Their writing, Linear B, was an adaptation of the Minoan script, presumably first made by the mainlanders who had occupied Knossos, for the writing of their own, Greek, language. (Linear B was deciphered by Michael Ventris.) The Mycenaeans contributed greatly to the economy and technology of Late Bronze Age Europe, and to the population of the east Mediterranean coasts after the Egyptian defeat of the Peoples of the Sea, and they also left a legacy in their language and literature to their descendants in Greece. The civilization collapsed in c 1200 BC.
DEFINITION: The southernmost and (except for Chatham Islands) only temperate landmass to be settled by Polynesians/Maoris. Beginning in c 900 AD, the lifestyle was predominantly horticultural on the North Island, but hunting and gathering on the colder South Island. Language, economy, and technology are almost fully Polynesian. There are two archaeological phases: Archaic, c 900-1300, and Classic, c 1300-1800. The Classic is associated with many earthwork fortifications, a rich woodcarving tradition, and development of the chiefly society observed by Captain Cook in 1769.
DEFINITION: A series of late Archaic complexes in the upper Great Lakes area of the United States and Canada which settled there approximately 5,000 years ago. This culture of hunters and fishermen did not have pottery and agriculture, but the people mined native copper around Lake Superior and used it to make tools. The metal was worked by hot- and cold-hammering and by annealing. Characteristic copper implements were spear points, knives, awls, and atlatl weights. Its best-known assemblages are from Osceola and Ocanto. Later cultures did not develop metal technology, but reverted to stone use. There is general agreement that 1500 BC represents the terminal date.
DEFINITION: Literally bone-tooth-horn" referring to the controversial tool "technology" of some early hominids. When there is no sign that a people used wood or stone for tools and when it is supposed that that people did make tools of bones teeth and horns their culture is said to be osteodontokeratic. The term is based on an assemblage of fossilized animal bones found at Taung by Raymond Arthur Dart in South Africa where the first specimen of Australopithecus africanus was found and at Makapansgat where other specimens of A. africanus were found. Dart proposed that these fossils were tools used by A.africanus an early hominid species. He postulated that teeth were used as saws and scrapers long bones as clubs and so on. He explained his theory on the basis of the fact that certain bones turned up regularly while others were rarely found. Later research however cast doubt on the general interpretation of altered bone-remains as tools. More likely the accumulation studied by Dart resulted from the natural breakdown of skeletons predators and damage to the bones by falling stones."
DEFINITION: A term used in relation to pottery technology, describing certain firing conditions involving a gaseous atmosphere in which an oxidation reaction (the oxidation of solids) occurs. If a kiln is being fired with good, dry fuel and with plenty of draft, the carbon in the fuel is converted into carbon dioxide, and there is oxygen in the atmosphere. This is the oxidizing atmosphere which causes pottery to be fired to a red or orange color whether it has a slip or not. The opposite phenomenon, a reducing atmosphere, produces black pottery. Much pottery, however, varies in color over its surface caused by changing conditions during the firing process.
DEFINITION: An archipelago of about 7,100 islands and islets lying about 500 miles (800 km) off the southeastern coast of Asia. A firm archaeological sequence began there c 30,000 years ago, at Tabon Cave on Palawan Island. There are Late Pleistocene stone industries, the spread of a small flake and blade technology after 5000 BC (Holocene), and the arrival and rapid spread of Austronesian-speaking horticulturists after 3000 BC. Rich jar-burial assemblages occur in the islands from about 1000 BC; bronze and iron appear later. Chinese traders visited and lived on the islands from about 1000 AD. Indian culture reached the archipelago during the 14th-16th centuries via Indonesian kingdoms, notably the Java-based kingdom of Majapahit. This is particularly noticeable in Philippine languages and literatures where Sanskrit loanwords and ancient Indian motifs abound. At the beginning of the 15th century Filipinos were primarily shifting cultivators, hunters, and fishermen with animistic beliefs. Islam was introduced later in the same century, followed by Ferdinand Magellan's discovery of the Philippines in 1521.
DEFINITION: Volcanic ash or dust found in central Italy, especially near Pozzuoli. It was used to fortify Roman concrete and line water channels. The Romans used it from the 2nd century BC onwards. The natural properties of this and related materials may well have been of central importance in the rapid development at the Romans were able to make in the technology of concrete buildings in the late Republican and early Imperial periods.
DEFINITION: City of the Ganges Civilization, India, in Uttar Pradesh with the earliest occupation characterized by Black and Red Ware and the beginnings of iron technology. There are eight phases starting with that in c 800 BC. The settlement of this period was surrounded by a massive brick rampart. After c 700-600 BC, Northern Black Polished Ware and copper coins appear.
