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Book review The Early Bronze Age. I

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Book Reviews
EDH-DHRÂ’, JORDAN. By Donald J. Ortner and Bruno
Frohlich. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press. 2008. 336 pp.
ISBN 978-0-759-11075-5. $195.00 (hardcover).
In this volume, Ortner and Frohlich (OF) provide an
excellent synthesis of the Early Bronze Age (EB) tomb
excavations at Bâb edh-Dhrâ’, Jordan, which represents
the culmination of many years of bioarchaeological
research by the authors as well as the numerous contributors. Their extensive efforts are evident in this informative and richly illustrated volume. The publication summarizes data from the 1977, 1979, and 1981 excavation
seasons. These investigations resulted in the recovery
of over 700 burials from 28 tombs, dating from the EB
IA (3300–3200 BCE) and IB (3200–3200 BCE) as well as
one EB IB charnel house. OF present these data in
great detail and provide the reader with valuable information concerning the osteological analysis, cultural history, and bioarchaeological interpretations of the Bâb
edh-Dhrâ’ EB I tombs.
The primary authors organize the volume’s 14 chapters into three sections: 1) background and setting,
2) tomb and burial data, and 3) analysis and interpretation. The first section covers the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ project background, regional setting, methodology, and EB I
cultural history. These chapters offer a wealth of information concerning Near Eastern and Bronze Age
archaeology and contextualize the later descriptive and
interpretive chapters. Chapter 3 deals with tomb identification and excavation methods. Although the field work
for this volume began over 30 years before this publication, the authors demonstrated innovative approaches to
problems they faced during the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ excavations. For example, the use of near-surface conductivity
proved valuable in prioritizing tombs for excavation. OF
also discuss the need for consistent osteological standards in dealing with the large burial samples and highlight some of the assumptions osteologists working with
such collections must make. Chapter 4, by R. Thomas
Schaub, is a key resource for the material culture associated with the tombs and should prove to be a concise
reference for archaeologists working in the region.
The second section of the book includes four chapters
describing the results of the three excavation seasons
with the results of the 1977 excavation season being
divided between two chapters. Chapter 6 (OF with Garofalo) details the 1977 excavations of EB IA shaft tombs.
This chapter is the book’s longest and describes 18 separate tombs. Chapters 6 through 9 include high-quality
illustrations and photographs of each tomb. These
images highlight the extraordinary preservation and
archaeological complexity encountered by the authors
during their investigations. Chapter 7 (OF with Meier)
describes salvage excavation and osteological analysis of
an EB IB charnel house. Chapters 8 and 9 (OF with
Garofalo) describe the tombs excavated during the 1979
and 1981 seasons, respectively.
The final five chapters cover osteology, paleodemography, health, dental remains, and summary interpretations. These chapters synthesize the information
C 2009
presented in previous sections and provide valuable
insights into the EB IA and EB IB populations at Bâb
edh-Dhrâ’. Chapter 10 (FO with Froment) summarizes
the burial sample by age, sex, season, location, tomb,
and chamber. In addition, the authors tabulate basic
summary statistics for osteometrical and morphological
data. The chapter concludes with a comparison of published craniometric data from contemporaneous regional
sites. The authors correctly acknowledge the analytical
limitations of samples with missing data, but I wish
they had given a better explanation of the ‘‘missing data
replacement’’ procedures and data thresholds used. They
also referenced the availability of the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’
data online, but the provided hyperlink failed at the
time of this review. Finally, the addition of a map showing the locations of the reference samples and a canonical plot of their relationships might have helped the
reader through this section. Chapter 11 (OF) examines
the paleodemographic parameters of the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’
burial sample. Some sections of this chapter are quite
informative but others, I feel, are problematic. The
authors begin the chapter with a nod to the recent literature on estimation of age-at-death distributions, but
they provide only a marginal discussion of the likely bias
in the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ adult estimates. In the chapter’s
first half, the authors focus on life-table construction, life
expectancy, and mortality differences by sex. I felt that
this section would have benefited from some methodological updates (see, for example, the works of Boldsen,
Konigsberg, and Wood). The latter half of the chapter is
an insightful discussion of fertility and mortality in the
EB IA culture of the region. The authors examine issues
surrounding fetal and infant mortality and the impact of
these events on the overall population structure.
