Monroe, Dr. James Cameron, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid 'The Cana Archaeological Survey'
DR. J. CAMERON MONROE, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Cana Archaeological Survey.' Urbanism has been a central focus of archaeological research for more than a century. Although archaeologists have long focused on the earliest cities, a variety of urban contexts that thrived in contact settings have emerged as ideal contexts in which to explore urbanism from a broader anthropological vantage point. The Cana Archaeological Survey examines the origins of Cana, a city on the Slave Coast of West Africa during the era of the slave trade (16th through 19th centuries AD). The project sought to understand the changing relationship between Cana, a major precolonial city of the kingdom of Dahomey, located in the modern Republic of Bénin, and its broader hinterlands over the course of the second millennium AD. The project employed systematic regional archaeological survey and test excavation around Cana to provide initial inferences into whether urbanism in Dahomey was: 1) a deeply rooted precontact phenomenon resulting from the close articulation of towns and their respective countrysides; or rather 2) a state-driven process driven by long-distance forces of the Atlantic Era. Collectively, archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence collected suggests that the latter was the case, providing a valuable window onto the political and economic forces shaping urban life in the tumultuous Atlantic Era.
Assefa, Dr. Zelalem, Smithsonian Inst., WDC; Pleurdeau, Dr. David, Institut de Paleontologie Humaine, Paris, France - To aid research on
'Archaeological Investigations of the Middle/Later Stone Age Occupation at Goda-Buticha, Southeastern Ethiopia'
DR. ZELALEM ASSEFA, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and DR. DAVID PLEURDEAU, Institut de Paleontologie Humaine, Paris, France, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in November 2010, to aid collaborative research on 'Archaeological Investiations of the Middle/Later Stone Age Occupation at Goda-Buticha, Southeastern Ethiopia.' This ICRG-funded project was the systematic excavation of Goda Buticha, a cave site in southeastern Ethiopia discovered during an archaeological survey in 2007. A test excavation conducted in 2008 at this site revealed well-stratified deposits containing a diversity of Later Stone Age (LSA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) material. A series of AMS and U-Th dates obtained in 2008 from charcoal and speleothem samples, respectively, provided dates ranging from mid-Holocene to 46 ka, but also indicated some complexities in the sedimentary and cultural sequence. The 2011 excavation at Goda Buticha clarified the sedimentary sequence and recovered a rich collection of archaeological materials using controlled excavation methods. Many LSA and MSA artifacts and faunal remains were recovered. Additional ostrich eggshell beads and isolated human skeletal remains were also found in the MSA levels. Sedimentological samples were collected for OSL dating and micro-morphological analysis. While thorough assessment of the significance of the site rests with the archaeological analysis and the chronometric dating that are in progress, the 2011 excavation has demonstrated the potential of Goda Buticha to provide insight into the late Middle Stone Age and later prehistory of the region.
Prendergast, Mary Elizabeth, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Forager Variability on the Eve of Food Production: Kansyore Subsistence Strategies in Kenya and Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Richard Henry Meadow
MARY E. PRENDERGAST, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Forager Variability on the Eve of Food Production: Kansyore Subsistence Strategies in Kenya and Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Richard Henry Meadow. This research involved excavation and/or analysis of seven archaeological sites in western Kenya and northern Tanzania, dated to 8,000-1,200 years ago. The common link between these sites, despite spanning a large geographic area and nearly seven millennia, is that they contain a pottery tradition called Kansyore. Kansyore ceramics have been postulated by others to be associated with 'delayed-return' hunter-gatherers, who should have differed markedly from 'immediate-return' hunter-gatherers known from modern ethnographies. The primary research goal was to test this hypothesis by using animal bone remains to understand diet. The surprising results show that, while the occupants of Kansyore sites in western Kenya were indeed specialized (and probably moderately delayed-return) fisher-hunters, they were also the first to adopt herding in this area. This contradicts assumptions that new ceramic traditions and domestic animals entered the region together. The northern Tanzanian sites produced a more complex picture, in which hunter-gatherers and herders appear to have lived side-by-side ca. 2000-1200 BP, using the hill and lakeshore landscapes differently. At two of these sites, ceramic traditions usually linked to herders are found associated with the remains of wild animals, suggesting that we must decouple conventional associations between material culture and economy.