DEFINITION: The epoch of geologic time in the late Quaternary following the Pleistocene; referred to as Holocene in several European countries. It is the present geological epoch, which began some 10,000 (bp) years ago (8300 BC). The Recent epoch is marked by rising temperatures throughout the world and the retreat of the ice sheets. During this epoch, agriculture became the common human subsistence practice. During the Recent epoch, Homo sapiens diversified his tool technology, organized his habitat more efficiently, and adapted his way of life. The Recent stage/series includes all deposits younger than the top of either the Wisconsinian stage of the Pleistocene Series in North America and the Würm/Weichsel in Europe.
DEFINITION: A term used in Ecuadorian archaeology for the period 500 BC-500 AD, when local adaptation led to the proliferation of regional cultures. The continuum Formative, Regional Development, Integration Period has also been applied to neighboring parts of South and Central America. Some of the Ecuadorian coastal variants produced fine pottery, elaborate figurines, and many small art objects. There are hints of Asiatic influence in the cultures of Bahía and Jama-Coaque, which occupied the coastland from La Plata island to Cape Francisco. The period is characterized by changes in socio-political organization and art styles and technology, which gave rise to region-wide rather than purely local cultures.
DEFINITION: A site in northern Burkino Faso, Africa, with three phases dating c 12,000-1000 years ago. The second phase, a backed microlith industry lacking pottery and ground stone artifacts is dated to 3600 bp. From the mid-2nd millennium BC both these elements are present. Stone tool technology continued until around 1,000 years ago, after the first local appearance of metal implements.
DEFINITION: A traveled way on which people, animals, or wheeled vehicles move. The earliest roads developed from the paths and trails of prehistoric peoples; their construction was concurrent with the appearance of wheeled vehicles, which was probably in the area between the Caucasus Mountains and the Persian Gulf sometime before 3000 BC. Road systems were developed that connected the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt and facilitated trade. The first major road was the Persian Royal Road, which extended from the Persian Gulf to the Aegean Sea over a distance of 1,775 miles (2,857 km) and was used from about 3500-300 BC. Originally made for the use of troops and their supplies, were eventually much used by the civilian population for the carriage of goods. This encouraged free trade, helped the advance of civilization, and the subjugation and unification of the tribes. Early roads were about 20 feet wide and had ditches along both sides for drainage purposes. Large stones were laid on the foundation, then smaller ones, or gravel, on top. Traffic and weather blended the road material and helped to form the surface. Stone kerbs were made to hold the road surface together and sometimes a line of stone was laid in the middle too, to help in the binding. The Romans were the first to construct roads scientifically. Their roads were characteristically straight, and the best ones were composed of a graded soil foundation that was topped by four layers: a bedding of sand or mortar; rows of large, flat stones; a thin layer of gravel mixed with lime; and a thin wearing surface of flintlike lava. Roman roads varied in thickness from 3-5 feet, and their design remained the most sophisticated until the modern road-building technology in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Along the Roman roads were rest houses / mansiones and horse-changing stations / mutationes.
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: Palaeolithic sites in Hokkaido, Japan, with a large number of obsidian artifacts dating from about 18,000-13,000 BC, and including large blades, burins, scrapers, and some bifacial points. There are more bifacial points and microblades in a younger group, which dates c13,000-10,000 BC. The microblades were made by a special technique, called the Yubetsu technique, where a large biface is made into a core which looks like a tall carinated scraper. The technology is also called Yubetsu, though the type site is Shirataki-Hattoridai.
DEFINITION: A method of reconstructing the economy of a site by studying the resources that are available within a reasonable distance, generally 1-2 hours' walking time from the site. The technique was devised by E. Higgs and C. Vita-Finzi for 'the study of the relationship between technology and those natural resources lying within economic range of individual sites', an extension of the least-cost principle. The catchment area is defined by drawing a circle around the site; the radius has often been set at 5 km (i.e. an hour's walk) for agriculturists and 10 km (i.e. two hours' walk) for hunter-gatherers, figures which represent ethnographically observed averages. Within the catchment area the proportions of such resources as arable or pastoral land are calculated, and from these figures conclusions can be drawn concerning the nature and function of the site. The technique offers a valuable and reasonably objective method for analyzing relationships between site location, technology, and available resources. This type of off-site" analysis can concentrate on the total area from which a site's contents have been derived."
DEFINITION: Method for quantitative analysis of small samples of various compounds which has high accuracy. It involves passing the light refracted from a sample through a prism or diffraction grating that spreads out the wavelengths of trace elements into a spectrum. This enables the identification of different trace elements and depends on the fact that light emitted by any element on volatilization shows a characteristic pattern when split by a prism into its spectrum. The elements present can be measured by the intensity of the lines in comparison with control spectra of known composition produced under the same conditions. A small sample can be used, less than 10 milligrams, making the method particularly suitable for archaeological material. The method has been used especially for metal analysis, giving useful information on technology and sources of the raw materials, and also for glass, faience, pottery, and obsidian.