Chapter 12 (OF with Garofalo) details the paleopathology of the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ sample. This chapter is organized by general disease categories, and the authors
provide an excellent summary of the bone lesions
observed in the EB IA and EB IB burial samples. Valuable information is presented on bone disorders ranging
from osteoarthritis to scurvy and rickets to bone infections. The authors readily contextualize these observations relative to subsistence patterns, lifeways, and
cultural interactions of the EB I populations of Bâb
Chapter 13 (Bentley and Perry) examines dental
remains from the EB IA tombs. Their analysis specifically addresses the biological relationships of the burial
sample based on dental morphology and attempts to
assess the population’s overall health via select dental
health indicators. Because of commingling and the fragmentary nature of the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ burial sample,
Bentley and Perry perform univariate nonparametric
tests on the morphological trait data. They conclude that
the burial sample is homogeneous and that only a few
morphological traits exhibit spatial concentrations across
the site, hinting at a limited level of biological structuring in the burial distribution. Examination of dental metrics may have strengthened this analysis, but these data
are not discussed in the volume. The authors also found
no discernible pattern of association by sex or location in
linear enamel hypoplasias. Bentley and Perry conclude
that the homogeneous pattern of dental disease and mor-
phology is indicative of an endogamous, inbred population and suggest that the presence of the formal cemetery
at Bâb edh-Dhrâ’ indicates a settled territorial corporate
group. This interpretation differs from conclusions drawn
by the volume’s primary authors concerning the organization of the cemetery’s contributing population.
The volume concludes with an excellent synthesis of
the archaeological and osteological data presented in the
various chapters. The primary authors acknowledge the
limitations of fragmentary and commingled remains, but
they also realize the importance of the Bâb edh-Dhrâ’
sample. Overall, the volume is a valuable offering to the
field of Near Eastern skeletal biology and should be considered essential for any scholar or student working
with Bronze Age material from this region. Bioarchaeologists, no matter their regional or temporal focus, should
consider this volume a template for reporting osteologi-
Alan Mann, David Frayer, and Jakov Radovčić.
Zagreb: Croatian Natural History Museum. 2008. 356
pp. ISBN 978-953-6645-32-9. €60.00 (hardcover).
It is difficult to overstate the significance of the Krapina Neandertal remains to our understanding of Late
Pleistocene human evolution. The sheer size of the sample—nearly 900 elements recovered from a rockshelter
on the Hušnjak Hill in Krapina located 50 km north of
Zagreb, Croatia—combined with its virtually complete
anatomical element representation and its longstanding
accessibility to researchers is unique. The importance of
the Krapina collection has been tempered only by its
comparatively high degree of fragmentation and commingling as well as a perception, by some, of sex- and
age-bias effects on morphological patterns. When combined with the additional information derived from
archaeological and zooarchaeological components from
the site, it is no wonder that so many researchers in
Pleistocene human evolution have studied one or more
aspects of the original collection in Zagreb, often more
than once beyond their first ‘‘grand tour.’’ This volume
was assembled by the editors to honor the 150th birthday of Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger (October 25,
1856), the discoverer, excavator, and original describer of
this material, as well as the centennial of the important
monograph he published in 1906: Der Diluviale Mensch
von Krapina in Kroatien. All 32 contributions to this volume along with the introduction by the editors were
originally published in three separate volumes of the
Croatian journal Periodicum biologorum (2006, Vol. 108,
No. 3, p 235–387; No. 4, p 389–524; and 2007, Vol. 109,
No. 4, p 335–400). The contributions are compiled in this
volume in the sequence and layout in which they
appeared in the journal, unchanged except for a small
number of corrections.
