Re: Skull binding and Neandertals

Philip (
20 Nov 1995 21:02:45 GMT (H. M. Hubey) wrote:
>Philip <> writes:
>>Only problem is that the neanderthals dissappeared before the end of the
>>last ice-age probably 10K years before mesoamerican civilization took
>I am aware of the time lag.
>The real question is how long customs/habits/culture persists.
>We don't know that the head binding doesn't go back 100,000 years.

When one sees the persistance of a behavorial or cultural pattern there's
is usually an inherant functional aspect to it. For example face painting
is useful for those who hunt and face painting ceremonies are useful for
those that are being trained to hunt. The only reasonable functional
aspect of head binding is social differentiation which is only seen in
more hiararchal societies, those associated with advanced civilization.
Since we can assume that no highly advanced civilization was present or
driving the transartic migrations, then it has also to be assumed that
there the functional motivation was also not there.
There is a inherant problem in this being the root cause for
mesoamerican head binding. That problem is that one might expect the
behavior to be present at all levels of civilization, from hunter
gatherers up to the mesoamerican cities, because it is anticipated that a
very few numbers of indiviuals originally colonized central and south
america from asia. Since this is not seen and the phenomena is isolated
to a certain region and not randomly scattered across the american
continent this lends to the conclusion that this was an isolated

There are similar issues that deserve more weight than this
heads binding argument.

1. If protoamericans traveled to Alaska via a ice bridge why is there a
persistence of water traveling vessels in native-american technology. Did
all travel by ice or was this just a superfulous convienience?

2. There are aguments (genetic and archeological) that humans had reach
the americas prior to the end of the last ice age and yet there is little
evidence for the culture, did the 'Clovis' wave americans bring new
technologies which allowed higher population densities, and more
prominent artifacts? If so, what became of their predecessors? Did
subsequent waves bring stone massonry and metal 'copper' working found in
mexico? Since alot of technology would be consider 'soft' technology (not
suitable for preservation) its difficult to know what native american
technologies arrived when. Are all technologies of the ancient world
branched from a single point or did these technologies evolve
independently? There is evidence that humans had sea travel as far back
as 50,000 years (solomon islanders and austalians), if the technology was
there why did it take so long for the rest of the world to be colonized,
or was it that the technology was of low rank only suitable for traveling
short distances over mild seas?

3. How come, after 200000 years of human existence did advance
civilizations develop on two different continents almost simulataneously.
It is my opinion that these types of civilization can only occur with
human rethinking of the relationships of individuals in society. Implicit
in this argument is that there should have been subtle changes in hunter
gatherer societies which allowed this to occur. Yet if only a few
individuals colonized the new world, such social underpinings would have
been at a premium. One could argue that the social foundation was brought
to hunter gatherer americans at some later date, and absorbed by these
cultures. Otherwise these social developements must have occured
independently. The only force that I can see which would independently
force this change is technology, yet this implies that the
native-americans were not simply hunter gatherers, but advance hunter
gatherers, with technology at threshhold levels. Thus this lends iteself
to ideas supporting transcontinental technology exchanges, or that the
paleolithic hunters carried far more technology or knowledge of
technology than previously given credit.