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Abstracts: Issue 72

Issue 72 Fall 2006

The editorial comment for issue number 72 can be found at the end of this page.


1-23 Deer, Toads, Dogs, And Frogs: A New Interpretation Of The Faunal Remains From The Engelbert Site, Tioga County, New York

April M. Beisaw
Recent research on the faunal assemblage from the Engelbert Site (New York) brings to light both the need for new archaeologically derived models of prehistoric animal use as well as the limits of such models. A model of Archaic to Late Woodland faunal assemblages for central New York State is presented and used to assess the composition of the Engelbert assemblage. Spearman's correlation suggests that this assemblage is not statistically different from other faunal assemblages in the region despite the prominence of frogs, toads, and dogs at the site. A taphonomic analysis of these remains suggests that the non-subsistence roles of these animals led to their high rates of deposition. A new model, incorporating the Engelbert data, is provided to stimulate new zooarchaeological research in the region. Additional data from sites new and old are needed to move the zooarchaeology of the Northeast beyond the standard research questions of subsistence and paleoecology.

Une étude récente sur l'assemblage faunique du site Engelbert dans l'État de New York met en lumière autant le besoin de nouveaux modèles dérivés de l'archéologie sur l'utilisation de la faune que les limites de tels modèles. Nous présentons un modèle d'assemblages fauniques qui va de l'Archaïque au Sylvicole supérieur pour le centre de l'État de New York avec lequel nous adressons la composition en éléments fauniques du site Engelbert. La corrélation de Spearman suggère que cet assemblage n'est pas statistiquement différent des autres de la région malgré l'abondance de grenouilles, de crapauds et de chiens sur le site. L'analyse taphonomique suggère que le taux élevé de déposition de ces espèces est dû à un rôle non lié à la subsistance. Un nouveau modèle incorporant les données du site Engelbert est proposé pour stimuler de nouvelles recherches zooarchéologiques dans la région. Des données d'autres sites sont en effet nécessaires afin de mener la zooarchéologie du Nord-Est au-delà des problèmes de subsistance et de paléoécologie.

25-41 New York State's Garnetiferous Gneiss Bannerstones: The Form and Function of Flight

Ralph C. Rataul
Following the cognitive-processual theoretic orientation within archaeology, in this paper I functionally and symbolically interpret a subset of bannerstones, all made from garnetiferous (garnet-bearing) gneiss, and all fashioned into winged forms. These bannerstones probably date to the River Phase of the Late Archaic period (3930 to 3350 B.P.), the majority found near the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. Garnetiferous gneiss is not common in this area, and this paper offers reasons why the River Phase craftspeople appear to use this raw material disproportionately to all others in making their bannerstones. My conclusion is that the symbolic potential of this gneiss equals or outweighs its functional potential due to its locally unique composition. I suggest that the similarity of the stone's color to that of raptorial plumage, and the association of bannerstones with the atlatl hunting technology, created an opportunity to harness the symbolic power of raptors.

Cet article interprète de façon fonctionnelle et symbolique un ensemble de pierres trouées à ailettes (bannerstones) en gneiss grenatifère selon la théorie cognitive processuelle en archéologie. L'ensemble étudié date probablement de la phase River de l'Archaïque récent (3930 - 3350 AA) et la majorité des objets qui la compose ont été trouvés près de la confluence des rivières Hudson et Mohawk. Le gneiss grenatifère n'est pas commun dans cette région et nous tentons d'expliquer pourquoi les artisans de la phase River ont utilisé ce matériau plus que tout autre pour fabriquer les pierres trouées à ailettes. Le texte conclut au fait que le potentiel symbolique de ce gneiss égale ou même dépasse son potentiel fonctionnel en raison de sa composition unique. Ainsi, il est proposé que la similarité de couleur avec le plumage des oiseaux de proie et l'association des pierres trouées à ailettes avec la technologie cynégétique du propulseur créait une occasion d'harnacher le pouvoir symbolique des oiseaux de proie.

43-53 Paul Radin and the Historical Origins of Debates on Indigenous Knowledge

Ninian R. Stein
The historical origins of scholarly debates are occasionally obscured over time. Much of the debate within anthropology in the late twentieth century over ideas of indigenous, local or traditional knowledge(s) appears to spring from recent trends. In-depth analyses of the concept recognize the longer history of the study of indigenous knowledge within anthropology. Few however, make the direct connection to the works of anthropologist Paul Radin, in part due to language changes that render his terminology impenetrable or at times even offensive to some modern day anthropologists. This paper re-evaluates the engaged scholarship of Paul Radin and his work in the Northeast in light of research on indigenous knowledge(s).