Stump, Dr. Daryl, U. of York, York, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Long-term History of Indigenous Agriculture and Conservation Practices in Konso, Ethiopia'
Preliminary abstract: The twin concepts of sustainability and conservation that are so pivotal within current debates regarding economic development and biodiversity protection both contain an inherent temporal dimension, since both refer to the need to balance short-term gains with long-term resource maintenance. This point is not lost on proponents of resilience theory or advocates of development based on â€˜indigenous knowledgeâ€™, some of whom have argued for the necessity of including an archaeological, historical or palaeoenvironmental component within development project design. Although this suggests a renewed contemporary relevance for several anthropological sub-disciplines, it also raises theoretical and methodological concerns regarding archaeological imperatives for â€˜heritageâ€™ preservation, questions of local ownership, and long-standing debates about impartiality and political engagement. Moreover, it also prompts the fundamental question as to whether anthropology can truly claim to see and translate indigenous knowledge in the recent and distant past. The project outlined here is exploring these issues through a combination of archaeological, geoarchaeological, archival and interview-based research on the complex agro-ecological system at Konso, southwest Ethiopia; a system which is thought at present to have originally developed some 500 years ago, and has been described as comprising one of a select few 'lessons from the past' by a United Nations report on land conservation and rehabilitation in Africa (FAO 1990). The study aims to place the modern Konso agricultural system within its long-term context and to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the various ways in which anthropological research can engage with developmental and conservationist narratives.
Cunningham, Jerimy J., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Ceramic Consumption in the Inland Niger Delta: An Ethnoarchaeological Study,' supervised by Dr. Bruce G. Trigger
JERIMY J. CUNNINGHAM, while a student a McGill University in Montreal, Canada, received an award in February 2002 to aid ethnoarchaeological research on ceramic consumption in the inland Niger delta of Mali, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce G. Trigger. Cunningham investigated the exchange of ceramic vessels in the Djenne region both as a function of economic processes and as a reflection of consumption. In the first phase of the project, 124 potters located within a thirty-kilometer radius of the town of Djenne were interviewed about the economic and social contexts of their production and marketing strategies. In the second phase, one hundred consumer households were randomly selected from a region twenty kilometers in radius, centered on Djenne. The primary buyers of ceramic, plastic, aluminum, and enameled vessels were interviewed regarding their 'tastes' for specific objects, and a census was taken of all household containers. Census data were recorded for 1,829 vessels, including type of vessel, where it was purchased, the identity of the purchaser, the vessel's age, the type of exchange, and the object's location in the house. Cunningham's findings underscored the complex processes that affected the movement of household vessels on a regional scale. In particular, the data showed the complex ways in which ceramic production and marketing, and women's consumption of ceramic, plastic, aluminum, and enameled containers, related to gendered systems of exploitation among the region's patrilineal households.
Cunningham, Jerimy J. 2003. Rethinking Style in Archaeology' pp. in Essential Tensions in Archaeological Method and Theory (Eds. Todd L. VanPool and Christine S. VanPool), University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Cunningham, Jerimy, J. 2003. Transcending the ‘Obnoxious Spectator’: A Case for Prossesual Pluralism in Ethnoarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22:389-410.
Cunningham, Jerimy J., 2009. Pots and Political Economy: Enamel-Wealth, Gender, and Patriarchy in Mali. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(2):276-294.
Watts, Dr. Ian Douglas Somerled, Independent Scholar, Athens, Greece - To aid research on 'The Antiquity and Behavioural Implications of Pigment Use in the Northern Cape (South Africa),'
DR. IAN D.S. WATTS, an independent scholar in Athens, Greece, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'The Antiquity and Behavioral Implications of Pigment Use in the Northern Cape (South Africa).' Earth pigment use is widely considered to date back approximately 300,000 years (~300 ka), but several poorly documented claims have been made for earlier use, from Fauresmith and Acheulean contexts in South Africa's Northern Cape. This project evaluated these claims. At Kathu Pan, scraped specularite-a glittery form of haematite-is associated with some of the earliest blades and points, at ~500 ka. This is currently the earliest compelling evidence for pigment use. Utilized specularite and red pigments were recovered from an undated Fauresmith context at the back of Wonderwerk Cave, where firelight would have been essential. Specularite was also confirmed at Canteen Kopje, associated with early Middle Stone Age or Fauresmith material, with dating estimates for overlying deposits indicating a minimum age of ~300 ka. Claims for Acheulean pigments at Kathu Pan, Kathu Townlands, and Wonderwerk could not be confirmed; indeed, there is good evidence of absence. Minimum distances to specularite outcrops for Wonderwerk and Canteen Kopje are 50km and 170km respectively, with no natural agencies capable of reducing these distances. These findings lend some support to predictions of Power's 'female cosmetic coalitions' model of the evolution of symbolic culture, while challenging predictions of Kuhn's 'honest, low-cost signals' hypothesis.
