Hunter gatherers and their neighbors from prehistory to the present by headland et al
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological ResearchHunter-Gatherers and Their Neighbors from Prehistory to the Present [and Comments andReplies]Author(s): Thomas N. Headland, Lawrence A. Reid, M. G. Bicchieri, Charles A. Bishop, RobertBlust, Nicholas E. Flanders, Peter M. Gardner, Karl L. Hutterer, Arkadiusz Marciniak, RobertF. Schroeder, Stefan SeitzSource: Current Anthropology, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 43-66Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for AnthropologicalResearchStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2743304Accessed: 06/10/2010 08:47Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucpress.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. The University of Chicago Press and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Current Anthropology.http://www.jstor.org
CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number i, FebruaryI989 ? I989 byThe Wenner-Gren All Research. rights Foundation Anthropological for OOI reserved I-3 204/89/300I-oooI$$2.50 LAWRENCE A. REID iS Professor Linguistics theUniversity of at of Hunter-Gatherersand Hawaii. He was bom in I934 andreceived Ph.D. from Uni- his the versity Hawaii in i966. His research of interests Philippine are languages linguistics thecomparative and and syntax Austrone- of sianlanguages. Among publications "Diachronic his are Typology Their Neighborsfrom ofPhilippine VowelSystems," Current Mouton,I 973); Philippine in pp. vol. II, edited ThomasSebeok, 485-506 (TheHague: by MinorLanguages:Word in Trends Linguistics, Listsand Prehistory the to Phonologies English (OceanicLinguistics Dictionary, SpecialPublications Bontok- withEnglish-Bontok guistics 36); and "The EarlySwitch C Finder Hypothesis: 8); List(Pacific Linguistic Lin- Evi- Present dencefor Contactbetween in and Culture Oceania 3[special and Negritos Austronesians" issuej:4i-6o). (Man The present form 8 v 88. paperwas submitted final in IbyThomasN. Headlandand A.Lawrence Reid Westerners today commonlythink of tribalpeoples in in as general,and hunter-gatherers particular, primitive and isolated-incomplete, not yet fully evolved, and outside the mainstream.This view has been supported throughout this century the writings explorers, by of ad-It is widelyassumedthatmodemhunter-gatherer societieslived venturers, missionaries,government agents,journalists,untilvery recently isolationfrom in food-producing societiesand and,until veryrecently, anthropologists. Tribalpeoples,statesand practiced neither nor pastoralism, trade. cultivation, and especially nomadic foragers, oftendescribedas areThis paperbrings together data suggesting very a different modelofmiddleto late Holocenehunter-gatherer economy. is argued "fossilized"remnants isolated late Paleolithichunter- It ofthatsuchforaging groups wereheavilydependent uponboth gatherers who have just emerged,throughrecent con-tradewithfood-producing and populations part-time cultivation tact, into the 2oth century."Modern foragers tend stillor pastoralism. Recentpublications a number hunter- on of to be viewed in most ofthe current anthropological liter-gatherer societiesestablish and thatthesymbiosis desultory food ature asproduction observed amongthemtodayare neither recent nor sequesteredbeingswhose veryexistenceis dueanomalousbutrepresent economy an practiced mosthunter- to the fact that theylive beyondthe reach of the trade bygatherers manyhundreds, not thousands, years.Psycho- routes of foreign for if of powers. They are depictedas quintes-logicaland politicalreasonsforWesterners attachment the to sential isolates, whose world was merely glimpsed in ofmyth the "SavageOther"are discussed. passing by explorers,and who remained remote untilTHOMAS N. HEADLAND is Adjunct Assistant of Professor Linguis- anthropologists penetrated theirlives" (Schrirei984:2).ticsat theUniversity Texas at Arlington an International of and The literature is full of recent "discoveries" ofAnthropology Consultant theSummer of Institute Linguistics of(7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.,Dallas, Tex. 75236, U.S.A.). Bornin "isolated" tribal groups. Stereotypeddescriptions ofI935, he was educated Bethel at Collegein St. Paul (B.A., I960) such peoples are foundin popularwritings such as Bur-andat theUniversity Hawaii (M.A.,I98I; Ph.D., i986). His of roughssLand That Time Forgot(i963 [i9i81) and Gib-research interests humanecology thetropics Holocene are in and bonss The People That Time Forgot(i98i) and in an-hunter-gatherers. i 962 he has spenti 8 yearsdoing Sincefieldwork in amongNegritos thePhilippines. publications His in- thropologicalworks such as PrimitiveWorlds: Peopleclude"The WildYam Question:How Well CouldIndependent Lost in Time (Breeden I973). Redfields I947 classicHunter-Gatherers in a TropicalRainforest Live "The Folk Society," which idealizes tribal systemsas Ecosystem? "(Hu-man Ecology I5:465-93), "Kinship and SocialBehavior among "isolated," helps throughits reprintings (most recentlyAgtaNegrito Hunter-Gatherers" (Ethnology26:26i-8o), "Cul- in Bodley i988) to keep the mythalive in anthropologyturalEcology, and Ethnicity, theNegritos Northeastern of Luzon"(Asian Perspectives 2I:I27-39), D. and,withJanet Headland,classrooms.Otheranthropological