Re: Skull binding and Neandertals

Philip (
15 Nov 1995 17:39:04 GMT (Craig Hagan) wrote:
>H. M. Hubey ( wrote:
> However,
>what may be interesting, should your ideas prove true
>is that it could demonstrate population migrations over
>time and lead to potential cultural interactions between established groups.

Judging by some of the genetic evidence presented lately this is indeed a
possibility; however, in the case of the meso-americans, head binding was
a class/status symbol which most likely developed as the civilization
advanced from hunter gatherer tribes. Foot binding in china was done for
the same reason (to show that a family could afford to have non-labor
females in the house), yet there is no evidence of foot binding in the
most ancient of chinese civilizations.
It would seem that anatomical alteration is a somewhat permanent way of
declaring 'I was born of X* and Y*, see!'. And since these processes must
be started when one is young they cannot be duplicated by the lower
classes without notice. Aligning with this is that many recognize that
such dominant classes were a natural development of the division of labor
in society (i.e. planners, militia, adminsitrators), and that they,
although burdensome to society, allowed far larger expansions of
population than were otherwise possible. In many ancient civilizations
the proactive physical distuiguishment of upper and lower class isn't
neccesary because the degree of manual labor in the lower classes was
often so intense that physically laborers would have been easily
distuinguished from the administrators. It is clear in the ancient
semitic and mediterranian civilizations that manual labor was excessively
destructive to ones physique. It is concievable that in other societies,
particularly mesoamerica, where there was such diversity of foods, that
laborers may not have had to wear their bones down to be productive. The
implication, here, is that monotony of foods results in highly repetitive
tasks such as grinding grain, ect. However if the food supply is diverse
one might grind grain one day, till soil, or pick fruit, so that no-one
part of the body becomes distorted (i.e with a diverse food supply its
inefficient to have complete division of labor). This argument leaves a
question in the balance, what was the social neccesity (if any) of
preventing upwelling from the lower classes?