DEFINITION: A level of cultural development characterized by a technology and its associated social and ideological features; a large-scale archaeological unit consisting of a well-defined level of development attained by a particular culture area. The adoption of agriculture, for instance, had profound cultural and social consequences, raising people to a higher stage. This technological subdivision of prehistoric time has little chronological meaning beyond the regional (as it may be continental or global), an example being the Stone Age, though stages are integral parts of the chronological sequencing of culture history.
DEFINITION: A method of excavating whereby a large horizontal area is dug instead of a deep vertical one; clearing excavations in which large areas of overburden are removed to reveal horizontal distributions of data without leaving balks. This excavation layout is designed to investigate a large area for a modest outlay of effort. It has the disadvantage that no longitudinal section is available for study, only transverse ones, and that the site can never be seen in its entirety. It is a little used method with the introduction of technology.
DEFINITION: A method of formal analysis in which the object of study is viewed as comprising distinct analytical subunits. In archaeology, it comprises a form of explanation in which a society or culture is seen through the interaction and interdependence of its component parts. These system parameters may include population size, settlement pattern, crop production, technology, etc.
DEFINITION: Large complex of limestone caves in southwest Palawan, the Philippines, which have produced a sequence ranging from c 22,000 BC to the late metal age. Tabon Cave itself has a flake industry of early Australian type dating from 30,000-9000 years ago, in association with early Australoid skeletal remains which are dated c 22,000-20,000 BC. A simple blade technology appears in Duyong Cave c 5000 BC and other caves continue through the Neolithic (c 3800-500 BC) and into a rich jar-burial tradition elsewhere in the Philippines. There are also later deposits with Chinese ceramic imports.
DEFINITION: Small group of forest food collectors isolated in the rain-forests of Mindanao, the Philippines, first reported by anthropological investigators in 1971. Numbering 25 at the time, the Tasadays have a simple technology and food-gathering strategy. Linguistic studies suggest that they may instead have descended from an original horticultural population and simplified their own culture during about 700 years of isolation. The Tasaday were dressed only in loincloths and skirts made of orchid leaves, used only crude stone tools (axes and scrapers) and wooden implements (fire drills and digging sticks), and had no weapons for hunting or war.
DEFINITION: A group of much more distantly or unrelated cultures sharing the same general families of artifact types as a widely diffused and interlinked response to common factors in environment, economy, and technology.
DEFINITION: A term for all the tools used by a given culture for its technology (spatially patterned), or for a set of tools used together for a specific task (functionally patterned).
DEFINITION: A term for all the tools used by a given culture for its technology (spatially patterned), or for a set of tools used together for a specific task (functionally patterned).
DEFINITION: Any element of human culture -- material or non-material -- or technology. This term can be used for any individual artifact or aspect of man's culture, ranging from monument or artifact types to social or ritual practices.
DEFINITION: Generally, articles made of pottery or ceramic. Specifically, a class of pottery whose members share similar technology, paste, and surface treatment.
Anthropologist Raymond A. Dart (1893-1988):
Taung's Baby and the Osteodontokeratic Culture
Raymond Dart pioneered evolutionary anthropology in the mid-twentieth century,
and Dart earned a reputation not inferior to that of Louis Leakey, Sir Arthur Keith,
Le Gros Clark, Teilhard de Chardin, Henri Breuil (or any other contemporary colleague) for his work in evolution, human origins and the fossil record.
Dart's theoretical approach to anthropology still wields authority, and his landmark achievements are commonly reviewed in human evolutionary texts. As the discoverer of the Taungs Baby fossil skull, he achieved immortality in the field, and as sponsor of the ‘Osteodontokeratic' theory of a pre-lithic austrolapithecine tool culture, he stimulated an acute and chronic debate. His apparent disinterest (he was a practicing medical neurologist who ran a medical school), his trenchant and spontaneous writing style, and his consistently ambitious ideation set him well above many of his less dynamic academic peers. In addition Dart named the intermediary species Homo habilis, built the important fossil collection at Witwatersrand, and completed a traversa across the continent of Africa.
