Re: diseases and immunity
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 13:48:24 -0700

Mary Beth Williams wrote:

> The problem here is that Americanists have their own temporal/material
> cultural designations, and trying to fit Eurasian typologies onto a
> completely different line of cultural development is like sticking a
> round peg in a square hole. While most North American regions
> experienced a *PaleIndian* period, after that, there are numerous
> different branched of development, each according to climate,
> resources, etc. In the East and Midwest, the general chronology
> follows a PaleoIndian --> Archaic (Early, Middle, Late and perhaps
> Terminial) ----> Woodland (Early, Middle and Late) ---->
> Mississippian/Owasco/Final Woodland (depending on region). In the
> other areas around North and South America, completely different
> chronologies have been developed, namely because cultures developed
> differently. Trying to somehow *rank* these against each other as well
> as against Eurasian cultures (as Philip has done in previous posts) is
> a grave disservice to archaeology.

These designations do not even fit very well outside of the Near East where they
were originally applied. However, for the purpose of comparative technologies,
aren't the identifying markers for the various periods of Near Eastern development
used? For any cross cultural comparison, there need to be some standard of
measurement. Although, it is important to remember (1) that generalizations are
often misleading, and (2) the technology of a given group might contain elements
crossing the boundries of Near Eastern designations.

Also, the designations apply to technology alone. They could not even be applied
to Near Eastern cultures, much less others. Culture and technology are
interrelated, but neither depends completely on the other.

As for 'ranking', this itself is the worst use of anthropology. Comparisons often
come in handy, but on what basis do you rank? To rank according to ones own
culture is the ultimate vanity.