Zipkin, Andrew Michael, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Material Symbolism and Ochre Use in Middle Stone Age East-Central Africa,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks
ANDREW M. ZIPKIN, then a graduate student at George Washington University, Washington, DC, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Material Symbolism and Ochre Use in Middle Stone Age East-Central Africa,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks. The discovery of ochre pigments at African Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites has been widely interpreted as relating to the onset of modern human symbolic behavior. However, an alternate hypothesis holds that ochre's first function was technological rather than symbolic. This project asked, 'When routine human acquisition of ochreous minerals began during the MSA, was this activity motivated primarily by symbolic or technological considerations?' Using ochre artifacts from the site of Twin Rivers Kopje, Zambia, as well as samples of mineral pigment deposits from Zambia, Kenya, and Malawi, this project refined geochemical methods of matching ochre artifacts to their source on the landscape. In addition, ochre streak colorimetry combined with analysis of how ochre artifacts from Twin Rivers were modified by humans determined that pigments with a saturated purple color were preferentially modified by grinding, likely to produce powdered pigment, relative to other types of ochre available near the site. Finally, an experimental archaeology study of ochre and resin adhesives determined that ochre fillers do not yield a significantly stronger adhesive than other widely available minerals like quartz, indicating that the documented use of ochre in the hafting of composite tools in the MSA was likely motivated by visual considerations.
McCoy, Jack T., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Ecological & Behavioral Implications of New Archaeological Occurrences from Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris
JACK T. MCCOY, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in December 2005 to aid research on 'Ecological and Behavioral Implications of New Archaeological Occurrences from Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris. Decades of investigations in Upper Burgi Member exposures (2.2 to 1.9 Ma) by many prominent paleoanthropologists have produced more than three dozen hominin body fossils but virtually no stone tools or other evidence of behavior has been reported. These exposed sediments preserve an archive of fossils that can reveal a great deal about the ecology, environment, and changing foraging behaviors of the earliest members of the genus Homo. Through the collection and analysis of the fossils of terrestrial vertebrates, it is possible to reconstruct ancient animal communities and offer hypotheses about the changing ecological niche that early human ancestors occupied. The addition of significant quantities of meat and marrow into the diet of early hominins is also visible in the fossil record. Cut marks and percussion marks are preserved on fossil bones and this evidence of hominin presence and behavior was collected during this field research along with the oldest stone tools yet discovered at Koobi Fora. This research makes it possible to construct testable hypotheses about hominin habitat and changing foraging behaviors at this critical juncture in human evolution.
Cloutier, Christina U. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT - To aid research on 'Tracking Patterns of the Menopausal Transition Through Endocrine Change in the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes),' supervised by Dr. Kristen Hawkes
Preliminary abstract: Chimpanzees are the best studied of the great apes. They are our closest living relatives, and share with us similar ages of terminal female fertility. Yet, unlike humans, chimpanzees become decrepit with age during their fertile years and rarely survive them--even in captivity. The effects of this general physiological senescence on ovarian function in the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) have been understudied. Although chimpanzees and humans experience very similar patterns and mechanisms of ovarian cycling during most of the fertile years, we know very little of age-mediated reproductive endocrine changes through the late thirties and beyond. The proposed project seeks to improve the record by collecting and quantifying age-specific endocrine data along the chimpanzee hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis for comparison with published data on humans. The HPO axis is a regulatory system acting between the brain and the ovaries that is subject to age-mediated degradation. While changes along the HPO axis in humans--indicated by altered gonadotropin hormone levels--are associated with declining ovarian follicle stocks, many investigators emphasize an active role for the brain as well. The corollary of this interaction is that changes in brain aging that evolved with increased longevity in the human lineage likely have consequences for the physiology of perimenopause. By collecting hormone data in captive chimpanzees, we will improve our understanding of aging in our sister species. Comparing these observations with age-matched data on women will clarify similarities and differences between chimpanzees and humans in age-related cycling dynamics and contribute to understanding distinctive aspects of the perimenopausal experience in our own lineage. perimenopausal experience that evolved in our own lineage.