A examples are HuxleyDumagat(Casiguran)-English Dictionary and Capas (i964) Farewell to Eden, describing (Canberra: Austra- The theirvisitlian NationalUniversity, I974). to some Indians in the Amazon as "a tripthat was to take us back thirty-fivehundredyears in time" (p. I3), and the I984 educational film on the Mbuti pygmies version thispaperwas readbyHeadlandat theFifth titled Children of the Forest (see review by Morelli,i. An earlier ofAnnual VisitingScholarsConference, Southern IllinoisUniver- Winn, and Tronick i986). Schebestas I947 work on thesity,AprilI 5-I6, I988. We thank following written the for critical PhilippineNegritosis called Menschenohne Geschichtecommentson earlierdrafts: Alan Barnard, MatthiasGuenther, (People withoutHistory), and the authorof a I98I bookJanetHeadland, SusanHochstetler, Hutterer, Karl Richard Lieban, on the "Auca" of the Ecuadorian rain forestcalls themCarolMcKinney, WilliamScott. feela specialdebtofgrati- and Wetudeto BionGriffin AgnesEstioko-Griffin their and for substantial an "isolated" people whose "way of life has changedinput overmany yearsandto LeslieSponselfordetailed comments littlesince theirancestorsmigrated from Asia acrosstheon severalearlierversions.RichardCrawford, Ronald Edgerton, Bering Strait" (Broenniman i98i:I7).PedroGil Munoz,Rudolf Rahmann, John and Slonaker assistedus Perhaps the best-knowncase, made famous by somein ourarchival research. had help in translating We certain docu-mentsfrom Hella Goschnick, Marianne Finkbeiner, Hartmut and 2o ethnographic films produced in the I970s by Napo-Wiens(from German) CharlesPeck,WilliamScott, Martha and and leon Chagnon and TimothyAsch, is that of the Yano-Shirai(from Spanish). mamo, a horticulturalpeople of the Amazon. In the 43
44 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number i, FebruaryI989 thirdedition of what is probablythe most widely read Most practice minor desultorycultivationand intense anthropology book in the United States today,Chagnon trade of forestproductswith non-Negritoagricultural (i983:I) continues portray to these"fierce people"as populations.Two models oftheirprehistory be pro- may livingin pristine isolationfrom Western influence the posed. The olderand moregenerally at accepted"isolation- time of his initial visit to them in I964-and this de- ist stance"(toborrow term a from Gordon i984:220) is spite the fact that American missionaries have been thatthe first human inhabitants the Philippineswere ofworking with the Yanomamo in his area since 1950 (pp. some type of Pleistocene Homo sapiens that evolved 3, 9). He even calls them "our contemporary ancestors" some 20,000 yearsago into the Negrito foundin thein the finalsentence ofhis book (p. 2I4). (Fora contras- archipelago today(Solheimi98i:25; Ramboi984:240-tiveview ofYanomamo prehistory, ColchesterI984; see 4I; Omoto i985:I29-30; BellwoodI985:74, II3); thatsee also Ramosi987.) their original languages were not Austronesian; that These works and many othersperpetuatea view of theywere "pure" hunter-gatherers; thattheyhad at andtribal peoples as having lived until relativelyrecent most only infrequentcontact with the Austronesian-times in isolation fromtheirneighbors. There is, how- speakers who began migratinginto the Philippinesever, conclusive evidence that this "isolate model" is around 3000 B.C.2incorrect-thatmost,ifnot all, tribalpeoples have typi- This isolate model is reflected, example, in the forcally been in more or less continuousinteraction with report a psychologicalanthropologist of who studiedtheneighboring groups,oftenincludingstate societies, for Ayta in westernLuzon in the late I930S thatthese Ne-thousandsof years.We will call this view the "interde- gritos, living "an isolated lifein the equatorialrain for-pendentmodel" and supportit withrecentethnographic ests,wheremillennia slip away with so littlechange...descriptionsof several hunter-gatherer societies tradi- are probably livingthe way our own ancestorsdid sometionallyconsidered"isolated" and "primitive." hundred thousand yearsago" (Stewart I954:23) andthat We are not the first question the mythofthe primi- "nowherewerethe Negritosknownto have agriculture" totive isolate. Spielmann(i986:305), forexample,crit- (p. 24). The anthropologist (I978) describes re- Eder theicizes anthropologists their"unrealisticand mislead- cent past of the Batak Negritosof Palawan Island in a foring" tendencyto analyze egalitariansocieties as closed similar framework,assuming without evidence thatsystems,and Wolf (i982:i8) points to anthropologys they"once lived in self-contained isolation" (p. 55), that"mythology the pristineprimitive." is partofwhat "in the closing decades of the nineteenth of It century"theyStrathern (i987) refers as the "persuasivefictionsof were still "isolated . . . fromall but sporadic contact" toanthropology." Our argument here is in factinfluenced with outsiders(I978:ix; see also I2), that they "beganby recentwritings several anthropologists of who began cultivatingrice only duringthe latterpart of the igthto challenge it at about the same time as we did (e.g., century" (1978:58), and thattrade commercial of forestchapters thevolumes editedbyLeacock and Lee I982, in products"to obtaindesiredconsumergoods ... may alsoFrancis,Kense, and Duke I98I, and especially Schrire have begunat thistime" (p. 58). Warren (I984:3) alsoi984). More generally, our model was inspiredby the assumes that the swidden cultivation he observedwritingsof Roger Keesing, FrederickDunn, and Karl amongtheBatak in I950 was "obviouslynewlyacquiredHutterer, who describethe prehistoric world as one in from theirneighbors." (I953:I75) notedthatthe Foxwhich tribal peoples have been in intense interaction Ayta Negritos "are today all shifting cultivators"butwith one anotherfora long time. Keesing calls the iso- believed that they "were once able to live without re-late model "the mosaic stereotype"and critiquesit in courseto cultivation"(p. 245), judging thattheir"associ-detail(i98i:iii-22). He proposes insteada "systemic ation . . . with cultivatedplants must be reckonedin aview" of the prehistorictribal world in which simple few hundred years-excepting perhaps the taro andtribalsocieties,complex societies,and even statescoex- yams"(p.27, emphasis added). AndReynolds (I983:I66)istedand evolvedtogether. believes thatmostprehis- has recentlystated, "For thousands of years, the Ne- Hetoricforaging groupswere partsofcomplexregionalsys- gritos in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia hadtemstiedtogether trade,exchange,and politics-that managed to maintain a traditionallife by withdrawing by"forseveral thousandyears the environments most from of prolonged contactwith non-Negritos." Rais (i982)huntersand gatherers have included surrounding agri- ethnography presentsAgta Negritosin northeastern Lu-culturalists, pastoralists,and in many cases kingdoms zon as "relativelyisolated" in pre-Hispanicand earlyand empires" (p. i22). What we are calling the isolate Spanish times, with only "marginal" and "peripheral"model is a view of "a worldthatneverexisted" (p. II4). tradewith outsidersuntil the last two or threecenturiesIt continues,however,to be taughtto anthropology stu- (pp. I39-40, I45-46, i52, I54) and formal trade "at mostdents and to the public. onlyas old as the beginning this century"(p. I56). He of evidence 2. The latestarchaeological linguistic and favors hy- theCase Studies pothesis thattheoriginalhomeland Proto-Austronesian For- of was mosa and that a groupspeakinga daughter languageof Proto-THE PHILIPPINE NEGRITOS Austronesian arrived the northem in PhilippinesfromFormosa around 3000 B.C. (Pawley and Green 1973:52-54; Blust 1978:220;The Philippine Negritos, some 25 ethnolinguistically Harvey I98I; Scott 1984:38-39, 52; Bellwood I985:107-21, I30,different groups in numbering totalabout I5,000, are 232). Forrecentopposingviews on the locationof thehomeland,hunter-gatherers various stages of culture change. see Solheim (I984-85) and Meacham (i984-85). in
HEADLAND AND REID fromPrehistory the Present| 45 Hunter-Gatherers to surmisesthat "the Agta may have been practicing some communities were well established throughoutthe degree of horticulturefor the past two centuries" (p. Spanishperiod.When Dean C. Worcester, U.S. Secretary i66). of the Interior the Philippines,made a quick steamer of Negritos,then, accordingto the isolate model, were tripdown the east coast of Luzon in I909, he depicted pure hunter-gatherers with a near-Pleistocene economy the Agta on the remotenortheast coast as primitive and throughout most of the Spanish era and perhaps even untouched:"In this region,and in this regionalone, the into the earlypartof this century. [Agta] Negrito... has had littleorno contactwithwhite We propose a more complex interdependent model men or with Christian [i.e., non-Negrito]Filipinos" thatbetterrepresents historyof the Negritosin the (Worcester i2:833). It is clear,however,thathe failed the I9 late prehistoric period.Symbioticinteraction3 with out- to grasp the significanceof the many trade items he sidersprobablybegan soon afterthe first Austronesian- foundin theirabandoned lean-tos: coconut shells, clay speakingpeople beganmigrating into Negritoareas-for pots, metal fishhooks,metal arrowheads,bolos, and some populations as early as 3000 B.C. For the proto- commercialcloth (p. 84I). Furthermore, ofhis pho- one Agta groups in northeastern Luzon it may have been tographs"taken [in these Agta camps] on the northeast somewhatlaterbut was likelywell establishedby I400 coast of Luzon" (p. 837) shows a wooden mortarfor B.C., when humans who were probablynot Negritos poundingcornor rice,a small clay pot,and a tin can.4In were cultivating rice in that area (Snow et al. I986). I 909 the Agta bands in this area wereprobably the most The Agta are the least acculturatedof all Philippine remoteand "primitive"hunter-gatherers the Philip- in Negritos(see Griffin Headland I985 forbibliography pines,but the tradegoodsjust mentionedshow thatthey and and Headland I986, Reid I987, I988a and b, Headland were certainlynot independentof otherFilipinos or of and Reid n.d.). Called Dumagat by outsiders,the Agta agriculture. ethnolinguistic groupsof easternLuzon typically reside A numberof i 8th-century reports make clear thatthe in small nomadic camps in the rain forests the Sierra Agta were involved in intense symbiosis,includingpa- ofMadre.The most salient activity Agtamen is hunting tron-clientrelationships,with Christianized farmers ofwild pig,deer,and monkeywith bow and arrow.Among and trading forest for products rice,tobacco,metal tools, the CasiguranAgta, in a typicalyear about a quarterof beads, and pots (AFIO MS 89/60 