Texas A&M University Press

Texas A&M University Anthropology Series

Steele, D. Gentry

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

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Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China

By Hong Shang and Erik Trinkaus

For more than a century, scientists have returned time and again to the issue of modern human emergence-the when and where of the evolutionary process and the human behavioral and biological dynamics involved. The 2003 discovery of a human partial skeleton at Tianyuandong (Tianyuan Cave) excited worldwide interest. The first human skeleton from the region to be directly radiocarbon-dated (to 40,000 years before present), its geological age places it close to the time period during which modern humans became permanently established across the Old World (between 50,000 and 35,000 years ago). Through detailed description and interpretation of the most complete early modern human skeleton from eastern Asia, The Early Modern Human from Tianyan Cave, China, addresses long-term questions about the ancestry of modern humans in eastern Asia and the nature of the changes in human behavior with the emergence of modern human biology. This book is a detailed, paleontological and paleobiological presentation of this skeleton, its context, and its implications. By providing basic information for this important human fossil, offering inferences concerning the population processes involved in modern human emergence in eastern Eurasia, and by raising questions concerning the adaptations of these early modern human hunter-gatherers, The Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China will take its place as a core contribution to the study of modern human emergence.

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From the Pleistocene to the Holocene

Human Organization and Cultural Transformations in Prehistoric North America

Edited by C. Britt Bousman and Bradley J. Vierra

The end of the Pleistocene era brought dramatic environmental changes to small bands of humans living in North America: changes that affected subsistence, mobility, demography, technology, and social relations. The transition they made from Paleoindian (Pleistocene) to Archaic (Early Holocene) societies represents the first major cultural shift that took place solely in the Americas. From the Pleistocene to the Holocene: Human Organization and Cultural Transformations in Prehistoric North America provides an overview of the present state of knowledge regarding this crucial transformative period in Native North America.

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How War Began

By Keith F. Otterbein

Have humans always fought and killed each other, or did they peacefully coexist until states developed? Is war an expression of human nature or an artifact of civilization? Questions about the origin and inherent motivations of warfare have long engaged philosophers, ethicists, anthropologists as they speculate on the nature of human existence. In How War Began, author Keith F. Otterbein draws on primate behavior research, archaeological research, data gathered from the Human Relations Area Files, and a career spent in research and reflection on war to argue for two separate origins. He identifies two types of military organization: one which developed two million years ago at the dawn of humankind, wherever groups of hunters met, and a second which developed some five thousand years ago, in four identifiable regions, when the first states arose and proceeded to embark upon military conquests. In carefully selected detail, Otterbein marshals the evidence for his case that warfare was possible and likely among early Homo sapiens. He argues from analogy with other primates, from Paleolithic rock art depicting wounded humans, and from rare skeletal remains with embedded weapon points to conclude that warfare existed and reached a peak in big game hunting societies. As the big game disappeared, so did warfare—only to reemerge once agricultural societies achieved a degree of political complexity that allowed the development of professional military organizations. Otterbein concludes his survey with an analysis of how despotism in both ancient and modern states spawns warfare. A definitive resource for anthropologists, social scientists and historians, How War Began is written for all who are interested in warfare and individuals who seek to understand the past and the present of humankind.

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In Search of Maya Sea Traders

By Heather McKillop

Stone temples rising above the rainforest canopy and elaborate hieroglyphs carved onto stone monuments give silent testimony to the high culture of the Maya ancestors of the indigenous peoples of Central America. They have inspired generations of archaeologists, professional and avocational, to take to the field in search of the past. One such archaeologist is Heather McKillop, who in 1979 first visited the coast of Belize in search of a little-known aspect of ancient Maya life: the sea trade that helped move salt, obsidian, coral, and other goods around the interior of the empire. In 1982, she began bringing volunteers and students to the islands off the coast of Port Honduras, Belize. Since then she has returned many times to excavate sites that reveal the scope and diversity of the trade that passed by water throughout the Maya world. In this book, McKillop tells the story of the search for the Maya sea traders, as well as the story of the traders themselves as it emerges from the excavations. In Search of Maya Sea Traders describes the trading port of Wild Cane Cay, where exotic obsidian, jade, gold, and other goods—including highly crafted pots—were traded from distant lands. McKillop also tells us about the more coastal-inland trade of salt, seafood, and other marine resources. Through the story of her own work and that of her students and volunteers, McKillop models both the research design and the field work that are required to interpret the civilizations of the past. She includes the adventure of discovery, the challenges of working in wild environments (from snakes and rising sea levels to falling coconuts) and the tedium of daily measured digs in a near-tropical setting. Through her experiences, the reader also gets to know some of the local residents of Port Honduras and Wild Cane Cay, descendants of the ancient Maya. In Search of Maya Sea Traders will appeal to that part of each of us that longs to explore distant places and cultures, in quest of a seldom-glimpsed past.

