Decyphering ancient bones The research potential of bioarchaeological collections.код для вставкиСкачать
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 127:370 –373 (2005) Book Reviews DARWIN’S LEGACY: WHAT EVOLUTION MEANS TODAY. By John Dupré. New York: Oxford University Press. 2003. 138 pp. ISBN 0-19-280337-9. $19.95 (cloth). For many physical anthropologists, the demands on our time often preclude the opportunity to read outside of our respective specialties, let alone outside of our discipline. One important body of literature relevant to what we often teach (especially in introductory classes) is the history and philosophy of science as it pertains to evolution. Dupré’s book is one such volume, presenting a philosopher’s view of the importance of evolution. As Dupré clearly notes early on, the goal of this book is to present a succinct and accessible volume, addressing the inﬂuence of evolution on major issues, such as the existence of God, the relationship of humans to other organisms, and human behavior—in other words (p. 1), “Why should we (non-biologists) care about evolution?” These topics are the focus of Dupré’s book, and are each addressed in separate chapters: Chapter 4 addresses evolution and the decline of theism; Chapter 5, the relationship of humans to other organisms; Chapter 6, evolution and human nature; and Chapter 7, race and gender. In the ﬁrst few chapters, Dupré provides a basic description of evolution: “a set of very general propositions” (p. 12), including 1) life on Earth has changed over time, 2) complexity is derived from more simple forms, and 3) most organisms share common ancestors. He also emphasizes that the core propositions of evolution are “beyond serious question” (p. 12), and “not much open to debate” (p. 41). Dupré is an unapologetic proponent of empiricism and of a naturalistic perspective, which he describes as “anti-supernaturalistic” (p. 42). He also argues that evolution has played a major role in “undermining prescientiﬁc supernaturalistic metaphysical views . . . replacing them with the naturalistic metaphysics assumed by most contemporary philosophers” (p. 60). The idea that evolution provided the ﬁnal piece of evidence in rejecting a theistic worldview (Chapter 4) is exactly what causes fear and apprehension among creationists. In fact, Dupré argues that attempts to reconcile evolution with theism (as seen in Stephen Jay Gould’s work, among others, and often seen in introductory physical anthropology textbooks) are futile. Although I suspect many physical anthropologists would agree with Dupré, we (including myself) often adhere to the idea (in the classroom) that evolution and religion are congruent, which is helpful when presenting evolution to new and/or skeptical students. Dupré’s volume is concise, and succeeds in placing evolution in a broad philosophical context. However, © 2004 WILEY-LISS, INC. the absence of references is a major weakness. The “Further Reading” section, organized by chapter at the end of the book, is insufﬁcient, as there are many points Dupré makes for which I would have liked a citation. The absence of references also impedes one of the stated goals of this book: to address “big ideas” for a wide audience. Without specialized knowledge in evolutionary biology and/or physical anthropology, many of Dupré’s statements could easily be interpreted as representing consensus ideas, when, to my knowledge, they are not. For example, Dupré argues that “most genetic changes are harmful” (p. 108). To which type of genetic changes does Dupré refer? Chromosomal mutations? Point mutations? Also, he states that “it used to be popular” (p. 108) to argue that the origins of sexual reproduction were related to the beneﬁt of genetic recombination and increased variation. Although these statements may be accurate in some circles within the life sciences and/or philosophy, without references, they are weakened. I recognize the desire not to overwhelm the reader with numerous references, as well as the cost and space considerations related to having intext references and an extended “Literature Cited” section, but the absence of references makes the book a challenge. Having criticized the absence of references, it could have an (I assume) unintended beneﬁt: an excellent use for this book would be as a supplementary text in an upper-division or graduate seminar on evolution. It could serve as a point of discussion and as a source of questions for further investigation. To be fair, as this is a philosophy book about evolution, and not a biology book, this function (as a source for eliciting thought and discussion) is important, and is a major role of philosophy. My primary disagreement with Dupré is in the area of understanding human behavior, as he argues that evolution is of limited use in illuminating human nature (p. 2 and Chapter 6). He also makes the argument (similar to that of Jonathan Marks) that the genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees has little, if any, meaning (p. 96), especially in attempting to understand the biology of human behavior. I agree that the use of analogy for discussing human behavior has its limits (e.g., making a leap from invertebrates to humans in terms of sexual aggression), but the evolution of similar behaviors among closely related organisms can be quite informative. When contemplating human