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Anthropology of the Numa: John Wesley Powell's Manuscripts on the Numic Peoples of Western North America, 1868-1880
Don D. Fowler and Catherine S. Fowler, editors
307 pages, 36 figures, 9 maps, 1 table
1971 (Date of Issue: 10 December 1971)
Vol. 14, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.14.1
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Between 1868 and 1880, John Wesley Powell conducted intermittent linguistic, ethnographic, and folklore studies among the Numic-speaking Indians of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau areas of western North America. The data from these studies were recorded in over seventy unpublished manuscripts, deposited in the Bureau of American Ethnology manuscript collection of the Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives. Although Powell intended to write a general “Report on the Numa,” his increasing administrative duties after 1879 precluded completion of the project. The Powell manuscripts relating to the “Numa” have been collated, edited and annotated, and presented herein. The materials include general ethnographic data, a variety of myths and tales, and extensive vocabulary lists of various Numic languages and dialects.

Biesterfeldt: A Post-Contact Coalescent Site on the Northeastern Plains
W. Raymond Wood
109 pages, 16 figures, 20 plates, 9 tables
1971 (Date of Issue: 17 August 1971)
Vol. 15, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.15.1
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Biesterfeldt is a fortified village of about sixty earth lodges on the Sheyenne River in eastern North Dakota. A large central earth lodge faces a central plaza, with dwellings randomly set elsewhere in the village. The site setting, village plan, and structures are like those of historic Mandan and Arikara villages. Pottery attributes are well within the range of sedentary Missouri River groups, and only a few elements distinguish Biesterfeldt pottery from that of the Arikara. The site is dated about 1750 to 1790, when trade goods had displaced many native tools of bone and stone. In the thirty years since W. D. Strong dug the site, new data have accumulated which require revisions in the interpretation of the Biesterfeldt component: the artifact complex conforms to that of Post-Contact Coalescent sites of the Plains Village pattern in the Missouri River trench to the west.

The identification of Biesterfeldt as Cheyenne is based on circumstantial evidence; its occupants are uncertain, but the Cheyenne provide the most economical hypothesis. The Cheyenne migration from the Minnesota area was by individual groups, not as a tribal body. Sedentary villages on the Minnesota River and on the Missouri were coeval with the village (or villages) on the Sheyenne River. The latter river valley was occupied after 1700, perhaps by 1724, and was abandoned about 1790.

Present data suggest the Sheyenne-James region was a marginal one in the Northeastern Plains sub-area. It was not occupied by groups moving from the Missouri valley; rather, horticultural groups in the Northeastern Plains may have been subjected to cultural processes analogous to those which were responsible for the development of the Coalescent tradition in the Missouri valley. Thus, they participated in the development of the Plains Village pattern in an area well removed from the Missouri River, where the Coalescent tradition reached its fullest expression.

The Missouri River was crossed by some Cheyenne in the 1600s, and the last of them abandoned it about 1840, providing about two centuries for the tribe as a whole to abandon a settled horticultural way of life. A review of purported Cheyenne sites along the Missouri River reveals that none of them are clearly identifiable as such. Only three of these village locations are not now flooded by the Oahe Reservoir: one of them is near the Heart River, and two are on the Grand River. The Cheyenne movement onto the High Plains was motivated by settling an area advantageous for trade purposes, rich in bison, and temporarily removed from military pressure by the Dakota.

Environmental Archeology and Cultural Systems in Hamilton Inlet, Labrador: A Survey of the Central Labrador Coast from 3000 B.C. to the Present
William W. Fitzhugh
299 pages, 80 figures, 87 plates, 30 tables
1972 (Date of Issue: 31 May 1972)
Vol. 16, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.16.1
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This monograph presents the results of a two-year investigation of the prehistoric and contemporary cultural geography of the Hamilton Inlet region of the central Labrador coast. Previously archeologically unknown, this 200-mile estuary cross-cuts the boreal-tundra ecotone and is an area in which there exists contemporary cultural diversity, including Eskimos, Indians, white trappers, and codfishermen. Until recently these cultures maintained distinctly different settlement patterns and economies and existed in basically a hunting and gathering tradition.