Given the extensive number of publications that have
already been produced to date, either directly on the
Krapina remains themselves or as important components of larger aggregate Neandertal samples (over 3000
publications, including 95 publications produced by Gor-
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
cal analyses and bioarchaeological investigations. Ortner
and Frohlich have provided an important contribution to
the field of bioarchaeology, as well as to the study of the
extraordinary EB I tombs in Jordan.
Department of Anthropology and
Middle Eastern Cultures
Mississippi State University
Starkville, MS 39762
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21148
Published online 9 November 2009 in Wiley InterScience
janović-Kramberger alone), one wonders what is left to
document and explore in this sample. As it turns out,
there is quite a lot. What the extensive Krapina sample
has always offered, in lieu of associated skeletons and
complete crania, is an extraordinary window into the
range of morphological variation across many anatomical
elements in a biological population of Neandertals; this
is a record of skeletal variation that is rarely as observable and quantifiable in the wider hominin fossil record.
The majority of articles focus on morphological variation. Exceptions to this are two contributions: one that
explores the influence that Gorjanović-Kramberger’s
Krapina research had on German-Austrian paleoanthropology (Henke) and one that provides a historical review
and current contextual and chronological updates of
Neandertal sites in Belgium (Toussaint and Pirson).
Oddly enough, given the volume’s focus, the Toussaint
and Pirson contribution never mentions historical ties to
Krapina or Gorjanović-Kramberger. The rest of the contributions cover morphology broadly not only in terms of
the range of skeletal elements and complexes that are
studied but also in terms of the paleobiological questions
that are addressed.
The extensive Krapina dental sample is variably integrated into contributions that address issues of phylogeny (Bailey), within-sample relatedness (Rougier et al.),
sexual dimorphism (Lee), and paleodemography (Wolpoff
and Caspari). The large number of neurocranial elements
are integrated into contributions that address possible
sex-related bias in frontal bone elements (Ahern); sex,
age, and size variation in occipital elements (Caspari);
chronological trends in temporal bone morphology
between Krapina and the extensive earlier Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos sample from Atapuerca, Spain
(Martı́nez et al.); Middle to Late Pleistocene change in
endocranial size and morphology in Europe using Krapina 3 and 6 along with the coeval Italian Saccopastore 1
specimen (Bruner et al.); endocranial volume and brain
growth (Coqueugniot and Hublin); discrete, within-sample intracranial variation (Sansilbano-Collilieux and Tillier); and cranial-vault thickness (Balzeau). Contributions
addressing lower facial anatomy focus on ontogeny (Wil-
liams) and phylogeny (Schwartz and Tattersall). Traits
deriving from all parts of the skull are integrated into a
contribution exploring the validity of various species
within Middle to Late Pleistocene Homo (Chang).
Postcranial anatomy is explored in several contributions. Shoulder-complex anatomy is covered in contributions focusing on clavicle shape and phylogeny (Voisin);
scapular form, with an emphasis on the significance of
axillary border patterning (Trinkaus; Odwak) including
its ontogeny (Busby); and considerations of leverage and
strength at the shoulder and elbow (Churchill and Rhodes).
Pelvic anatomy is considered in two contributions
(Bonmatı́ and Arsuaga; Rosenberg) in order to sort
plesiomorphic from derived Neandertal innominate features. Lower limbs are covered in a contribution focusing
on femoral markers of age and activity (Belcastro et al.).
Aspects of the appendicular skeleton in both upper and
lower limbs are integrated into a contribution exploring
physique and ecogeographic adaptations (Pearson and
Paleopathology, especially trauma, is covered in several contributions (Gardner and Smith; Underdown;
Mann and Monge; Estabrook). Mortuary practices and
the question of cannibalism are covered in two contributions (Ullrich; Frayer et al.). Finally the questions of
taphonomy and preservation bias in the Krapina sample
are also covered (Van Arsdale).
Overall, the contributions comprise a wide range of
sampling strategies and organizational approaches.