Raymond Dart contributed not one but two academic milestones to science, both central to establishing twentieth-century anthropology as a credible discipline. In 1925 he published his work on the fossil skull (and priceless brain cast) of the Taungs Baby in Nature, naming the Taungs Baby fossil Australopithecus africanus. Dart claimed it as a direct ancestor of contemporary man. While this was enough to earn him a top-tier ranking as a physical anthropologist, Dart followed this a generation later with an even greater intellectual achievement. In January 1957 he published a statistical monograph analysis of the Makapansgat Lime Cavern brecciae and announced the compelling theory of a pre-lithic australopithecine ‘osteodontokeratic' culture. Both of these theoretical breakthroughs-the naming of Australopithecus as a hominid and the description of their tool culture-engendered animated controversies and long-running scientific debate.
II. The Taungs Baby Controversy 1924 - 1947: Dart versus Sir Arthur Keith
The Nature article on Taungs Baby came at a pivotal, crucial formative period for the science of anthropology and human evolution. The Piltdown Man was in vogue, a forgery designed to prop up an approach to mankind's origin which posited that a large brain had preceded other human cultural advances, like the use of tools. Dart's Taungs Baby (not a forgery) expressed a new and less popular view, that upright bipedal beings with small but complex brains and modern teeth belonged on the direct ancestral lineage of mankind in Africa.
The opposition to Dart was immediate, long-running and vociferous. Sir Arthur Keith and other leading human anthropologists did not at first accept Dart's findings.
Dart's conclusions in Nature (1925) were ambitious and expansive. He claimed that the australopithecines had used their hands, ears and eyes for cognition of colors, shapes, and sounds. They had "that discriminative knowledge of the appearance, feeling, and sound of things that was a necessary milestone in the acquisition of articulate speech." These conclusions stemmed not from some Hamlet-style musings over his fossil skull, but came directly from Dart's doctorate in neurology, his understanding of the brain cast.
Dart saw the expanded area between the lunate sulcus and parallel sulcus as the source for true cognition. The Taungs Baby brain cast fossil exhibited a forebrain and midbrain much more highly developed than the lobes in the brain of modern chimpanzees and gorillas.
Dart saw the comments of Keith, Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, Sir Andrew Smith Woodward and W.L.H. Duckworth posted in Nature one week after his article appeared. Sir G.E. Smith showed a wise forbearance and demurred comment until he could view the skull, face and brain cast fossils with his own eyes. W.L.H. Duckworth, who had worked closely with Dart, believed the Taungs Baby was only a gorilla-like species (this view became the consensus view for many years, in opposition to Dart's view of Taungs Baby as a type of australopithecine hominid). Sir Andrew Smith-Woodward ruled out the fossil as an extraneous thing. Arthur Keith was also dismissive. Where Dart claimed Taungs Baby to be far in advance of the gorilla and chimpanzee mentality, the older scientists held that Taungs Baby was indeed only a primitive troglodyte with misleading juvenile features.
Raymond Dart defended his findings in a conference in 1925, the British Empire Exhibition, and he was not embraced by the British and European anthropologists gathered there. Sir Arthur Keith hardened his opinion, "an examination of the casts exhibited at Wembley will satisfy zoologists that [Dart's] claim is preposterous. The skull is that of a young anthropoid ape . . . . the Taungs ape is much too late in the scale of time to have any place in man's ancestry." With this Keith joined Smith-Woodward and W.L.H. Duckworth in condemning Raymond Dart's conclusions in Nature. The Piltdown Man (with its Homo sapiens skull and orangutan's jaw) was heartily embraced by the British-the African theory by the Australian-turned-South African Raymond Dart was sternly dismissed.
The Piltdown "fossil" was only one element in the mentalitie of that moment in anthropology. Peking Man, the Zhoukoutien fossils, were also prominent in 1925, when the ‘out-of-Asia' theory took precedence over the ‘out-of-Africa' approach of Raymond Dart. For many reasons dealing with Orientalism, Aryanism and skeptical anti-clericalism, the Asian model was preferred-in the Edwardian period-over any Middle Eastern, Nilotic or sub-Saharan theories of human ancestral origins. The work of Swedish paleontologist J.G. Andersson and Austrian Otto Zdansky eclipsed that of Dart in the 1920s. Sinanthropus pekinensis (the Chinese man of Peking) was embraced as a human ancestor while Australopithecus africanus (the Southern Ape of Africa) was not.
The weight of anthropological opinion swung to an Indonesian or Asian origin for mankind. South African finds were dismissed as anomalies, extinct primates. Eventually both theories would be vindicated and placed in proper relationship to each other.