These cultures provide models of potential prehistoric cultural diversity for an archeological study involving regional environmental and cultural analysis, which resulted in contributions to culture history, paleoenvironmental studies, and the role of ecology and adaptive configurations in the cultural geography of the region through time. The study is divided into five parts, including methods of cultural ecology, the natural environment, the contemporary cultural environment, the prehistoric cultural environment, and configuration and adaptation patterns.

Two regional sequences for Hamilton Inlet are proposed. The sequence for the forested interior at North West River represents 3500 years of Indian occupation and includes eight cultural units. The Groswater Bay sequence contains nine units which constitute both Indian and Eskimo occupations on the coast, Two of these units—Groswater Dorset and Ivuktoke (Labrador Eskimo)—are Eskimo, while the remainder are Indian and extend back to about 2500 B.C. At least four different cultural traditions are represented in the combined sequences of the two areas. The Maritime Archaic Tradition (2500-1800 B.C.) is the first major occupation. A second Indian tradition is the Shield Archaic of the Canadian boreal forest, here dating to the early centuries A.D. In addition, two Eskimo traditions are seen—Dorset culture of the Arctic Small Tool Tradition (800-200 B.C. in Hamilton Inlet) and Thule-derived Labrador Eskimo, who arrived in central Labrador from the north about A.D. 1500. Other cultural relationships can be seen, but no clear traditions have been defined. The lack of Eskimo culture in central Labrador at the time of the Viking visits indicates that here at least the Skraelings were Indians of the Algonkian linguistic stock. Algonkian related cultures can be traced back archeologically to about A.D. 600 in central Labrador.

A functional analysis of nine archeological units resulted in the definition of culture-specific subsistence-settlement systems for these groups. From this emerged a typology and comparative analysis for these systems. Four basic adaptation patterns were identified, including Interior, Modified-Interior, Modified-Maritime, and Interior-Maritime types, as well as three adaptive processes. These adaptation patterns and the processes forming them have changed through time as a result of culture-historical and ecological pressures. Theoretical and descriptive ecological data is presented to explain shifts in subsistence-settlement systems and adaptation patterns. A hypothesis is developed and tested with ethnographic and archeological data which suggests that culture change in Labrador is a reflection of differences in the structures of terrestrial and marine ecology. This hypothesis explains much of the great diversity of the prehistoric Indian populations of the region and supports the contention of more stability for Eskimo cultures of the coast. Finally, it appears that climatic control, operating through changes in the prevalence of forest fires, winter icing of caribou feeding grounds, and shifts of sea-ice distribution, have had important effects on cultural development and diversity.

The Long Sword and Scabbard Slide in Asia
William Trousdale
332 pages, 100 figures, 24 plates, 5 tables
1975 (Date of Issue: 8 May 1975)
Vol. 17, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.17.1
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The scabbard slide is a distinctive carrying device developed 2,500 years ago for the long, iron, equestrian sword. The history of the long sword and scabbard slide in Asia begins and ends in the same region, the steppelands of the southern Ural mountains. The association of this weapon and its suspension device endured for a thousand years, during which time it may be observed among many settled and nomadic cultures between China and the Mediterranean, and even beyond, as far west as France and England. The present study is an attempt to evaluate the significance of this association in its broadest cultural sense in terms of an aspect of weapons history among the peoples in Asia who employed the long sword and scabbard slide.