Rodriguez, Lydia, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Thinking Gesture: The Dialectics of Language, Gesture, and Thought in Chol Maya,' supervised by Dr. Eve Danziger
LYDIA RODRIGUEZ, then a student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Thinking Gesture: The Dialectics of Language, Gesture, and Thought in Chol Maya,' supervised by Dr. Eve Danziger. This research investigates the relationship between language, gesture, and thought in a community of Chol Maya speakers of Northern Chiapas, Mexico. It explores the ways in which notions of time are spatialized in speech-accompanying gestures. Most of the existing research on the representation of time in gesture is based on work with 'tense' languages. In all of these studies the fact that time is given a linear representation is noteworthy. This research asks whether such representation of time in gesture is indeed a human universal. Current findings indicate that a linear conceptualization of time is absent in Chol speakers´ gestural repertoire. The co-speech gestures that appear most consistently in Chol discourse are: 1)deictic gestures pointing at real or imaginary locations, and elements in the landscape and the nearby space; 2) iconic gestures depicting shape, size, quantity, and distinctive features of people or mythical characters; 3) gestures occurring in phrases with affectives or positionals. In light of these findings, it is proposed that linearity of imagistic representation of time is not necessarily a universal in human thought. The fact that Chol main grammatical strategy to indicate temporal reference is aspect, and not tense, may account for this lack of linearity in Chol temporal thought.
Hallin, Kristin A., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Paleoclimate During Neandertal and Modern Human Occupation in Israel: Tooth Enamel Stable Isotope Evidence,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Schoeninger
Hallin, Kristin A., Margaret J. Schoeninger, and Henry P. Schwarcz. 2012. Paleoclimate during Neandertal and Anatomically Modern Human Occupation at Amud and Qafzeh, Israel: The Stable Isotope Data. Journal of Human Evolution 62(1):59-73.
Wells, Eric C., Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Communal Feasting and the Social Order at El Coyote, Northwestern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Ben A. Nelson
ERIC C. WELLS, while a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on 'Communal Feasting and the Social Order at El Coyote, Northwestern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Ben A. Nelson. The 2001-2002 Wenner-Gren Individual Research Grant in Archaeology, 'Communal Feasting and the Social Order at EI Coyote, Northwestern Honduras,' contributed financial support to a doctoral research project aimed at exploring the foundations of social power, expressed in the development of hierarchical social and material relations, in prehispanic Honduran chiefdoms. The study focused on the case of EI Coyote, the Classic period (ca. AD 300-1000) capital settlement of the lower Cacaulapa River Valley in northwestern Honduras. With funds from Wenner-Gren, archaeological data were collected from excavations in and around EI Coyote's main civic-ceremonial plaza to provide information on the range and organization of activities carried out in this space. The underlying assumption is that the practices that occurred in this space are directly related to the ways in which local rulers marshaled political and economic forces within their society and forged alliances with peers in neighboring realms. The nature and distribution of material remains in the plaza and in adjacent spaces, combined with chemical data produced from a multi-element analysis of the plaza's component sediments, indicate that craft manufacture, feasting, and ritual activities were carried out in the environs of the main plaza during the seventh through eleventh centuries. These data suggest that EI Coyote's rulers fashioned social hierarchy by centralizing and appropriating surplus labor during community-wide plaza activities in which feasts and other ritual practices served as inducements for individuals to participate in activities calculated to enhance chiefly productivity and to reinforce chiefly legitimacy.
Lopiparo, Jeanne L., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Household Ceramic Production and Small-Scale Economies in the Terminal Classic Ulua Valley, Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Rosemary A. Joyce - Lita Osmundsen Fellowship
JEANNE L. LOPIPARO, while a student at the University of California in Berkeley, California, was awarded the Lita Osmundsen Fellowship in January 2001 to aid research on household ceramic production and small-scale economies in the Terminal Classic Ulúa Valley, Honduras, under the supervision of Dr. Rosemary A. Joyce. Through fine-grained excavation and analysis of Terminal Classic household sites in the lower Ulúa Valley, Lopiparo documented the dispersed production of fine-paste ceramic artifacts and examined the implications of small-scale production for processes of social integration. The incorporation of locally produced, mold-made ceramic artifacts into rituals of renewal at multiple scales provided evidence of a ritual mode of production for the integration of independent house societies. Stylistic analysis of these artifacts demonstrated how participation in shared production practices both expressed commonalities and established distinctions among households, communities, and regions. Lopiparo advanced a model for the ritual mode of production that suggested the means of integration through which societies were produced and reproduced at the local level in the absence of the sociopolitical and economic centralization characteristic of Classic-period centers in the Maya lowlands. As nexuses for rituals that were fundamental to social production and reproduction, house societies were instrumental in the crafting of society in the Terminal Classic Ulúa Valley.