Sir Arthur Keith's changing opinion of Dart's Taungs Baby is instructive. He found value in the fossil from the start and as Lee Berger (2000) points out, Keith's position was not consistent and more subtly shaded than often believed. Arthur Keith agreed that Taungs Baby was the oldest dolicephalic, or long-headed, specimen fossil to emerge. Dart's memoirs (1959) carefully charted the changes in Keith's pronouncements on the controversy. Sir Arthur presided over the 1927 meeting at Leeds of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. After two years of debate and close inspection of the Taungs Baby, Lord Keith "pointedly" made no mention of Australopithecus whatsoever, while he championed the authenticity and importance of Eoanthropus (Piltdown Man) and Pithecanthropus (Java Man, or Homo erectus). In a chapter of J.A. Hammerton's (1927) The Universal History of the World, Arthur Keith noted that Raymond Dart had claimed the Taungs Baby to be a "missing link" between primates and humans. Sir Arthur Keith rejected this claim in the text of Hammerton's ‘definitive' text, using his authority to derogate Raymond Dart's important concept.
By 1929 Dart had the support of Lancelot Hogben, professor of Zoology at Cape Town University, who equated R.A. Dart to A. Keith, and considered them equally astute scientists. Also in 1929 W.K. Gregory, the curator of comparative anatomy at the American Museum of Natural History came out in favor of Dart in the Taungs Baby controversy. In a careful comparison of dental aspects, Dr. Gregory found twenty characteristics of Taungs Baby to be nearer to Homo sapiens, two characteristics of Taungs Baby to be nearer the gorilla, three characteristics common to ‘chimpanzees, gorillas and mankind,' plus one element ‘common to apes but not man' and no dental feature ‘nearer to ape than man.' "In light of all this additional evidence, if Australopithecus is not literally a missing link...what conceivable combination of ape and human characters would ever be admitted as such?" After Dr. Gregory, the German anthropologist T. Adloff also came to the same conclusion as Dart and stated unequivocally that Taungs Baby was a hominid. At this point (1930-1931) Dart completed his eight-month-long rigorous and Livingstone-esque (or Indiana Jones-esque?) motorized traversa of Africa and returned to London "bronzed and feeling like a Rider Haggard character...confident enough to tackle anything." He was again premature in his optimism, and disappointments were again on the horizon for the paleo-neurologist.
On February 17, 1931, Dart joined Elliot Smith, Sir Arthur Keith and Sir Arthur Smith Woodward (Chairman) for a conference at the London Zoological Society. Armed with plaster cast samples and compelling lantern slides, Eliot Smith gave a "masterful" address on the culture of Sinanthropus. Dart followed with an extemporaneous and disappointing "anticlimax" talk concerning Taungs Baby and the australopithecine's mental development. "What a pitiful difference between this fumbling account and Elliot Smith's skillful demonstration!" as Dart would write later in his memoirs. Although he gave a better talk the next night at the Royal Society Club, the Royal Society decided not to publish Dart's complete monograph on Taungs Baby and the "missing link" aspects of Australopithicus. This failure to publish in London was a pivotal event for Dart, he abandoned the Taungs Baby project for many years after the 1931 setback.
Dart spent the next few years investigating the Bushmen. In the 1930s he developed a radical theory of Asian origins for the Bushmen, he argued for pervasive Indian Ocean migrations during the Pleistocene period, and deduced this from the fossil and cultural records of prehistoric Rhodesia.
In 1939 the aforementioned Dr. W.K.Gregory and Milo Hellman published an article supporting Dart in the Journal of the American Dental Association, entitled "South African Fossil Man-Apes and Origin of the Human Dentition." Dart considered this article to "mark the turning point in attitudes of most scientists in America, Britain and the Continent." The carnivorous nature of the Taungs Baby, and its branching away from frugivorous primates, as well as Dart's theory on the advanced brain type of Taungs Baby were now accepted. Dart's protégé, Robert Broom, was now actively championed the South African school; Dr. Franz Weidenreich also aligned with Dart's point of view.
In 1946 (little anthropological work was done during the 1939-1945 period) another book was published by R. Broom and G.W.H. Schepers supporting the Dart theory of 1925, and this brought the acquiescence of Dart's nemesis, Sir Arthur Keith.
A few quotations show the degree of Keith's about-face on the Taungs Baby controversy. In a letter to Broom he stated, "Whatever theory one holds of human evolution, man as we know him must have passed through such a stage as is represented by the Australopets [sic] I agree they may be direct descendants of such a stage."