sexuality, it is interesting that there are similarities among some primate species, including humans and bonobos, to which Dupré does allude later in the book (p. 118). Whether discussing human sexuality or the evolution of care-giving in hominids, a broad primate perspective can be quite helpful in understanding the evolution of human behaviors. BOOK REVIEWS As all “good” books should do, Dupré’s book made me think. I found myself constantly thinking about my research, how I teach, and what I think about evolution. With my interests in variation and taxonomy, Dupré’s discussion of “traits” and how one (analytically) breaks down an organism into its constituent units (p. 39), as well as his discussion of the “ecotype” (Chapter 7) as a concept with which to address intraspeciﬁc variation, were quite useful and interesting. In this context, Dupré’s book is a successful piece of work, eliciting thought and contemplation. Despite my criticisms, I found Dupré’s book interesting and provocative, especially as I am DECYPHERING ANCIENT BONES: THE RESEARCH POTENTIAL OF BIOARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS. Edited by G. Grupe and J. Peters. Leidorf, Germany: Verlag Maria Leidorf GmbH. 2003. 286 pp. ISBN 3-89646-616-X. €66.50 (cloth). This volume arose as a publication of symposium papers presented at the Anthropological Collection Centennial Workshop in München in 2002. The topics covered in the book’s 19 chapters are varied, including studies of human and nonhuman skeletal remains and teeth, and address issues as diverse as evolution, paleopathology, paleodiet, paleoecology, and paleogeography. The authors also examine advances in biochemistry as they apply to skeletal remains, including dental microwear, micromorphometry, and bone isotopes. Much to their credit, the editors drew together a variety of viewpoints from around the world, including authors from Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Spain, and Canada. The chapters are largely focused on the relationship between domesticated animals and humans, and on the application of new biochemical techniques. While both subjects are appealing and in many cases complementary, the book itself is not organized around these themes. Instead, it is organized into such broad and vague sections as “The Socio-Cultural Aspect and Modern Implications,” “Decyphering Ancient Bone,” and “The Research Potential of Bioarchaeological Collections.” With respect to the goals of the book, the chapter by Wiesemüller and Rothe stands out for its succinct, strongly stated plea for maintaining bioarchaeological collections. They clearly make the point that in order to understand the phylogeny, morphology, and lifestyles of fossil primates, scientists must study ontogeny, individual variation, and the functional morphology of modern populations. Only by doing so will researchers be able to properly account for biodiversity, allowing them to build appropriate models and avoid false or unnecessary splitting of taxa. The authors stress the fundamental need to maintain large collections of modern primate skele- 371 an anthropologist and not a philosopher. Dupré’s is a useful volume for those interested in the philosophy of science and the role of evolution in contemporary thought. FRANK P. CUOZZO Department of Social Sciences Front Range Community College Fort Collins, Colorado DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20090 Published online 19 November 2004 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). tons in many regions around the world to ensure widespread access to these valuable resources. Several other authors point out some of the difﬁculties with utilizing and maintaining bioarchaeological collections. Zeder points out that research on animal domestication came to a virtual standstill for several decades due to political unrest in the Fertile Crescent region of Southwest Asia, while Bender discusses the lamentable lack of storage for bioarchaeological collections and personnel to maintain and study them. Bender notes that animal bones, seen as less important than artifacts in today’s overcrowded museums, are often thrown away, despite their potential for providing new scientiﬁc insights. Mikić describes a lamentable lack of cooperation between archaeologists and bioarchaeologists working in Serbia, resulting in the loss of countless skeletal specimens and research opportunities. LaluezaFox stresses the ample and valuable resources hidden in existing collections, both with respect to developing scientiﬁc techniques designed to meet new analytical challenges and in terms of the potential results. Unfortunately, the reluctance by museums and collection facilities to allow destructive tests may prevent such research. Similarly, Nelson and Nelson point out one reason for the lack of synthetic research in bioarchaeological studies: researchers are not given access to some collections. The problem of access is in part due to the difﬁculties of funding modern museum operations, which are tied to the destructive effects of tourism, particularly with respect to local economic development. Several chapters clearly emphasize the importance and sometimes surprising effects of bioarchaeological research on modern life; however, these articles are not contained in the “The Socio-Cultural Aspect and Modern Implications” section. For example, Nelson and Nelson