Henshilwood, Dr. Christopher, U. of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; and Dr. Francesco d'Errico, U. de Bordeaux 1, Talence, France - To aid collaborative research on use of Nassarius kraussianus shells as ornamentation in southern Africa Middle Stone Age
DR. CHRISTOPHER HENSHILWOOD, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway, and DR. FRANCESCO D'ERRICO, Université de Bordeaux 1, Talence, France, received an International Collaborative Research Grant in October 2006, to aid collaborative research on the use of Nassarius kraussianus shells as ornamentation in southern Africa Middle Stone Age. The aim of this project was to investigate the human use of Nassarius kraussianus (Nk), as ornamentation during the Middle Stone Age and the Later Stone Age in southern Africa. In particular the collaborative research wanted to identify the factors (human choice vs. environmental conditions) playing a role in the size variability of Nk shell beads, and document and identify the causes (taphonomic vs. anthropogenic) of the modifications recorded on archaeological specimens (perforation, pigment staining, color change, use wear, heating). In order to achieve these goals, the researchers used optical and scanning electron microscopy, elemental analysis, and Raman spectroscopy to identify shell structure and composition, document changes under heating at different temperatures and in different environments, and differentiate them from changes produced by diagenetic processes. Optical and electron microscopy was also used to analyze use wear on archaeological and experimentally worn shells. Seven morphological (Perforation Type, Presence/absence of carnivore drills, Color, Location of use-wear, Age-class, State of completeness, Morphology of the Apex) and two morphometric variables (shell height and shell width) were systematically recorded on modern biocoenoses and thanatocoenosis of this species, as well as on two MSA, 37 LSA and seven burial sites (ca 5000 specimens).
Henshilwood, Christopher S., Francesco d’Errico, and Ian Watts. 2009 Engraved Ochres from the Middle Stone Age Levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 57(1):27-47.
LeJeune, Colin Thomas, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Local Earthenware Ceramic Decoration and Identity Transformation on Kenya's Swahili Coast, AD 1200-1500,' supervised by Dr. Sloan R. Williams
Preliminary abstract: Through archaeological survey and excavation of the Swahili Coast town of Manda, located in Kenya's Lamu Archipelago, the proposed project assesses the extent to which customary modes of social identity expression on the East African coast were transformed as a result of engagement with the pre-modern Indian Ocean World. Material assemblages excavated from Swahili town sites on the Kenyan coast suggest that decoration on locally produced Tana Tradition earthenware ceramics became less common and less complex after AD 1200. This development is contemporaneous with and may be related to the crystallization of class difference within Swahili society between AD 1200 and 1500. Engagement with the pre-modern Indian Ocean exchange network linking Africa and Asia was important to the development of class differentiation on the Swahili Coast. This project investigates how Tana Tradition ceramic decorative practices differed between Manda's elite and non-elite residents between AD 1200 and 1500. In doing so it evaluates the model that decoration on Tana Tradition ceramics was a means of expressing traditional modes of social identity on the Swahili Coast, and that emerging elites eschewed this system of status competition as part of their effort to engage the Indian Ocean World.
Mosothwane, Morongwa N., U. of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa - To aid research on 'Molecular Tracing of Early Farmers Diets in Eastern Botswana,' supervised by Dr. Karim Sadr & Dr. Judith C. Sealy
MORONGWA NANCY MOSOTHWANE, then a student at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Molecular Tracing of Early Farmers Diets in Eastern Botswana,' supervised by Dr. Karim Sadr and Dr. Judith C. Sealy. The study was intended to identify farmers and foragers during the Early Iron Age (EIA) in Botswana through the use of stable isotope analysis. The areas were selected as they are known to have been frontiers of contact between foragers and farmers. The aim was to determine whether there were foragers buried on farmers' settlements or vise versa and to identify those individuals who had shifted from one of subsistance to the other over a long period. The human samples came from EIA settlements in the Toutswe area, Tsodilo Hills and Okavango River. Toutswe samples were derived from Kgaswe B55 (n=17), Bonwapitse (n=3), Taukome (n=5) and Thatswane (n=6), Bosutswe (n=13) and Toutswemogala (n=28) and others (n=4). At the Tsodilo Hills, two sites are Divuyu (n=1) and N!oma (n=3). Xaro (n=2), is along the Okavango River. Thus, 76 humans were selected for stable isotope analysis. Animal samples from archaeological and modern context were analysed to provide reference standards for the interpretation of human isotope values. They included domestic species like cattle, sheep/goats, and a dog as well as wild animals: zebra, hare, tortoise, and steenbok. According to results, EIA farmers in the Toutswe and the Tsodilo Hills areas relied on domestic C4 crops (sorghum and millet), which they supplemented with C3 plants. The C3 component was derived from a combination of domestic and wild plants. At N!oma the two individuals showed isotopic evidence for having been a foragers who later shifted to a farming mode of subsistence. It is possible that the Xaro individuals exploited freshwater fish from the nearby Okavango River but they were farmers.