In a different letter Keith said, "No doubt the South African anthropoids are much more human than I had originally supposed." Finally in 1947 (twenty-two years after Dart's thesis) Arthur Keith wrote to Nature:
When Professor Dart of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, announced in Nature the discovery of a juvenile Australopithecus and claimed for it a human kinship, I was one of those who took the point of view that when the adult form was discovered it would prove to be nearer akin to the living African anthropoids-the gorilla and the chimpanzee. Like professor Le Gros Clark I am now convinced on the evidence submitted by Dr. R. Bloom that Professor Dart was right and I was wrong. The Australopithecinae are in or near the line which culminated in the human form...ground-living anthropoids, human in posture, gait and dentition. (A. Keith quoted in R. Dart, 1959: 81)
III. Makaganspat Tools and the ‘Osteodontokeratic' Culture Controversy
Whatever the magnitude of Raymond Dart's discovery of Australopithecus and his neurological theory of their mental capacity might be, a larger debate was engendered by his work on Makapansgat. The theory of a pre-lithic "Bone Age" stimulates hot debate today. The place of the Taungs Baby and the debate over Australopithicinae with Sir Arthur Keith are long settled in favor of Dr. Dart, but the implications of Dr. Dart's second great theory are still in contention. Unlike the controversy of 1925-1947, this contested arena is not susceptible to a ‘case-closed' summary, the arguments on both sides have been cogent and incisive. While many scientists have differed from Dart on the meaning of the faunal remains found in the limestone brecciae, C.K. ‘Bob' Brain has emerged as the most eloquent of the anti-Dart theorists in this contested field. The consensus supports Brain in many aspects, but the compelling nature of the original Dart proposals have been embraced by a vocal minority.
Whatever the final outcome, Dart's monograph on the Makapansgat material will retain its value as a potent exposition of quantified theory. Makapansgat contained over 7000 faunal remains, and Dart carefully identified and interpreted these bones. His conclusions were surprising and ambitious, as usual. He established a theory that the bones found in the cave were in fact a tool assemblage, with scrapers, cutters, clubs, daggers and awls. The relative frequency of certain type bones were interpreted in masterful and compelling detail, leaving a clear picture of a pre-lithic tool using culture.
Much as Piltdown Man and Aryan/Orientalism had clouded the debate of the 1920s, the field of anthropology at mid-century was affected by a bias concerning stone implements.
Stone tools were being found in mounting numbers, and clear cultural traditions were inferred for the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic period. Olduwan, Acheulian and Mousterian stone tools were type markers in the Old World and the Clovis technology demarcated New World views of human cultural development. When Dart worked at Makapansgat, a ‘cult' of rock industry largely drove his contemporaries' approach to the history of primordial mankind, stone culture marked human developmental milestones.
Dart found a cultural tool technology outside of the emerging stone-tool ‘gospel.' He found a human logic behind the selective bone remains of the Plio-Pleistocene limestone brecciae. He showed logic in the bones and pointed to conscious tool-using. This approach gave Australopithecus, an upright and bipedal anthropoid/hominid, power over slaughtering, butchering and high-protein scavenging. The monograph proved its case both statistically and graphically. The bones found in the cave were almost exclusively those of the head and limbs. The absence of vertebral and other post-cranial remains was convincingly explained as a conscious choice made by the tool assembling australopithecines. The great canines, horns, mandibles and femurs of bovids were posited as human tools, and the culture of using these common-sense materials for survival was named the awkwardly compound term "osteodontokeratic culture." In lighter moments Dart himself would refer to the tradition as the "Bone Age" or the "Bone and Antler Industry." A theory of early man using and working with non-stone tools in a pre-stone age was appealing to many, but appalling to others.
This debate is essentially a philosophical contest, between those who stress violence, hunting and carnivorous behavior and those who see a more placid and vegetarian human condition. L.S.B. Leakey generally supports Dart, and claims that early man was in fact an animal, and behaved as one. Frederick S. Szalay (1975) saw Pleistocene man as a consumer of meat, not seeds. The "strong vertical incisors and incisiform canines must have been tools to tear and grasp meat and fascia," when hunted or scavenged and "large pongid like canines would interfere with this."
Meat as the strong preference in genus Homo is also proposed by Katherine Milton. She sees the dominance of the small intestine as an indication that the "routine inclusion of meat in weaned children seems mandatory."
Dart put forward evidence of a consciously amassed tool assemblage, and he specifically debunked the theory that other carnivores (specifically the hyena) brought the bones into the cave. Although Dart presented a convincing case that hyenas do not in fact assemble bones in their lairs, this was the core of later assaults on his interpretation. Dart showed that hyenas can eat and digest donkey heads, and rarely if ever leave uneaten bones around. Brain (1968) came to the opposite conclusion, attributing the bones to hyenas. Neal T. Boaz is one writer who sides strongly with Brain in the controversy over how the bones were collected in the brecciae. He states, probably too categorically, that the bones of Makagaspat were not australopithecines', but rather were dropped by "leopards and saber tooth lions" into the cave. He concurs with Bob Brain that the bones had passed through the digestive systems of hyenas, which Dart would certainly reject. Finally Boaz rejected Dart's conclusion that the depressions in the skulls of game animals were not made by twin headed femurs used as clubs, but were effects of sedimentation pressure. Boaz characterizes Dart as the source of the prologue to 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick and rails against the "Killer Ape" model of African Genesis by Robert Ardrey and the conclusions of Desmond Morris as influenced by Dart's "killer ape."