I745; Santa Rosa I746,the households cultivatetinyswiddens,averaging only cited in Perez i928:87, 94, Io6 and I927:294). It is clear one-sixthof a hectare in size. Rice is the main staple, frommany other records that this system was wide-wild starchfoodsbeingpartof only 2% of meals (Head- spreadby the igth century(see, e.g., Semper i86i:252,land I987). Almost all of this rice is acquiredby trading .255-56; i869:5i-52; de Medio i887, quoted in Reportwild meat, minor forestproducts,or labor with neigh- I90I:39I; Platero n.d., quoted in Report I90I:39I;boringagriculturalists; less than 5% comes fromtheir Segovia I969 [I902]:IO3; EighthannualreportI903:334;own small fields. Garvan, MarchI 2 I 9 I 3, in Worcester9 I 3: I 05-7; Luk- I Proponentsof the isolate model would claim that ban I9I4:2, 4, 6-9; W. Turnbull I929:I77, 237-38;theseAgta bands were until recently almost completely I930:782, 783; VanoverburghI937-38:I49, 922, 928;separated from non-Agta farmingpopulations, since Lynch I948; Amazona I95I:24; Tangco i95i:85; andeven duringSpanish times veryfewnon-Negrito people Schebesta I954:60, 64). Likewise,thereis solid evidencelived in that inhospitablearea, with its ruggedmoun- thattheAgta were makingswiddensoftheirown by thetains,stormy weather, and roughseas. Theywould argue I740S (AFIO MS 89/60; Santa Rosa I746, cited in Perezthatthe Agtas involvementin agriculture, desultory as i928:87, 88, 92-93, 96), in the igth century(Semperit is, is a recent"contamination"resulting from contact i86i:252, 255-56; de Medio i887 and Plateron.d.,citedwithfarmers thepressureofshrinking and hunting terri- in Report I90I:390-9I), and in the early years of thistory.Negritos have been widely describedas "people century(Worcesteri9i2:84I; Lukban I9I4:2; Whitneywithout cultivation" even into this century(e.g., Bor- I9I4; Turnbull I930:32, IIO, 782, 794; Vanoverburgh androws I908:45-46). Estioko-Griffin Griffin (I98I:55), I937-38:922, 927; forEnglishtranslations Headland seefor example, present the agriculturalpractices of the I 986 ).5Agta theystudiedin the I970S as "new," with the more Archaeologicalevidence. The archaeologicalevidenceacculturated Agta only "in theirsecond or thirdgenera- establishes that extensive international trade in foresttion as part-timemarginal [swidden] farmers."Theystate that Agta cultivation practices are still little 4. This photograph, takenon August30, I909, is in theWorcesterknownand thatin the traditional Agta systemtherewas Photographic Archives the Museum of Anthropology, of Univer-a "lack of use of cultigens" (p. 6i). The ethnohistorical, sityof Michigan,File No. I-Z-i. It shows another tradeitem,aarchaeological, linguistic, and botanicalevidencefailsto small clay pot to the right the mortar, was cut from of that thesupportthese views. reproduction published Worcester *2;837). by (I9 5. Eder(i987:23, 45-46, 48-49) cites a number archival of refer- Ethnohistoricalevidence. Early reportssubstantiate encesshowing theBatakNegritos engaged interethnic that also inbeyond question that the Agta were making swiddens trade and some agricultureduring Spanish times. Endicottand that symbioticrelationshipswith nearbyfarming (i983:224-26; i984:30) cites igth-century references indicating that trade,labor barter,and occasional horticulture "have long been regular features the economiesof the nomadicSemang of3. Atleastseventypes symbiosis recognized e.g.,Sutton (Negritos)" Malaysia(p. 30). Brosius of are (see, in (I983:I38; see also I39-40)and HarmonI973:i84): mutualism, cooperation, commensalism, indicatesthattheAytaNegritos beenmaking had swiddens "for aamensalism, competition, predation, parasitism. and verylongtime, almostcertainlyprior thearrival theSpanish." to of
46 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number I, FebruaryI989productshas been goingon throughout much ofinsular Linguistic evidence. Our interdependent model pro-Southeast Asia forat least the last thousandyears and poses that these Agta hunters carried on intense in-that nomadic forestpeoples, includingNegritos,have terethnic relationships with Austronesian-speakingbeen the collectorsand primary traders(Hall I985:I-2, farmers the earliestperiods.The linguisticsupport at for2I, 23-24, 226). Dunn (I975) argues that such tradein this view has been outlined elsewhere (HeadlandMalaya, mostlyto China, began in the sth century A.D. I986:I7-I9, I74-78; Reid I987, i988a, b; Headland andRambo (ig8i:I40) agrees, saying that Malaysian Ne- Reid n.d.) and will be only briefly reviewedhere.gritosmay have evolved into specialistforest collectors All Philippine Negrito groups speak languages that,for maritimetraders earlyas 5,ooo yearsago. Hoffman as like those of theirnon-Negrito neighbors, belongto the(I984, I986) arguesthat Chinese sailorswere trading for Austronesianlanguagefamily.These Negritolanguagesforest productsin Borneo beforethe 5th century. Their are,forthe most part,unintelligible theiragricultural toarguments dispel any suggestionthatPaleolithicpeople neighbors;they are not simplydialects of those neigh-were livingisolated in thejunglesoftheseislandson the bors languages as has frequently been suggested.Theyeve of the Europeans arrival. are neitheraberrantnor distinctiveas a group among Hutterers (I974, I976, I977, i983) description of ex- Philippine languages. Now, since Austronesian-speak- tradein the Philippinessupportsourtensiveprehistoric ing people did not begin migrating into the Philippinesinterdependentmodel forthese islands. He and others untilaround3000 B.C., and since the ancestorsoftodays(Fox i967; LandaJocano I975:I45-53; Scott i98i; i983; Negritoshad lived in thoseislandsfor thousandsofyearsi984:63-84) review the evidence fortradebetween the beforethat time and therefore presumablyspoke lan-Philippinesand China by at least the time of the Sung guagesthatwerenot Austronesian, questionis when thedynasty (A.D. 969-I279), with Negritos having intense and underwhat circumstancestheygave up theirorigi-symbiotic relationships with outsiders at that time nal languagesand began speakingAustronesianones.