Les origines des débats savants se sont occasionnellement embrouillées avec le passage du temps. Si une bonne partie du débat au sein de l'anthropologie à la fin du XXe siècle à propos des savoirs indigènes locaux semble provenir de tendances récentes, les analyses approfondies du concept mettent en lumière la profondeur historique de leur étude au sein de l'anthropologie. Toutefois, peu font le lien avec les travaux de l'anthropologue Paul Radin, en partie à cause de changements dans le langage qui rendent ses usages terminologiques insaisissables, voire parfois même offensants pour certains anthropologues modernes. Cet article jete un regard nouveau sur les travaux de Paul Radin dans le Nord-Est, à la lumière de la recherche sur les savoirs indigènes.

55-76 Political Economies and Peer Polities, Trade Networks and Social Landscapes: Theorizing Hopewell in Middle Woodland Period New York State and Southern Ontario

Jennifer M. Cantú Trunzo
This paper utilizes extant published data to construct a theoretical framework for understanding the distribution of Hopewell sites in Upstate New York and Southern Ontario. Aspects of political economic theory and the peer polity model are combined to suggest that Hopewell peoples in New York State and Southern Ontario cooperated and competed with one another for access to trade networks and ritual objects. It examines the importance of riverine transportation routes in the spatial distribution of Hopewell mound sites throughout the region, which were commonly situated where portaging would have been necessary to bypass major waterfalls and connect non-contiguous streams. This paper will also demonstrate that more holistic interpretations of Hopewell may be attainable if we combine several interaction models (the peer polity model, the political economic model, and the rather nebulous interaction sphere concept) with locally-focused approaches about the spread and meaning of Hopewell.

Cet article utilise les données publiées afin de construire un cadre théorique qui vise à comprendre la distribution des sites hopewelliens dans le nord de l'État de New York et le sud de l'Ontario. Des éléments de la théorie d'économie politique et le modèle des régimes paritaires sont combinés afin de suggérer que les populations hopewelliennes de l'État de New York et du sud de l'Ontario coopéraient et se concurrençaient pour l'accès aux réseaux d'échanges et aux objets rituels. Nous examinons l'importance des routes de transport fluviales dans la distribution des sites à monticules hopewelliens de la région, communément situés aux endroits où des portages étaient nécessaires. Cet article fait aussi la démonstration que des interprétations plus holistiques de la culture Hopewell deviennent possibles si nous combinons différents modèles d'interaction (le modèle des régimes paritaires, le modèle d'économie politique et le concept quelque peu nébuleux de sphère d'interaction) avec des approches locales de l'expansion et de la signification de la culture Hopewell.


77-78 Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition (Bernard Means)
John P. Nass, Jr

79-80 Fellow Travelers: Indians and Europeans Contesting the Early American Trail (Philip Levy)
Christina Snyder

80-83 Words of the Huron (John L. Steckley)
Blair A. Rudes


It is my pleasure as always to welcome readers to volume 72 of Northeast Anthropology. We have several outstanding papers in this issue. April Beasaw presents a new analysis of zoological material from the Englebert site in New York State. Beasaw's approach interprets the role that fauna such as frogs or dogs, typically interpreted as intrusive, may have played in native foodways. Ralph Rataul's contribution investigates one of the more enigmatic types of prehistoric Native American material culture: the bannerstone. Rataul's paper investigates not only the functional role of bannerstones as spear-thrower weights, but also their symbolic role in native ideology. Readers interested in this topic are encouraged to see the exhibit at the New York State museum on this topic organized by Rataul. Ninian Stein's paper highlights the importance of the work of one a major figure in the ethnology of the Northeast, Paul Radin. Radin, a student of Franz Boas, conducted seminal ethnologies of northeastern tribes such as the Winnebago, but his contributions to modern anthropology are sadly less well known today. Jennifer Trunzo presents an analysis of Hopewellian sites in upstate New York and eastern Canada. Hopewell, Trunzo demonstrates, was not simply an Ohio Valley manifestation, but has significant expressions in the Northeast that are equally as significant.

This volume also contains several book reviews, one of which is a bittersweet offering. Blair Rudes was kind enough to provide a review of John L. Steckley's recent book Words of the Huron. Regrettably, Dr. Rudes passed away shortly after submitting his review. Dr. Rudes enjoyed a successful career at the University of North Carolina Charlotte where he enriched the education of numerous students. He also served as an expert consultant on linguistics for several Hollywood feature films, including Terrence Mallick's The New World. He is best known academically for his Tuscarora-English/English-Tuscarora Dictionary, available from the University of Toronto Press. The field of linguistics is greatly diminished by his loss, and Northeast Anthropology is proud to offer one of his final academic publications.

A final note on subscriptions for Northeast Anthropology: in a previous volume we noted that the payee for subscriptions had changed to "Research Foundation, SUNY" and that checks made out to other payees would be returned. Readers of the journal have been quite diligent in accommodating this change. However, some readers have also been mailing their checks to an address of the same name. As the Research Foundation is a complex bureaucratic entity, these payments often take some time before they make it to our inbox. Accordingly, while the payee will remain Research Foundation, SUNY, checks should be mailed to us at: Sean M. Rafferty, Editor, Northeast Anthropology, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY, 12222.

Sean M. Rafferty


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