graphically demonstrate the impact of research on modern iconography and the local cultural identity of the people of Chepen, Peru. Following archaeological research in the area, a statue known as La Sacerdotista (a representation of a late Moche priestess) was erected along the Pan-American Highway. In a similar vein, using 372 BOOK REVIEWS analyses of faunal remains and paleodrainage systems in the region, Peters and von den Driesch theorize that the climate of the Eastern Sahara has gone from hyperarid to semiarid to hyperarid over time. The modern-day applications of this research are clear, given ongoing climatic shifts: precipitation in the area is currently on the rise, which may allow the reintroduction of game herbivores to the Wadi Howar region. A hidden strength of the book can be found in several unrelated articles that convincingly demonstrate the utility of biochemical techniques in bioarchaeological research. Burton and Price argue that Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios reﬂect the primary source of calcium and the environmental availability of these elements rather than variations in proportion in the diet, and that these ratios can be used to discriminate between individuals from different geographic regions. Grupe et al. use stable isotope analyses and human morphology to draw conclusions regarding lifestyles during the Neolithic transition, while Dittman applies histomorphometric techniques in an attempt to discriminate between species. Gügel examines microwear and abrasion in human teeth to investigate the shift from a meat-rich diet to a diet more reliant on plants. Garrelt and Wiechmann extracted microbial DNA from 6th and 14th century Bavarian skeletons. Several of these yielded sequences consistent with the plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, providing support for a proveniencebased hypothesis that the remains were those of plague victims. Taken as a group, these articles demonstrate useful applications of biochemical analyses and provide strong evidence in favor of maintaining bioarchaeological collections. At times this volume is difﬁcult to read, largely due to the inherent difﬁculties of translating one language into another. Syntactical and grammatical errors scattered throughout the book are occasionally distracting. The topics are discussed in varying degrees of depth, so the overall effect is somewhat uneven. The quality of the graphics, like the text, ETHICAL ISSUES IN ARCHAEOLOGY. Edited by Larry J. Zimmerman, Karen D. Vitelli, and Julie Hollowell-Zimmer. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. 2003. 300 pp. ISBN 0-7591-0271-6. $34.95 (paper). Archaeological ethics have become a ﬁeld of increasing concern in the profession, as evidenced by the formation of the World Archaeological Congress in 1987, passage of NAGPRA in 1990, debate about Kennewick Man, and worldwide attention to the Taliban’s destruction of the giant stone Buddhas in the Bamiyan Valley, to name only the most obvious examples. The range of issues that are recognized today as “ethical matters” is a reﬂection archaeolo- varies, although consistency within chapters makes this a minor issue. The volume seems poorly organized and unfocused, with chapters focusing on pure “how-to” methodology (e.g., Hillson and Antoine’s discussion of microscopic techniques for studying bones and teeth), hypothesis-driven literature reviews (e.g., Lalueza-Fox’s examination of authentication protocols in ancient DNA studies), and data-rich analytical chapters (e.g., Zeder’s study of goat and sheep domestication) arranged in a seemingly haphazard fashion. Links between chapters are essentially nonexistent, making the lack of a concluding statement by the editors particularly regrettable. For example, Dittman’s histomorphometric discrimination of species clearly has strong ties to Sambraus’ chapter concerning the difﬁculty of discerning breeds skeletally, yet the opportunity to draw connections between these chapters was not taken. Furthermore, several chapters do not provide explicit information explaining their relevance to the stated goals of the book, omissions that contribute to the sense of poor organization. Reorganization of the various chapters, combined with a stronger emphasis on each one’s relevance to the stated goal of the volume, would have greatly improved the usefulness and ﬂow of this book. In general, Decyphering Ancient Bones provides some insights into recent research accomplished using skeletal collections curated in research facilities and museums. However, like many symposium-inspired volumes, the value of this book lies in its presentation of data of interest to specialists in various topics (e.g., the history of animal husbandry) or analytical methods (e.g., micromorphometry). JOAN E. BAKER Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identiﬁcation Laboratory Hickam AFB, Hawaii DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20091 Published online 19 November 2004 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). gy’s growing self-reﬂexivity in the face of many challenges and dilemmas, some with baggage going back decades and even to the beginning of the ﬁeld (see Chapters 1 and 2). Ethical Issues in Archaeology creatively and sensitively addresses ethics as “an ongoing discussion of debate [about] the relationships of archaeology and