Cabatingan, Lee Elizabeth, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Caribbean Court of Justice: International Pursuits and National Promises in a Regional Court' supervised by Dr. Stephan Palmie
LEE E. CABATINGAN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Caribbean Court of Justice: International Pursuits and National Promises in a Regional Court,' supervised by Dr. Stephan Palmie. Based on participant-observation, interviews, and archival research at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Trinidad & Tobago, this project addresses the question of how a newly established legal institution, like the CCJ, works to create its authoritative legal voice. The court is intended to serve many of the independent nation-states of the English-speaking Caribbean, but these states and their publics tend to view the court with hesitation and suspicion. They place the CCJ alongside a history of failed regional experiments. And, the fact that the CCJ promises to cut the last strings of colonialism by replacing the Privy Council in England as the final court of appeal does little to establish its authority for a public that remains devoted to the perceived superiority of British law and order. As a result of its precarious positioning, the CCJ operates anxiously, striving in everything it does, says, signals, or portrays to establish a balance between colonial court-ness, independent Caribbean-ness, regionalism, nationalism, past, future, passion and logical persuasion in order to establish a foothold in the very region it is designed to serve. This dissertation, then, explores the ways in which the CCJ, both through its mudane practices and its extraordinary events, attempts to construct a scaffolding upon which its authoritative legal voice-its jurisdiction-can be perched.
Powell, Dana Elizabeth, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Alternative Power: The Cultural Politics of Development on the Navajo Nation,' supervised by Dr. Dorothy C. Holland
DANA E. POWELL, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Alternative Power: The Cultural Politics of Development on the Navajo Nation,' supervised by Dr. Dorothy C. Holland. This grant supported more than a year of ethnographic research focusing on energy development debates on the Navajo Nation and the broader networks of which it is a part. Contrasting a proposal for a large-scale coal plant with proposals for wind and solar power, this project calls into question claims of 'alternative' energy and the different visions of independence such claims engage. While long-standing extractive industries and newer 'green' technologies on the Nation pose different modes of economic development and engage a diverse range of advocates -- from regional environmental activists, to tribal leaders, to energy entrepreneurs, to financial investors -- the cultural politics of energy development remains contested and embodied in the everyday lives of tribal members. With over one-third of the reservation's homes lacking electricity and an enduring resistance movement to fossil fuel industry among tribal members and regional allies, the question of power is intimate and urgent. The production of power is thus a polyvalent trope for understanding parallels and intersections between generating electricity and strengthening self-governance. Broadly, the research findings suggest that energy development debates create a space of political action, knowledge negotiation, and subject formation.
Gildner, Theresa E., U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Life History Tradeoffs Between Testosterone and Immune Function: Testing the Immunocompetence Handicap Hypothesis,' supervised by Dr. J.Josh Snodgrass
Preliminary abstract: This research uses a biocultural approach and anthropological methods to test predicted life history tradeoffs between reproductive effort (measured using testosterone levels and phenotypic masculine traits) and immune function among the Shuar of Ecuador, a forager-horticulturalist group characterized by high parasite load. Human Life History Theory aims to understand how natural selection produces age and context-dependent tradeoffs in resource allocation to different biological functions, and the physiological bases of these allocations and their outcomes. Still, predicted energetic tradeoffs between mating effort and immune function remains poorly tested among contemporary human populations. Debate remains, for example, about the degree to which intra- versus inter-sexual selection have shaped tradeoffs between immunocompetence and the development and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., through the effects of sex hormones like testosterone). Furthermore, to date, no study has examined the relationship between testosterone and immune function in a natural fertility, high pathogen environment (like the Shuar) reflecting conditions more similar to past human populations under which these hypothesized tradeoffs evolved. This project is the first population-based study to test if there is a direct relationship between testosterone profile and parasite load among an indigenous population. The results of this study will provide insights useful for assessing the validity of hypotheses dependent on these data, such as the hypothesis that inter-sexual selection produced female assessment and preference for testosterone-linked masculine traits as an honest signal of male quality because of the immunosuppressant effects of testosterone.