People and the Sky
Our Ancestors and the Cosmos
Since the late 19th century, when lighting was first introduced to city streets, urban populations have lost most access to the night sky. Our ancestors, on the other hand, were highly attuned to the stars, their constellations and diurnal rhythms enabling them to entertain, farm, hunt and navigate. This book looks at how ancient societies as far flung as Polynesia, China, the Americas and Europe relied upon the stars for their survival and happiness. Off-mint.
Published to accompany a 2012 exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art, this volume brings together 20 essays, by leading scholars and artists, which explore how creativity and artistic practice are linked to African concepts of the universe. They celebrate Africa’s often overlooked contributions to the history of science and explain how cosmological models and the careful observation of celestial bodies lie at the core of the continent’s creation myths, moral values and cultural heritage.
An Anthropology of Britain
What does it mean to live in Britain and to be ‘British’, and is an anthropology of Britain even a legitimate undertaking? Ranging across subjects as diverse as achieving collective identity on the Isle of Man, the London dance scene, leisure and change in a post-mining mining town, and Armenian and other diasporas, this volume of 15 essays establishes that an anthropology of Britain can set excellent standards of subtle ethnography and complex analysis.
Rough and Tumble
Aggression, Hunting, and Human Evolution
Anthropologists have traditionally viewed a coupling of aggression and predation as the evolutionary milestone that brought about ambush hunting approximately two million years ago. But Rough and Tumble challenges this view, since aggressive attack was a hopeless tactic for humans who were smaller and slower-footed than their prey. The author uses fossils, archaeological evidence and studies of humans and other primates to argue that it was the advent of new hunting technologies that allowed humans to stalk and kill large game.
Sign Language among American Indian Nations
A sign language that cut across language barriers played a crucial role among the various Indian nations, and it survives today. This book contains a comprehensive description of the language, from phonology to discourse, and compares it with other sign languages.
An Intellectual Biography
The Norwegian anthropologist Fredrik Barth (1928–2016) was one of the most influential social theorists of the 20th century. This biography by his friend and colleague Thomas Hylland Eriksen – himself a distinguished ethnographer – charts the development of Barth’s groundbreaking ideas on ethnicity in his untiring fieldwork. In its exploration of big issues such as unity and diversity, culture and relativism, art and science, the book compellingly communicates the magic of ethnography to the non-specialist reader.
The Chapel and Burial Ground on St Ninian's Isle, Shetland
Excavations Past and Present
St Ninian’s Isle is famous for the discovery of 28 pieces of Pictish silverware by Andrew O’Dell in 1958: this volume reassesses archive material from O’Dell’s work in the 1950s and describes earlier and later excavations, 1876 to 2000. Monograph 32.
The rare monkey figurines created by the Baule of West Africa have puzzled historians since the 19th century. Rough-hewn and fearsome – with jutting jaws and bared teeth – the bowl-bearing monkeys seem quite unlike the Baule’s more delicate ancestor figures. In the first survey to focus exclusively on the monkeys, the authors explore their origin, creation and role in Baule society, and examine their ritualistic function as objects charged with invisible powers.
1000 Years of Terracotta Statuary in Mali
The Djenné-Jeno culture flourished in the Niger delta, in what is now Mali, from around 700 to 1700 CE, and throughout that period produced powerful renderings in terracotta of the human figure. The product of 30 years’ field research, this authoritative study depicts more than 300 of these statues, charts the rediscovery of this lost art, explores the culture that produced it, establishes a chronology of styles, and sets the works in their historical context.
Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India
The Naga tribes, long feared as headhunters by their neighbours, inhabit the south-eastern foothills of the Himalayas. This volume, comprising interviews, pictorial essays and chapters by Naga and Western authors, surveys the tribes’ society, their unique material culture (from architecture to bodily ornaments) and their oral traditions of story and song. Excerpts from 19th- and 20th-century anthropological research illustrate how Nagas’ identity has changed as a result of British colonial rule and the long struggle for autonomy following Indian independence.
Native North American Art
From prehistoric pottery to contemporary paintings and prints, the collection of Native American art at the University of North Dakota reflects the institution’s long interest in American indigenous cultures. With more than 230 illustrations, this book examines how the collection is understood and appreciated within its campus setting, including efforts to reinforce a sense of greater cultural understanding and the changing philosophy behind the way that such works are displayed.
William Boyd Dawkins and the Victorian Science of Cave Hunting
Three Men in a Cavern
Among the first ‘cave hunters’ to work within a scientific framework and recognize the long evolutionary context for humans and animals, William Boyd Dawkins (1837–1929) was a renowned, yet controversial geologist, palaeontologist and archaeologist. Mark White sets out to rekindle interest in Dawkins, tracing his life and career from ‘boyhood to burial’, with accounts of his work at Wookey Hole, the Manchester museum, the 1874 Channel tunnel project and ‘one of Victorian archaeology’s darkest hours’, the Creswell Crags excavations of 1875–79.