(Hutterer I974:296). Mindoro, the central in Philippines, At some time in the prehistoric past, the ancestorsofwas part of the international Asian traderoutesby A.D. todays Negritos must have established some type of972 (Scott I 983: I) and "was itself the central port forthe contactwith the Austronesian-speaking immigrants inexchange of local goods on a Borneo-Fukien route" by the course of which they lost theirown languages andA.D. I270 (p. i5). According to Scott,"the total impres- adoptedthose of the newcomers.In orderfora languagesion is one of continual movements of rice, camotes, switch of this magnitudeto have occurred,more wasbananas, coconuts,wine, fish,game, salt, and cloth . . . probably involvedthan trade.There must have been pe-to say nothing of iron, gold, jewelry, porcelain, and riods of intimateinteraction long enoughforbilingual-slaves" (p. 24). ism to develop and then forthe original Negrito lan- Looking specifically the Agta areas of northeastern at guagesto be replaced.The linguisticdata suggest thatallLuzon, archaeological studies indicate that therewere this happeneda verylong time ago. While it is theoreti-non-Negritopopulations here long beforethe Spanish cally possible forearlyNegritosto have abandonedtheirera. Peterson (I974a, b) excavated what was almost originallanguages in the space of threeor fourgenera-surelya non-Negrito habitationsite in the centerof to- tions,the degreeoflanguagedifferentiation has sub- thatdays Agta area that he dates at I200 B.C. or earlierand sequentlytakenplace could not have occurred such ainconsiders"incipientagricultural." has yieldedpottery, It shortperiodoftime. This divergence implies a periodofmortars, and evidence of the reaping of grain (I974b:I3I, independent developmentofwell over a thousandyearsi6i, I62, 225, 227). Another archaeologist presents evi- in the case of the Negritolanguagesthatare todaymostdence that humans were living in anotherpart of this similar to their non-Negritosister languages and ofarea by the end of the Pleistocene and by 5000 B.C. were many thousands of years in the case of those that areusing "grass reapingblades" (Thiel I980). These blades least similar.should probablybe associated with a Negrito popula- Our hypothesis, then,is thatwell over i,ooo yearsago,tion; the brass needle foundat the same site in an ar- and quite possibly 3,000 years ago, the ancestorsof to-chaeologicallevel dated 2000 B.C.and a burialcave dated days Negritoswere interacting withnon-Negrito speak-I500 B.C. are probably not Negrito. ers ofan Austronesian language.This interaction was so The evidenceis solid thatpeople were cultivating rice intensethat the Negritosadoptedthe languageas theirin northeastern Luzon by I400 B.C. (Snow et al. I986). own. Laterthese ancientNegritosseparatedthemselvesThis site is also on the westernedge oftodaysAgta area fromtheirnon-Negrito neighborsbut retainedthe lan-and just a fewkilometers fromThiels. It is probablethat guagetheyhad borrowed from them.Over time,throughtheancestorsoftodaysAgtawereinteracting withthese the normal processes of language change,separatedia-farmers the middleofthe 2d millenniumB.C. Finally, by lects and finallyseparatedaughter languagesdeveloped.recent archaeological research establishes that there There is no otherplausible explanationforthe linguisticwere ceramic manufacturing cultures in northeastern facts. For example, some Negrito languages have re-Luzon as early as around 3000 B.C. (Snow and Shutler tained archaic features, such as case-marking particlesI985:I). The archaeological record, then, suggests that and verbalaffixes, thatare not foundtodayin mostotherrice-farmingpopulations and Negritohunterswere liv- Philippine languages but existed in some very earlying within a days walk of each other in northeastern daughter languages of Proto-Austronesian. These ar-Luzon for at least the last 3,000 years. chaic formsindicate that these Negritolanguageswere
