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ANTH 1003: Week 9

by: Hayley Seal

ANTH 1003: Week 9 ANTH 1003

Hayley Seal
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover classes from March 9-11.
Dr. Susan Johnston
Class Notes
Archaeology, Anthropology
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hayley Seal on Friday March 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1003 at George Washington University taught by Dr. Susan Johnston in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 101 views. For similar materials see Archaeology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 03/11/16
ANTH 1003 Dr. Susan Johnston Class Notes for March 9-11 March 9  Paleolithic sites o Most are like Koobi Fora and Olduvai Gorge; accumulations of bone and stone, not habitation sites; these hominins were part of the larger ecosystem, scavenging, etc. o Dinaledi, South Africa  Probably dates to part of Lower Paleolithic  Seems to suggest some sort of ritual behavior  Human remains, spanning age groups and demographic groups, deposited in a cave  H. naledi have characteristics of both Australopithecines and Homo  Evidence for ritual behavior:  Stratigraphically separated --> deposition occurred over a long time  No evidence of large mammal activity; difficult to access and probably weren’t brought in by predators  No geological evidence for other means of deposition  Could also have been functional but different from what other non-human animals do  Hand-axes o Tool shapes become clearly recognizable 1.8 mya – 100,000 BP o Made everywhere (below Movius line; not northern/Eastern Europe and Asia, though maybe Southeastern China) o The same thing being produced everywhere is not really a human thing; modern humans are characterized by regional variation o What are hand-axes for?  No evidence that they were ever used as part of a spear, but may have been a similar singular-function tool  Multi-function tool? Many sides/edges  Alternative theory that the hand-axe is just a core and was not the intent, but rather the result of the process by which flakes are made  Out of Africa o Australopithecines first emerged in Africa o First example of hominins outside of Africa:  Dmanisi, Georgia c. 1.8 mya o Australopithecines go extinct after 1 mya; Homo genus are all that’s left of hominins o Use of fire probably useful when moving north  Keeps away predators  Warmth in colder regions  Ability to cook food o How to prove that fire was used by hominins?  Need burned stuff  Evidence that it was controlled, but also produced  Evidence that people were controlling fire:  A consistent place where fire was used repeatedly  Something, usually constructed, that keeps the fire contained  Association of that fire with a place where people were living  Evidence that people produced fire is much harder to identify  Fire might have been used as long as 1 mya  More common evidence for use of fire appears after 200,000 BP  South Africa: burned bone and plant remains c. 1 mya  Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, c. 790,000 BP --> burned seeds, wood, and flint  Sites post-1 million years ago o Still mostly accumulations of stone and bones, mostly in caves o Atapuerca range, Spain: Gran Dolina o Sima de los Huesos, also in Atapuerca Spain c. 500,000 – 400,000 BP  Bones accumulated in a sinkhole over a long period of time  Remains of at least 28 individuals, most disarticulated which suggests after death, bodies may have bene ritually defleshed, disarticulated, then place in the sinkhole  Probably an early form of Neanderthal  Mostly adolescents and young adults, some kids and older adults mixed in --> this ritual may have been reserved for a certain type of people  An oddly colored hand-axe is the only stone tool found in the pit, suggesting significance of the location o Zhoukoudian, China (460,000 – 230,000 BP) H. erectus  40 m of deposits – huge and deep  Possible evidence for fire  No hand-axes, but there are similar stone tools (cleavers) o Boxgrove, England (c. 500,000 BP)  Lots of hand-axes; area rich in flint  So well preserved that specific working areas from hand-axe-making can be identified  Also hunted animal bones; horse scapula with hole, possible caused by spear o Torralba and Ambrona, Spain (450,000 – 420,000 BP)  Evidence of hunting; elephant bones with spears o Terra Amata, France  Excavator says there were huts but no postholes found… probably no huts (no direct evidence for a structure or hut)  Layers at site were likely disturbed  Lower Paleolithic recap o 2.5 mya (1 evidence for stone tools) up to 200,000 BP o First cores with no particular shape o Then clearly identifiable shapes (hand-axes) o Mostly stones and bones at sites o Hints or glimmers of ritual behavior o Australopithecines replaced by genus Homo  Middle Paleolithic (200,000 – 40,000 BP) o Modern anatomical humans begin to emerge at beginning of this period o Neanderthals o Increasing evidence of other species present at this time period, too  Neanderthals (c. 300,000 – 28,000 BP) o Currently “in” --> Homo sapiens neanderthalensis o They definitely would have looked different than us (browridge, etc.) o Material culture very similar to H. sapiens sapiens of that time o Found in parts of Europe, Near East, and Asia  None found in Africa o Earliest finds:  Neander Tal, Germany, 1856: that’s there the name comes from  La Chapelle-Aux-Saints, France, 1908  Bones of skeleton were bowed which created popular image of hunched over Neanderthals BUT that was the result of arthritis; atypical  Neanderthals look like us from the neck down  But anatomical similarities do not mean behavioral similarities… o Compared to modern humans?  Larger brain capacity, shorter and stockier (heavier musculature) than contemporary H. sapiens, but generally similar body shape  Much more noticeable difference from the neck up: no chin, projecting midface, browridge, longer and lower skull o Evidence for Neanderthal behavior?  