Reconstruction of Demographic Profiles from Ossuary Skeletal Samples: A Case Study from the Tidewater Potomac
Douglas H. Ubelaker
79 pages, 27 figures, 45 tables
1974 (Date of Issue: 8 August 1974)
Vol. 18, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.18.1
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The excavation and analysis of two Late Woodland ossuaries from the Juhle site (18CH89) in southern Maryland are described in detail. The report includes a discussion of archeological features of the ossuaries, but emphasizes the reconstruction of population profiles derived from the analysis of the recovered skeletal samples. Ethnohistorical and archeological sources are consulted to suggest that ossuaries contain nearly all individuals who died in the contributing populations during culturally prescribed numbers of years and, consequently, offer somewhat unique opportunities for demographic analysis.

Several methods are employed to estimate the chronological age at death of individuals in both ossuaries. Subadult ages are derived from the formation and eruption of the teeth and from the maximum length of the femora. Adult ages are calculated from examinations of the symphyseal faces of the pubes and the degree of microscopic cortical remodeling in the femora. The latter method involved the preparation of 151 ground thin sections taken from the anterior cortices of the right femora, and it represents the first application of Kerley's relatively new method (1965) to a large archeological population. The resulting death curves are compared and the methods evaluated. Data from the most reliable of these age-determinative methods are used to calculate curves of mortality and survivorship, life tables, and crude mortality rates for the populations represented.

Population estimates are attempted by utilizing the crude mortality rates (calculated from the life tables), the length of time represented by each ossuary (calculated from archeological data), and the total numbers of individuals in the ossuaries. The resulting population size estimates are considered against both archeological and ethnohistorical data to suggest the nature of the sociopolitical unit serviced by the ossuaries. Finally, both local and regional population-size estimates are compared with those estimated by others using different types of data.

The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacantán
Robert M. Laughlin
598 pages, 5 figures, 5 maps, 6 tables
1975 (Date of Issue: 17 December 1975)
Vol. 19, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.19.1
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This dictionary of Tzotzil (Mayan) vocabulary from the town of Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico, was compiled by the author over a period of fourteen years. In addition to unsystematic data gathering in Zinacantán, formal interviews were conducted in San Cristóbal. Two Zinacantec men accompanied the author to the United States on two occasions for further interviewing. All hypothetically possible CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) roots were tested to discover their existence and to determine their productivity. In addition to verbal suggestions, props were helpful: objects in everyday use, dolls, sound-effect records, play-acting. Special attention was directed to ethnobotanical lexicon and data; over 3000 specimens were collected and identified both by their Tzotzil name and by their scientific name. With the aid of aerial photographs and ground surveys the township and adjoining areas were mapped. Over one thousand place names were located. A system was developed to present considerable ethnographic context for the vocabulary within each root as succinctly as possible. Wherever possible, the etymology of loan words is indicated. Each entry is furnished with grammatical analysis. The approximately 30,000 Tzotzil entries and 15,000 English entries (including scientific names) were placed on magnetic tape to permit offset printing and further scholarly investigation. The body of the text is preceded by an introduction that records the eliciting techniques, organization of material, assessment and justification of the author's ethnographic approach, together with a sample of Tzotzil oral literature. Explanatory notes provide a more technical description of the contents and organizations of the dictionary as well as observations on Tzotzil grammar.

The Walakpa Site, Alaska: Its Place in the Birnirk and Thule Cultures
Dennis J. Stanford
226 pages, 29 figures, 119 plates, 10 tables
1976 (Date of Issue: 1 December 1976)
Vol. 20, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.20.1
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An archeological survey directed by the author near Point Barrow, Alaska, during the summer of 1968 resulted in the discovery of Walakpa, a deeply stratified coastal Eskimo site. It contained over 20 occupation levels, showing the development of Eskimo culture from Birnirk to Thule, as well as earlier and later Eskimo occupation levels. On the basis of excavations at Walakpa during 1968 and 1969, previous estimates of Birnirk and Thule origins are reexamined and a new interpretation of the genesis of this Eskimo culture proposed.