HEADLAND AND REID fromPrehistory the Presentj 47 Hunter-Gatherers tofirst learnedwhen such formswere still presentin the THESANprotolanguagespoken by the non-Negrito people withwhom theywere then in contact. (For details see Reid Since the appearanceofthe I980 filmThe Gods Must Be I987, Headland and Reid n.d.) Crazy,millions ofmoviegoers have been convincedthat Botanical evidence. The reason that prehistoric Ne- the San Bushmen are the sweetest,most innocent,andgritos attached themselves so readily to non-Negrito most contentedpeople on earth-still lacking,in thisfarming populations was, we suggest,a critical nutri- age of airplanes and Coke bottles, any knowledge of property, money,or the outside world. Other powerfultional need. As one of us has arguedelsewhere (Head-land I987), tropical rain forestsare not the food-rich media continueto perpetuatethis myth.A I985 article in Newsweek (January p. 66) depictsthe San as un- 28,biomes theyare sometimesassumed to be. While faunalresourcesare usually sufficient there,thesemaynotpro- touched until, "early in this century, theyencountered needs of Civilization." In a recenthuman ecologytext(Campbellvide sufficient lipids to supplythe nutritionalhumans in the absence of wild plant starches.The late I983) this view is reinforced:"San lifestyleprobably changedlittle over the course of hundredsof thousandsPleistocenehuman populationsof the Philippinesseem of years" (p. I24). In accord with this is another,moreto have been living in areas that were then wooded recentNewsweek articlereviewingthe latest scientificsavannas,not rain forest (Thiel I980; see Scott I984:I4, I42 fora review of the evidence).The prehistoric Agta theoryon modern mans common ancestor,a woman theyare calling Eve who lived about 2oo,ooo yearsagoprobablydid not move into the rain forestbeforetheyhad at least seasonal access to cultivatedstarchfoods. and "probably [lived] much like todays Bushmen in we southernAfrica"(January I988, p. 5I). Johnson II, and We propose,then,that the symbioticrelationship and Earle (I987:38-54) make no mentionofthe !KungSansfindtodaybetween tropicalforest hunter-gatherersfarmers evolved long ago as an adaptivestrategy ex-for involvement with outsidersor withfoodproduction, de-ploitingthe tropicalforest. This aspect of our model ac- scribingthem as pure foragers and asserting that "untilcords well with Rambos (I988) "adaptive radiation themid-i96os, the San wererelatively isolatedfrom the outside" (P. 38). Konner and Shostak (I987:II) extendmodel" forthe ethnogenesis SoutheastAsian Negrito ofculture:thatNegritosevolved culturally into what they this date anotherdecade, sayingthat"the !KungSan ...are today as theymoved into the forestto collect wild were subsisting primarilyby traditionalmethods ofproducts tradewith agriculturalists overseastrad- to and huntingand gathering into the I970S," and suggestthaters fortools and starchfood. theirlife-style may be "relevantto the interpretation of The accumulation of evidence,then,leads us to favor some aspects ofhuman adaptationduring paleolithic thethe interdependent model forthe historyof the Philip- periodofhuman evolution." (Fora reviewofmanyotherpine Negritos.6 Some bands possiblydid live seasonally references describingthe San in isolationistterms,seefarfromand independentof non-Negrito farming pop- Hitchcock I987.) When RichardLee first describedthe !KungSan in theulations, but even these groupsmoved at times to lo-cations in which they could trade with farmers. Most I960s, he too presentedthem in terms of the isolate model. The !Kungwere in factpopularizedthrough LeesNegritos,however,interactedintenselywith theirAu- writingsand the Marshalls (e.g., Thomas I959) as thestronesian-speaking neighborsto the extent that they classic example of "real" hunter-gatherers because ofnot only learned the languages of those neighborsbut theirapparentisolation and independenceof food pro-actually adopted them as their own. The interdepen- duction. But it was Lee himselfwho later discovereddence of Negritos and farming populations observable that "the !Kung were no strangersto agriculture andtodayhas existedmuch longerthan most scholarshave pastoralism" (Lee I979:409; see also Lee I984:I35). Hethought. There is no question that the ancestorsof the foundthat the !Kunghad been doingno plantingat thepresent-day Agta were at one time Paleolithic hunter- time of his firstvisit (I963-64) simply because of agatherers. What we are arguingis that this Stone Age drought;on his return(I967-69) he foundthat 5i% oflife-styleended long ago, probably by the middle the men planted fields (P. 409; see also I976:I8;Holocene, and thatprehistoric Negritosprobably movedinto the Neolithic at more or less the same timeas their I98I:I6 ).7 Wiessner describes,too, the way some ex- tremelyacculturated!Kung groupsmay returnto whatneighbors. appears to the outsiderto be a completelyunaccultur- ated state-a "common occurrence" among them (I977:xx). This observationis supportedby Guenther6. To advocate the isolate model would requirehypothesizing (I986). Accordingto Wiessner"it was impossible... toeitherthatthe Negritos inhabitants the infer werenot the original of anything about degreeof acculturationof a familyPhilippines but ratherimmigrated thereconcurrently with the fromcurrent lifestyle." Gordon(i984:2I9) statesthevariousgroups Austronesian of immigrants some s,ooo yearsago problemclearly:"It is not thatLee is wrongin his repre-or thatthe homelandof Proto-Austronesian the Philippines. wasThe latterhypothesiswouldimply thatthere alwaysbeenboth had sentationof reality.Indeed he has shown himselfto be andNegrito non-Negrito peoplesin theislands,bothgroupshavingevolvedbiologicallyfromsomeearlier type H. sapiensorperhaps ofeven H. erectus,and that their earliest languagewas Proto- 7. This is a figure much higher thanforCasiguranAgtamen,ofAustronesian. our knowledge, one has seriously To no proposed whom24% didsomeminor cultivation themselves I983, an for ineither thesehypotheses. of average year(Headlandi986:483).