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Osteology of Infants and Children

By Brenda J. Baker, Tosha L. Dupras and Matthew W. Tocheri; Illustrations by Sandra M. Wheeler

Most archaeologists and bioarchaeologists receive little or no training in the recognition of skeletal remains of fetuses, infants, and children. Yet many research sites may contain such materials. Without a framework for identifying the bones or the excavation techniques suited to their recovery, archaeologists may often overlook subadult skeletal remains or even confuse them with animal bones. The Osteology of Infants and Children fills the need for a field and lab manual on this important topic and provides a supplemental textbook for human osteology courses. Focusing on juvenile skeletons, their recovery and identification, and siding in both field and lab settings, the volume provides basic descriptions and careful illustrations of each skeletal element at varying stages of development, along with sections on differentiation from other bones and siding tips. The book offers detailed treatment of the skull and teeth, including the cranial vault and facial bones, and examines the infracranial skeleton: vertebrae, pelvis, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet. A quick reference guide explains age estimation and identification templates. The illustrations are enhanced by photographs from two recent archaeology projects in Egypt, at Abydos and Dakhleh Oasis. The extensive collection of fetal and child remains from these sites provides new reference material unavailable in previous publications, making this manual an unparalleled resource in the field of physical anthropology.

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The Prehistory of Texas

Edited by Timothy K. Perttula

Paleoindians first arrived in Texas more than eleven thousand years ago, although relatively few sites of such early peoples have been discovered. Texas has a substantial post-Paleoindian record, however, and there are more than fifty thousand prehistoric archaeological sites identified across the state. This comprehensive volume explores in detail the varied experience of native peoples who lived on this land in prehistoric times. Chapters on each of the regions offer cutting-edge research, the culmination of years of work by dozens of the most knowledgeable experts.

Based on the archaeological record, the discussion of the earliest inhabitants includes a reclassification of all known Paleoindian projectile point types and establishes a chronology for the various occupations. The archaeological data from across the state of Texas also allow authors to trace technological changes over time, the development of intensive fishing and shellfish collecting, funerary customs and the belief systems they represented, long-term changes in settlement mobility and character, landscape use, and the eventual development of agricultural societies. The studies bring the prehistory of Texas Indians all the way up through the Late Prehistoric period (ca. a.d. 700–1600).

The extensively illustrated chapters are broadly cultural-historical in nature but stay strongly focused on important current research problems. Taken together, they present careful and exhaustive considerations of the full archaeological (and paleoenvironmental) record of Texas.

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Race?

Debunking a Scientific Myth

Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle

Race has provided the rationale and excuse for some of the worst atrocities in human history. Yet, according to many biologists, physical anthropologists, and geneticists, there is no valid scientific justification for the concept of race. To be more precise, although there is clearly some physical basis for the variations that underlie perceptions of race, clear boundaries among “races” remain highly elusive from a purely biological standpoint. Differences among human populations that people intuitively view as “racial” are not only superficial but are also of astonishingly recent origin. In this intriguing and highly accessible book, physical anthropologist Ian Tattersall and geneticist Rob DeSalle, both senior scholars from the American Museum of Natural History, explain what human races actually are—and are not—and place them within the wider perspective of natural diversity. They explain that the relative isolation of local populations of the newly evolved human species during the last Ice Age—when Homo sapiens was spreading across the world from an African point of origin—has now begun to reverse itself, as differentiated human populations come back into contact and interbreed. Indeed, the authors suggest that all of the variety seen outside of Africa seems to have both accumulated and started reintegrating within only the last 50,000 or 60,000 years—the blink of an eye, from an evolutionary perspective. The overarching message of Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth is that scientifically speaking, there is nothing special about racial variation within the human species. These distinctions result from the working of entirely mundane evolutionary processes, such as those encountered in other organisms.  

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The Toyah Phase of Central Texas

Late Prehistoric Economic and Social Processes

Edited by Nancy A. Kenmotsu and Douglas K. Boyd

In the fourteenth century, a culture arose in and around the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas that represents the last prehistoric peoples before the cultural upheaval introduced by European explorers. This culture has been labeled the Toyah phase, characterized by a distinctive tool kit and a bone-tempered pottery tradition. ?Spanish documents, some translated decades ago, offer glimpses of these mobile people. Archaeological excavations, some quite recent, offer other views of this culture, whose homeland covered much of Central and South Texas. For the first time in a single volume, this book brings together a number of perspectives and interpretations of these hunter-gatherers and how they interacted with each other, the pueblos in southeastern New Mexico, the mobile groups in northern Mexico, and newcomers from the northern plains such as the Apache and Comanche.? Assembling eight studies and interpretive essays to look at social boundaries from the perspective of migration, hunter-farmer interactions, subsistence, and other issues significant to anthropologists and archaeologists, The Toyah Phase of Central Texas: Late Prehistoric Economic and Social Processes demonstrates that these prehistoric societies were never isolated from the world around them. Rather, these societies were keenly aware of changes happening on the plains to their north, among the Caddoan groups east of them, in the Puebloan groups in what is now New Mexico, and among their neighbors to the south in Mexico.

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