archaeologists to other, often quite different approaches to the past, to other groups’ ethics, and to the many contexts in which these occur” (p. xiii). The editors argue for “active ethics,” i.e., an “awareness that essentially everything we do as professionals has ethical implications” (p. xvi). And various of the authors note that ethics are always in ﬂux, formed BOOK REVIEWS by historical context, and proﬁtably debated by each generation of scholars. The volume is usefully divided into four sections, “Where Archaeological Ethics Come From,” “Responsibilities to the Archaeological Record,” “Responsibilities to Diverse Publics,” and “Responsibilities to Colleagues, Employees, and Students.” Within these sections are many chapters addressing topics rarely treated in classroom curricula, such as the relationships of archaeologists to artifact collectors (Chapter 9), the ethics of shipwreck archaeology (Chapter 5), the ethical imperative of education and public outreach (Chapter 12), dealing with the media (Chapter 13), safety concerns of ﬁeldwork (Chapter 15), what we are really teaching in archaeological ﬁeld schools (Chapter 16), gender inequities in the profession (Chapter 17), the ethics of research knowledge (Chapter 18), and the actual codes of professional conduct (Chapters 2 and 19, Appendix, and throughout the volume). Other chapters deal with more familiar topics but in productively meaningful ways. The international scale of looting for the antiquities market (including museums) is contrasted with what Julie HollowellZimmer calls “low-end looting” (Chapter 4) in which the products from undocumented excavations are not immediately sent to the upscale market. In the case of impoverished peasant looters, HollowellZimmer challenges us to consider that if “archaeologists want to stop subsistence digging, perhaps they have an ethical responsibility to offer economic alternatives to communities.” In other words, archaeology cannot be solely and self-gratifyingly focused on excavation of the past; there must be consideration of the contemporary context of our research venues. Museums are well-treated in this volume, with insightful questions and chilling data. Beyond the international codes now governing responsible museums’ acquisition policies in terms of unprovenienced archaeological objects, there is the problem of space for these collections. Archaeological projects themselves are generating collections at a rate that surpasses the ability of museums to curate them: how should decisions be made about which collections to accept or decline (Chapter 6)? And curation extends beyond the ancient object itself to include all of the records from the archaeological project (Chapter 8). It is ethically mandatory to plan for the longterm curation of all materials from archaeological projects, yet to do so requires signiﬁcant funding, not to mention pre-excavation protocols (Chapter 8). More archaeologists work in cultural resource management (CRM) than in universities. These col- 373 leagues must be business managers in addition to scholars who, furthermore, are in constant contact with descendant communities (e.g., Chapter 11), including indigenous groups, as part of their routine work (Chapter 7). Much of this volume is concerned with these relationships between archaeologists and the public, an issue of paramount importance in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries where indigenous communities are actively concerned with the excavation of archaeological sites, particularly when human remains are present (Chapters 10 and 14). As a whole, the volume takes the ethical stance that primary responsibility is to indigenous peoples whose cultural heritages we seek to understand (see, especially, Chapters 10 and 14) vs., for instance, the position of UNESCO that privileges “world heritage” (heritage as the patrimony of all humankind, not just the nation where it is located or the descendant community; but see p. 154). There are no easy answers to the ethical problems that are an intrinsic part of archaeology in the contemporary world. The only way to advance equity and science in tandem is through acceptance of responsibility to living peoples as well as the deceased who constitute the traditional object of study for archaeologists. Constant academic discussion of ethics and good-will engagement of local communities will go far to advance a healthy future for our profession. This volume should be required reading for all archaeologists, their students, and biological anthropologists working with human remains from archaeological sites. Ethical Issues in Archaeology is an invaluable teaching tool because of the broad and careful selection of topics, balanced treatment by the authors, and provision of discussion questions and further reading recommendations. The volume is so comprehensive that it can readily form the basis for an entire semester’s coursework, and such a course, moreover, should be required in every archaeology program. The volume editors, the Society for American Archaeology, and AltaMira Press are to be congratulated for so effectively addressing this necessary topic. HELAINE SILVERMAN Department of Anthropology University of Illinois Urbana, Illinois DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20092 Published online 19 November 2004 in Wiley InterScience (www. interscience.wiley.com).