48 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number i, FebruaryI989quite flexibleon the issue ofcontactand interaction.... Gordons (I984) startling descriptions the intensein- ofthe problem lies in how others interpret Lees state- teractionbetween Africanherdersand Kalahari San inments." the last hundred years, it is hard to believe that the In fact, Lees I984 book on the !Kung shows how groups described by Silberbauerand Tanaka were asclosely tied the Dobe !Kung were to food producers isolated and "untouched" as theyseem to have thought.when he first encountered them in I963. The 466 Dobe These groupsare indeed "hunter-gatherers," in the but!Kung were then living in nine camps, eight of which sense of Leacock and Lee (i982a:4, 7-9)-not becausewere withina 20-km radius.What studentsoftenfailto theyare isolated primitives who eat onlywild foodsandnote is thattherewere thenlivingwithinthatsame area not because of theirmode of subsistence (i.e., hunting,340 blacks and thousands of livestock. In eight of the fishing, gathering) because of theirunique foraging butnine camps, the Kung were living with black herders, mode of production, characterizedby sharing, com-forwhom theyworkedpart-time herders.as Only at one munual ownership land and resources, of and egalitariancamp, Dobe, were !Kung living with no non-!Kungor political relations (Lee I98I). Todays hunter-gathererslivestock,and even these "frequently visited"theblacks engage in minor food productionand eat tradedstarchat Mahopa, only io km away, "to ask forsome milk" foods,"but theirrelationship theirenvironment to con-(pp. I6-I7, I23). In I963 truckswere passing through tinues to be predatoryand opportunistic" (Keesingthe Dobe area-"about one truckeverysix weeks" (p. I98I:5I2). Above all, as Guenther (I986) points out,i8)-and a minority Dobe !Kungmen had workedin of they manifestflexibility and adaptability, the same asthe mines at Johannesburg I38). In spite of this,Lee (p. bands may move sequentiallyover a generation two orsometimes overemphasizesthe "relative isolation" of from serfdom foodproduction miningto pureforag- to tothe !Kung (pp. vi, I29). It seems an overstatement for ing to employmentas mercenariesas they adjust tohim to claim that the Dobe !Kungwere living "almost ecological and political changes in theirenvironments.entirely huntingand gathering" vi) when he found by (p. As Parkington(I984:I72) says, "We know nowthem or that "by I960 the !Kungstill remainedhunter- thatall hunter-gatherers southernAfricahave shared ingatherers withoutherdsor fields"(p. ii 9, but see p. I35, the landscape forat least i500 years with pastoralistswhere he acknowledgesthat most !Kunghad practiced or agriculturalists." Wilmsen (I983:I6) cites a wealthboth herdingand agriculture the past). And he con- in of data to supportthis view forthe Kalahari and saystinuesto rejectthe thesis of Schrire(I980) and Wilmsen that "in the nineteenthcentury,the !Kung homeland(I983) that !Kung society had been fundamentally al- was alreadylaced by a networkof traderoutes supply-tered by interactionwith herdersmany hundreds of ing local products to the European market." Denbowyearsago (p. I30). (I984.:i88) points out that,thoughanthropologists like From Silberbauers (I98I) descriptionof the neigh- Lee, Silberbauer, and Tanaka have triedto findindepen-boringG/wi San, theyseem as close to the archetype of dent foraging groupsto studyin the Kalahari, "in factthe "isolated" hunter-gatherer societyas one could hope therehas probably been no such thinghere,in an histor-to come. Brooks (i982), however,casts doubt on this ical or processual sense, for almost i5oo years." Thecharacterization. She points (personalcommunication, recent reviews by Hitchcock (I987) and Denbow andI 986) to a statementbyTanaka (I 976: IOO)thatthe same Wilmsen (i986) on the issue supportthe idea of hun-G/wi,whom Tanaka studiedonlya yearafter period the dredsof yearsof San interethnic symbiosis.We may ac-represented Silberbauersstudy, "do keep herds of by cept Vierichs (i982:2I3) propositionthat "if the hunt-goats and donkeys." Accordingto Wilmsen (I983:I7), ing and gatheringway of life has survived in the"Accumulatingevidence overwhelmingly renders obso- Kalahari,it is not because of isolation."lete any thoughtof San isolation even beforeEuropeancolonial intrusionsinto theirnative arenas. Early IronAge agropastoralist economies were active in all partsof THE CENTRAL AFRICAN PYGMIESthe Kalahari and its surroundings least forthe past atmillennium.... To ignorethis is illusion." Moving north to central Africa, we find Campbell Schrire(I980), who believes that the San have been (i983:32-33) describing the Mbuti pygmiesas until re-practicingsporadic pastoralismfor hundredsof years, cently "independentforestgroups." For him, "there isreviewsa good deal ofevidencethatcontradicts the- any no doubt of [the]ability[ofthe Mbutil to survivewith-ories about the existence of pure hunter-gatherers any- out [trade]."Turnbull,of course, argueda quarterof awhere in southern Africa. Denbow (I984:I78) shows centuryago that the Mbuti were not economicallyde-that "foragers and food producershave been enmeshed pendent upon farmersbecause they could and some-in networksof interaction and exchangefori,ooo years times did live independently wild foods (I963:35; onlongerthan was previouslysuspected.Over I,200 years I965:34; but see Vansina I986:436). Indeed, he main-ago these networksreached into the heartof the Dobe tains this positiontoday(I983, I986), despitethe failure!Kungarea" (see also Denbow I986, Denbow and Camp- of anthropologists find a single case-either ethno- tobell I986, Denbow and Wilmsen I986). Volkman (I986) graphic or in the archaeological record-of a pygmypresentsthe San as havinglong practiceda mixed econ- grouplivingindependently village farmers of anywhereomy that included crop plantingand animal husbandry in Africaand the evidence that the African rain forestsas well as huntingand gathering. Finally,afterreading would not provide sufficient wild foods to sustain hu-