There is some evidence for language: partly about anatomy, partly about brain structure  Neanderthal hyoid bone looks much more like modern humans than chimpanzees --> likely anatomically capable of speech  FOXP-32 gene is present in Neanderthals (associated with language problems if absent in modern humans) --> possibly had some speech capacity  Middle Paleolithic Sites o Mainly caves; it was the Ice Age in Europe and it was really cold March 10  Middle Paleolithic stone tools o Shift in emphasis from core tools to flake tools o Added thought process of planning: cores are shaped to produce a flake of a particular desired shape o Another thought process added: flakers are then altered to obtain the final tool shape desired o Core tools still made, but flakes could be shaped easier than cores and multiple tools could be made from 1 core when flakes were used o Increased number of forms or assemblages; more tool types  Consistent shapes are made repeatedly  Most are “scrapers” of various kinds  Most types are found in most sites, but the specific percentage of a particular tool group varies  Could be a functional difference; sites are used for different things (Lewis Binford)  Could be a cultural difference; certain groups of people just make more or less of a certain type of tool o Bordes asserted that most of these tools do the same things so the differences are functionally equivalent and due to culture  Could be a mixture of both functional and cultural differences  Could be a result of differential intensity of use; tools are representative of different stages in a series of reduction (Dibble) o Tools evolve from one type to another type as the tools continue to be used, re-sharpened, etc. (change over time) o Tools of later stages may indicate larger occupation, or lack of readily available/abundant raw materials to make new tools  To test these hypotheses you could… o Use experimental archaeology to see if you can reproduce a supposed reduction sequence o See if each tool is equally useful for a specific function, either by experimental archaeology or by analyzing use-wear on the tools o See if there are widely available or limited resources around for making the tools (test reductionist hypothesis)  Neanderthal diet o They did eat meat, though there is debate over what exactly they ate within the meat category o There is debate over details of their hunting techniques but it was pretty effective, that’s for sure o “Points” work well as spearheads, may have been used that way o Evidence in dental calculus that they did eat plants and it may have even been cooked o May have used bitumen (bitter taste) used for halfting points and medical purposes o Differences in wear patterns on teeth, resulting from using them in different ways (not just eating), suggest differences between behaviors of males and females o Tools made it to islands --> they must have had boats o Unlike hand-axes, Neanderthals show regionalization in tool types (more humanlike than universal likeness)  Neanderthal burial: 30-35 burials out of some 300 skeletons o Burial wasn’t the norm o No known associated ritual (grave goods, decoration, etc.) o What did they mean??? o Did they do other things they did with their dead too? We don’t know o Suggests they were thinking about death in a different way than their predecessor, but we still don’t know what that means  Neanderthal symbolic behavior o Some evidence for ornaments (beads and stuff), especially in Europe o Ornaments imply symbolic thinking even at the most basic levels by attributing meaning to something o Evidence of obtained/removed talons and feathers from raptors based on cut marks or raptor bones  Could have been functional, but most likely symbolic in some way o Neanderthal parietal art?  Nenja Cave, Spain  Based on associated dates and “no proof” of anatomically modern humans but it was around the time they appeared in the area (c. 40,000 BP)  Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar: repeatedly passing a tool through the same grooves is interpreted by the excavators as symbolic  Modern humans emerge in Africa c. 200,000 BP o Move into Near East by 92,000 BP, Europe by 40,000 – 30,000 BP  Quick movement out of Africa into the rest of the world o More varied tools, pretty similar to Neanderthal tools but with significant differences:  More elaborate tools  Tools made out of other materials besides stone (at least in Africa) o Burials:  Herto, Ethiopia 150,000 – 160,000 BP; suggests removal of flesh from bones (mortuary ritual)  Skhul, Israel 130,000 – 100,000 BP: associated burials suggest maybe marked graves or designated burial sites, etc.  Appearance of ochre associations around 100,000 BP o Symbolic behavior: very elaborate cave art, especially in France c. 32,000 BP, as well as portable art o Differences between Neanderthals and modern humans  They did look different and would have perceived that difference  Similar tools (big overlap) BUT modern humans are doing things with tools that Neanderthals didn’t  Other complex behaviors (hunting, ritual behaviors, differences between males and females) have considerable similarities  But modern humans tend to have more elaborate symbolic behavior o Explanations for differences:  Cognitive difference/limitation of Neanderthals?  Neanderthals didn’t feel the need to produce these things?  Neanderthals had a different conception of the world but therefore did things differently (not that they couldn’t they just didn’t)?  Were Neanderthals headed down the same path as modern humans, just went extinct before they could get there? o Neanderthal/modern human interaction  There was an overlap of presence in same areas for at least 2,000 years  There are sites with both remains separated in time  There are sites with one of each separated in space, but contemporary in time  No archaeological evidence of intermingling  Evidence indicates that we share genes/DNA with Neanderthals, suggesting that they interbred --> must have been same species  Supposed “hybrid child” supports idea that H. sapiens and Neanderthals interbred  We don’t know the nature of the relationships though  Evidence of violence: H. sapiens weapons leave different characteristic marks on bones than Neanderthal weapons and a Neanderthal skeleton shows evidence of marks from a Homo sapiens tool  May not characterize whole relationship though o The last Neanderthals  Some sites date between 25,000 – 30,000 BP but dating has been debated  No significant populations of Neanderthals left after 39,000 – 40,000 BP o Where did Neanderthals go wrong? Possibilities:  Violence of modern humans  Modern humans brought in novel diseases  Limited competence/cognitive ability and especially flexibility gave them a disadvantage in competition with modern humans  Climate change: end of glacial period  Lower reproduction rate, longer gestation period, and absorption by modern human population  Whatever happened, it’s probably not a coincidence that it was the same time as the emergence of modern humans  Middle Paleolithic Recap o Neanderthals and modern humans emerge; cohabit toward the end o Neanderthals:  Significant difference in tool production – more varied, flakes  Mostly cave sites, cold  Buried dead, limited symbolic thinking o Modern humans:  Spread out from Africa after 200,000 BP  Tools: more elaborate, made of more materials  Buried dead, use of grave goods  More elaborated symbolic thinking


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