Mary E. Clark embraces the pacifist vision of Bob Brain in toto. She sees the early hominid hunting scenario as a sexist construct and minimizes hunting as a possible behavior. She claims that Dart was "completely wrong." She sees a matriarchal and cooperative basis for human development and sees the tool assemblage, butchery, and scavenging scenarios as utterly repugnant. She believes in a noble savage, a pre-history devoted to peaceful co-existence and communal vegetarian norms. In this she may be fond, naïve or romanticizing the past, or falling into an axiomatic, teleological and politically correct circular revisionism far removed from Paleolithic behavior and the rock record.
Lee Berger follows Dart, and sees migration and game-following in the last 500,000 years, at least. "Game moving through the mountain pass was easier to kill than on the open grasslands. The dead animals were then carried back to the cave, where the meat was eaten and the skins and bones turned into weapons and clothes." This scenario is to some observers only self-evident, however the debate continues, and it is often informed by post-modern sensitivities about nationalism, race, gender and the fluctuating ideals constructed for human behavior. Were australopithecines hunters, or the hunted?
Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History takes no opinion, but documents three others' opinions. "Lewis Binford concluded that the putative killer Homo habilis had in fact been a scavenger....on the other hand, analysis of the cut marks left on some of the bones suggested to the archaeologists Henry Bunn and Ellen Kroll that stone tools had in fact been used to dismember the higher yielding parts of the animals" indicating they had killed the animals or chased off the large carnivore that had killed the game. Tattersall sees the academy as split on the issue with most leaning toward scavenging rather than hunting, and against a weapon and butchery tools assemblage.
The specifics of the Dart analysis of the site at Makaganspat-as opposed to more general debate over the philosophical and sociological implications of hunting and meat scavenging, was addressed in an extended debate in a major journal in the mid-1970s. Donald Wolberg stated that the Dart thesis was flawed and strongly supported the Brain revisions. This followed on the heels of the original Brain (1968, 1969) papers, which centered on refuting Dart's (1959) elimination of the role of hyenas. Brain used current Hottentot examples and strangely divergent conclusions (visavis Dart) concerning hyenas' behaviors. He put forth the theory that only a casual and random collection of bones were in the brecciae, that no tool assemblage was ever found at Makapansgat.
Catherine E. Read-Martin at this point in the 1970s became the principle proponent of the Dart position, and she found Dart's original analysis of the osteodontokeratic nature of the bone assembly to be credible and compelling.
Catherine Read-Martin developed research into the Makaganspat deposits in her (unpublished) UCLA dissertation, and she put an abbreviated form of the thesis into Current Anthropology in late 1975. She was as dismissive of Brain as Brain was of Dart. She pointed out that a controversy still raged over the interpretation of Makaganspat. She cited Brain, Wolberg and Isaak (1970) as sponsors of the revisionist view.
"Brain (1969)has pointed out similarities between Makaganspat and goat bones of Hottentots." She states that Brain admitted that "hominid activity, scavenging by other animals and differential preservation" were undoubtedly important, but states bluntly that Brain "ignores tool usage." In her major article in Current Anthropology, (which ran a series of comments, replies and counter-replies) Read-Martin and her co-author Dwight W. Read stated their conclusions:
....most of the contentions on all sides have been speculative and with little firm support...[however]...the fragmentary animal remains from Makaganspat Limeworks Cavern are shown to support Dart's contention that these hominids scavenged from Bovids killed by large carnivores and that [australopithecus] often used animal remains as tools...[this] suggests a role for scavenging in the hominid morphological and behavioral evolution. (Catherine Read-Martin, 1975)
In the subsequent issue, Andrew Hill calls the Dart theory an "attractive model" to explain the anomalous faunal remains, and clearly states that carnivore action and differential preservation cannot explain the spiral fractures and the fact that mandibles were often divided sectionally "for use as tools." In a further Reply, Richard G. Forbis of Calgary lambasted the Read-Martin paper and the Dart theory as "sheer speculation." Robson Bonnichsen in a discussion/criticism addendum indicated that the bone count and lack of randomness that Dart saw at Makaganspat showed obvious "hominid activity" and characterized critics as supporters of non-cultural theories leaning on differential weathering, carnivore and rodent activity which Bonnichsen found less than compelling, as it ignored manifest tool usage related to the bones.