Some focus exclusively on the Krapina sample, whereas
others either compare the Krapina sample with other
Neandertal samples or make broader comparisons within
Pleistocene and Holocene Homo. Similarly, a wide range
CONSERVATION IN AFRICAN FORESTS: THE BENELONG-TERM RESEARCH. Edited By Richard Wrangham and Elizabeth Ross. New York: Cambridge University
Press. 2008. 254 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-89601-6. $117.00 (hardcover).
A common justification for conducting fieldwork in
tropical forest venues is that the presence of researchers—and their science—is an effective deterrent to
poaching and habitat loss. Research emanating from permanent field stations has great potential to reduce
human pressure on protected areas. The principle is familiar to most who have worked in Africa; however, this
volume was prompted by a sense that the benefits of sustained research needed clear articulation. To mark the
20th anniversary of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project,
researchers gathered in Uganda’s Kibale National Park
to discuss how their primatology has led to better conservation within the park and improved the lives of
Ugandans around it. The resulting volume demonstrates
the positive impacts that science can have on a forest, a
region, and its people.
The first section deals with research at Kibale, one of
the most recognized and scientifically productive field
sites in Africa. This is the ‘‘case study’’ referred to on the
flyleaf. Wrangham provides the book’s rationale, emphasizing (among other points) that strong personal rela-
of methodological approaches are used, ranging from
classic morphological description to measurement analysis via computed tomography. Readers who come to this
volume in order to focus on a particular aspect of anatomy or a particular paleobiological question will, in
many cases, be rewarded with novel data and new treatments of that question. Readers who approach this
volume as a collection of articles will also be rewarded
by the extensive range of coverage.
The publication quality of this book is exceptional,
retaining the glossy paper and color title, subtitle, and
table highlights of the original journal layout. The quality of the photos and figures, many of them in color, is
also first rate. The cover is attractive, and it includes an
equally attractive color dust jacket. Given all of this, its
€60.00 price is quite reasonable. The book will make a
great addition to the bookshelves of those interested in
all things Neandertal and should be particularly interesting to the large number of researchers whose own
work has been significantly influenced by the singular
Krapina collection and its remarkable discoverer.
Department of Anthropology
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21174
Published online 9 November 2009 in Wiley InterScience
tionships (‘‘fuzzy factors’’) are vital for effective conservation. Several chapters discuss how data can be incorporated into management plans, and a slew of examples
are provided to illustrate their effectiveness. Thomas
Struhsaker, the grand old man of Kibale, reviews activities at the site he began working almost 40 years ago.
Few ever accused Struhsaker of sugarcoating, and his
chapter is a frank discussion of how conservation success
is measured (it varies by taxon), how effective is education and training of locals (we don’t know yet), and the
dangers of holding conservation hostage to promises of
‘‘escalating financial returns.’’ One of the important lessons from Struhsaker’s review is that despite success in
community development, the bedrock of conservation is
law enforcement; without effective policing, pressure
from hunting and habitat disturbance will trump gains
made from capacity building or awareness campaigns.
Understanding how forest perturbation affects an
organism’s fitness requires long-term data and Chapman
et al., illustrate how red colobus distributions are a function of protein-to-fiber ratios resulting from differential
forest quality. This is science with conservation implications par excellence. Goldberg et al., focus on disease
transmission and ways of reducing threats. The Kibale
Ecohealth Project was initiated to address practices that
put people, primates, and livestock at risk. The need for
such projects is a consequence of locals living in close
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
proximity to wild animals, and this project shows how
research leads to public health programs with widespread benefits.
Kasenene and Ross discuss how research at Kibale
has led to improved education, a burgeoning ecotourism
industry, and increased employment. Trevelyan and
Nuttman discuss the role Makerere University Biological
Field Station (MUBFS) plays in training national and
international students in tropical ecology. This is
focused, well-organized field training, and its success is
remarkable: 97% of Africans who enrolled in MUBFS
courses between 1994 and 2006 are involved in conservation activities today. If ever there were a rallying point
for the effectiveness of training host-country scientists,
this is it. The section concludes with a discussion of the
ways local people view activity in the park. Disease
transmission and crop raiding remain concerns of residents on the park’s periphery; however, the majority of
people felt the park positively impacted their lives.