Specifically, on the basis of the Point Barrow excavations, this monograph (1) examines the development of the Birnirk and Thule Eskimo cultures and (2) provides definitions for the horizon markers for each of the Eskimo stages represented at Walakpa. As a result of this detailed study, the author concludes that (1) Birnirk developed out of Old Bering Sea; (2) Birnirk can be divided into three phases: Early, A.D. 500-700, Middle, A.D. 700-800, and Late, A.D. 800-900; (3) Thule Eskimo culture developed directly out of Birnirk; and (4) the development from Birnirk to Thule took place because of over-utilization of seals as the primary food resource and a change to a warmer climatic regime that further depleated the already weak seal resource, resulting in an increased use of whales for food and an expansion of hunting territories to the east.

Traditional Pottery Techniques of Pakistan: Field and Laboratory Studies
Owen S. Rye and Clifford Evans
283 pages, 38 figures, 82 plates, 15 tables
1976 (Date of Issue: 1 November 1976)
Vol. 21, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.21.1
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The first part of this work deals with detailed observations obtained during four field expeditions (1967-1971) in Pakistan, for pottery making of unglazed ware in 13 areas and glazed ware in 5 major centers.

For each center a brief outline of the area is given, followed by an outline of the potter's craft under the following guidelines: tools and equipment, materials gathering and preparation, forming and finishing techniques, decoration (including slips and pigments), glazing, kilns and firing, and types of ware. Most of the common pottery-making techniques in Pakistan are included although fieldwork was primarily in the Northwest Frontier Province and Panjab. Pottery-related crafts such as brickmaking and tanur (bread oven) making are briefly discussed.

In the second part of this work detailed relationships between pottery-making techniques, outlined in the first section, are developed under the headings of tools and equipment, materials, forming and finishing techniques, slips, pigments and colorants, glazes, and kilns and firing. Technical studies include mineralogy studies of clays and tempering materials, particle size distribution studies of nonplastic tempering materials, and electron microprobe analyses of fired glazes.

The monograph provides essential data for use in comparative studies of archeological ceramics from Pakistan, as well as a detailed record of the rapidly disappearing pottery crafts of that country, including five appendixes and a glossary.

Of Wonders Wild and New: Dreams from Zinacantán
Robert M. Laughlin
178 pages, 14 figures
1976 (Date of Issue: 9 August 1976)
Vol. 22, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.22.1
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This collection of 260 dream texts from Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico, was recorded in Tzotzil, primarily during 1963, and subsequently translated by the author into English. Dreams are ascribed considerable importance by the Zinacantecs, who see them not merely as portents of future events, but as actual, present encounters of the individual's soul, both in its contest with the souls of hostile humans and in communication with the deities. Dreams inform an individual of his capacity as a musician, a bonesetter, a midwife, or a shaman.

Over one hundred dream motifs are given standard interpretations by the Zinacantecs, who modify them to fit personal situations.

Included here are the dreams of eleven Zinacantecs, two of whom were shamans. Their richness of dialogue and imagery represent a hitherto much neglected aspect of Middle American culture. The dreams are accompanied by ethnographic commentary.

Of Cabbages and Kings: Tales from Zinacantán
Robert M. Laughlin
427 pages, 11 figures, 8 maps
1977 (Date of Issue: 16 December 1977)
Vol. 23, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology
DOI: 10.5479/si.00810223.23.1
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This collection of 173 folktales, myths, legends, and personal reminiscences from Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico was recorded in Tzotzil, primarily in 1960, but also in 1963, 1968, and 1971. Zinacantec oral literature as represented here in the contributions of nine individuals, eight men and one woman, constitutes a small part of the community's awareness of past and present. The narrative style is no different from that of everyday speech. The form and content of the tales may vary considerably from one telling to the next. While a good number of tale motifs show unmistakable European provenience, others, apparently native to Middle America, are widely represented throughout southern Mexico and Guatemala, with a far smaller number restricted to the Chiapas highlands. The Tzotzil texts, with free English translations, are accompanied by linguistic, ethnographic, and folkloristic commentary.

Displaying 21 - 30 from the 61 total records