The monograph Dart presented in Pretoria in 1959 is an elegant, thoughtful and exhaustive review of hominid tool use in the late australopithecine era. His statistical, behavioral and graphic support for the theory retain their cogency. The antler thrust into the femur, the toolbox organization and the drawings of grasped specimens are intuitive. Brain's (1968) paper leaned heavily on assumptions about the behavior of hyenas which may or may not be compelling, and the ambiguous markings on the bones are interpreted in various ways by opposing parties. The selection and arrangement of certain tool-like bones is a compelling argument for hominid osteodontokeratic culture. The obvious utility of mandibles, canines, femurs and ulnae make Dart's program hard to disprove.
The debate has been subsumed into larger philosophical and sociological debates over diet and behavior. The original work retains its convincing power and Dart's discovery of a pre-lithic tool assemblage, while contested, made a large contribution to understanding early hominid behavior and culture. While many see the jaws, femurs, horns and mandibles as only so many random accretions in the den of a hyena, many observers cling to the logic of a primordial man fascinated by the potential usefulness of enamel, bone and horns-in the dimly understood era before any stone tool culture had dawned.
Raymond Dart led four generations of anthropologists with insight, courage and patience. He was fortunately placed to be able to deal competently with the fossils coming to light across Southern Africa in the 1920s. While building up the Medical School at Witwatersrand, he developed theories for the symbolic rock markings in Rhodesia and postulated a diffusionist (ex-migration/in-migration) racial theory for Africa.
He named Homo habilis a favor to his colleague Louis Leakey and also named australopithecus, after he had investigated the posterior lying midbrain lobe and articulated lunate sulcus of the Taungs Baby. By interpreting a tool assemblage found in a South African limestone quarry as a butcher shop, he gained notoriety and cleaved the anthropological mentalitie of the twentieth century. Raymond Dart, Victorian, Edwardian, World War II veteran, Cold War Era scientist and ninety-five year old emeritus of human anthropology, Raymond Dart experienced five full generational transitions of international scientific development, while all along retaining his courage, patience and analytic insight.
Chronology of the Taungs Baby Controversy
Dart receives the Taungs fossil and brain cast from his student, Josephine Salmons.
Nature publishes Dart's groundbreaking work on Australopithecus africanus
Sir Arthur Keith, W.L.H. Duckworth, Sir Andrew Smith Woodward oppose Dart.
Sir Grafton Elliot Smith demurs. British Empire Exhibition.
Keith publishes against Dart theory in Hammerton's book, declares for Piltdown.
T. Adloff, Lancelot Hogben and W.K. Gregory all support Dart theory.
Smith, Keith and Woodward show no interest in Dart's Theory at London Zoological Exhibition, Royal Society declines to publish Dart's monograph. Dart ceases work on Taungs and Australopithecus.
Milo Hellman and W.K. Gregory publish in support of Dart theory.
Henri Breuil publishes "Bone and Antler Industry of Choukoutien Sinanthropus"
R. Broom, G.W.H. Schepers and Franz Weidenreich publish in support of Dart theory. Schepers and Broom win the Giraud Award.
Sir Arthur Keith issues full retraction in Nature, after 22 years. Cites the work of Broom and fully vindicates Dart's theory that ‘Taungs Baby' was a hominid anthropoid in the human ancestral line.
Chronology of the Makapansgat Osteodontokeratic Culture Controversy
Makapansgat Cave the site of Kruger siege, 2000 killed.
W.L. Distant publishes on the skulls found inside Makapansgat.
Wilfrid Eitzmann sends Dr. Dart some fossils from Makapansgat.
C. Van Riet Rowe finds handaxes and the ‘Cave of Hearths' at Makapansgat.
Dart returns to Makapansgat for systematic search.
Dart publishes "Predatory implemental technique of the australopithicines."
Dart publishes "The Osteodontokeratic Culture of Australopithecus Prometheus"
Brain publishes "The Transvaal Ape-Man-Bearing Cave Deposits"
Kitching publishes "Bone, Tooth and Horn Tools of Paleolithic Man" in Britain.
Desmond Morris publishes "The Naked Ape"
Brain publishes "Who Killed the Swartkrans Ape Men?"
Brain publishes work on Hottentots, Hyenas and Bone accumulation theory.
Walberg publishes "The Hypothesized Osteodontokeratic Culture."
Catherine Read-Martin and Dwight Read publish "Australopithecine Scavenging."
Hill counters Read-Martin, against Dart with "Carnivora and Weathering."
Boaz publishes "Quarry" against Dart.
Catherine Milton publishes "Meat Eating" in support of Dart.
Mary Clark publishes "In Search of Human Nature" against Dart.
David Shanet Clark, M.Ed.