The book’s second section is a collection of chapters on
other sites where research on African apes has been conducted for at least 20 years. Studies of chimpanzees at
Uganda’s Budongo Forest Reserve date to 1962, and over
the last 20 years, research there has been driven largely
by conservation concerns. Two sites of chimpanzee
research in Tanzania, Gombe, and Mahale, are the focus
of the next chapters. The approach of community-based
conservation around Gombe and the efforts of Jane
Goodall to take her messages around the world are models for promoting science, education, and conservation.
Nishida and Nakamura’s discussion of Mahale Mountains National Park is a cautionary tale recounting the
dangers of invasive plants, illegal fishing, and diseases
brought by tourists, who often outnumber chimpanzees
ten-to-one. Sound, well advertised science attracts tourists; however, balancing the benefits and hazards is, the
authors note, easier said than done.
The Ivory Coast’s Tai National Park is home to one of
the region’s last chimpanzee populations and a dwindling number of monkeys. The size of the forest makes
policing the park a challenge, and poaching is widespread. To help combat this, chimpanzee researchers
perform a play in local villages in which actors convey a
simple message: Chimpanzees are our cousins, so please
don’t kill them. The team admits the most effective
means of protecting Tai chimpanzees has been the continued presence of researchers in the forest, and it is
too soon to determine whether the theatrical production
changes poacher attitudes. Nevertheless, survey results
suggest the performances have been successful in lifting
some of the mystery that villagers associate with chimpanzee. The second chapter from West Africa details
efforts to link the chimpanzee population in Bossou with
that in Nimba Mountain via a corridor of introduced
trees. Similar reforestation projects will, most likely, be
increasingly necessary.
The final ‘‘site chapter’’ focuses on gorillas of the
Virunga volcanoes. Karisoke, the site made famous by
Dian Fossey, recently celebrated 40 years of virtually
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
continuous research (work was interrupted by the Rwandan genocide in 1994), a feat made possible by strong
governmental support and funded largely by tourists
who are eager to spend a few hours with these magnificent creatures. The authors provide a sobering discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of tying mountain gorilla conservation to tourism revenue and highlight principles that should be followed if the system is to work in
the long run.
Science and Conservation in African Forests succeeds
in articulating how primate research can lead to
improved conservation and better living for local residents. The messages are clear, and the writing is uniformly strong. I have only three quibbles. First, several
chapters begin with accounts (and maps) of Kibale, its
research history, Uganda, etc. One chapter providing relevant information would eliminate redundancy and
ensure uniformity. Second, the book’s title and cover art
imply that preserving biodiversity generally is the goal,
but several chapters and the preface are written from
the position that ape conservation is the volume’s focus.
This is odd because Kibale is such a compelling case
study of system conservation, and several chapters make
little or no mention of apes. I recognize the significance
and precarious status of our closest relatives, and I’m as
fond of chimpanzees as the next person; however, isn’t
this book concerned with all forest residents? What
about forests that harbor only monkeys? If angwantibos
or butterflies are my priority, should I read this volume?
The answer is yes, but several contributions don’t make
the case. Third, the volume would benefit from a discussion that not only revisits key messages but also probes
some of the unanswered questions in greater depth:
What problems (and remedies) are uniquely African? Are
the benefits the same for all species and all peoples?
What about wildlife conservation in unprotected areas?
For many, the notion that long-term research has
value beyond science is obvious. But even if the idea is
taken for granted, Wrangham and Ross have done a
service by producing a volume that makes the benefits
explicit. This book is as much about strategies as it is
about rewards; it is a ‘‘how-to’’ (and ‘‘how-not-to’’) guide
for conducting research in tropical forests. It offers a
statement of broader impacts for our research proposals
and, more importantly, rebuts the skeptics who claim
research in tropical Africa takes more than it gives.
Department of Anthropology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21175
Published online 20 October 2009 in Wiley InterScience
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