HEADLAND AND REID fromPrehistory the Present| 49 Hunter-Gatherers toman foragers long periods(Hartand Hart i986, Head- recognized. for For the Holocene, Wobst(I978) cites severalland I987, Bailey and Peacock n.d.). references widespreadinterregional to tradeamong"late Cavalli-Sforza (i986) paintsa somewhatless isolation- paleolithic hunter-gatherers" on several continents.ist pictureofpygmy life.While he suggeststhatpygmies McKinley(n.d.)has a book in pressto be titledStoneAge(albeit imperfectly) representUpper Paleolithic living World Systems,and Gregg(n.d.) is editinga collectionconditions (p. xxii; see also pp. 378, 422, 424, 425), he of papers on interactionin small-scale societies. Bothdoes acknowledgethat "thereprobablyare no Pygmies volumes will emphasize the worldwide extent of thelivingin completeisolation" (p. 369) and "seem to be no interaction model we propose here. Several papersPygmieswho have truly zero contactwithAfrican farm- in a volume edited by Francis,Kense, and Duke (i98i)ers" (p. 422; see also p. 362). He argues,however,that show the complexityof long-range trade networksinthey "continue living in an economic systempresum- Amazonia in prehistoric times. The papers collectedbyably similar to that of our earlier ancestors" (p. xxii), Mathien and McGuire (I986) describe prehistoric net-"have not, or only veryrecently, adopted farming a workslinkingMesoamerica and the Southwest.Schrire asmajor source of food" (p. i8), "live, or presumably lived (i984:I4-I7) and Spethand Spielmann(i983:20) reviewuntil a shortwhile ago, exclusivelyas hunter-gatherers" the writingsof others on the idea of more general in-(p. 2o), and "live still basically unaffected contact terethnic by tradein NorthAmericalong before arrival thewiththe modernworld" (p. 422). Although pointsout of Europeans,includingEskimo interchanges he across thethatBantu farmers "probablymade earlycontactswith BeringStrait.For insular Southeast Asia in particular,Pygmies . .. 2ooo years ago or earlier" (p. 362), he mini- Dunn (I975:I20-37) reviews evidence suggestingthatmizes the effect those contactson pygmy of cultureand inland-coastal tradewas establishedon theMalay Penin-feels that pygmies "retain substantial independence" sula by 8000 B.C. and that by 2000 B.C. Malayan foresteven today (p. 362). peoples livingfarinland may have been tied into over- In contrast,Bahuchetand Guillaume (i982) arguefora seas tradenetworks.And Hoffman(I984, i986) dispelslong historyof interethnictrade between the African any idea thatthe hunter-gatherers the interior Bor- in ofpygmies and their agriculturalneighbors.Concerning neo were independent "wild people ofthe woods," argu-the Aka, theycall into question "the widespreadimage ing thatthese "Punan groups... arose initiallyfrom theof pygmiesliving confinedand isolated in theirforest demandforvariousjungleproductsdesiredby Chinese"cocoon," sayingthat "the linguisticaffiliations Aka, morethan I,000 yearsago (I986: i02). According Hoff- of toand the long process of differentiation, imply the exis- man, "it is time foranthropologists stop thinking to oftence of ancient contacts which must have been more Borneoas thoughit were anotherNew Guinea" (p. I03).extensive than mere occasional exchanges of material We should not, then, continue to consider thegoods" (p. I9I; see also Bahuchet and Thomas I986, "hunter-gatherers" the last 2,ooo years or so as ofBahucheti987).8 Morelli,Winn,and Tronick(i986:744) isolated or as people who eat no domestic foods (Coongo a step farther propose that "forestliving forthe I97I :xvii), practice strict"Pleistocene economies-no toMbuti may be a relativelyrecent phenomenon" (after metal, firearms, dogs, or contactwith non-hunting cul-theywere forcedinto the forest warring by tribes). tures" (Lee and DeVore i968:4), live in patrilocalbands (Service I97I), or have no agriculture of any kind (Mur-OTHER HUNTER-GATHERER GROUPS dock i968:i5). As Lee and DeVore have stressed,such definitions would effectively eliminate most, if not all, Recentevidencesuggeststhat-with thepossible excep- ofthe foraging peoples describedoverthe last century as tion of the arctic and subarctic peoples-most late "hunter-gatherers." Even prehistoric AustralianAbori- Holocene hunter-gatherer societies were not isolated at gines evidentlypracticedvarious types of simple plant all but engagedto some degreein interethnic tradewith cultivation, includingburning, seed planting, replantingneighboring societies and, in manycases, part-time food of wild yam tops,fertilization, irrigation and (Campbellproduction. There is some evidence of intense trade,at i965). least in Europe,duringthe late Pleistocene.The archae- ologistOlga Soffer, referring Cro-Magnon to peoples,hasrecentlybeen quoted as saying,"You have something Explainingthe Persistencelike a prehistoric Hudson Bay Co.," with elaboratenet- of the Isolate Modelworks of exchange between clans (Newsweek,Novem-ber io, I986, P. 7I). Soffer(I985) argues for much more A Frenchjournalistwho visitedan AgtaNegritoband incomplexityin social organizationamong Upper Pleis- thenorthern Philippinesfora week in I 979 reported thattocene hunter-gatherers than has heretofore been therewas "no evidencethatthe tribepracticedany kind of agriculture" (Evrard1979:38) and describedtheirfear of his mirror, tape recorder,and camera,"obviouslythe8. Berry al. (i986:26) make the same argument the Biaka first et for theyhad everseen"-considering himself"the first Apygmies. brief reviewofother suchlinguisticreferences be white man to intrude may upon them" (p. 39). A I98I reportfound in Cavalli-Sforza (i986:367-69). In this light, Tumbulls(i983:21) argument thatthe Mbutirecently "lost theirown lan- on these same Agta by the Commissionerto the Non-guageand adoptedthose of the immigrant peoples" is unaccept- ChristianTribesforCagayan Province(appointed the byable. governor and given that title in the late 70s) describes
50 | CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number i, FebruaryI989them as a "Newly Found Tribe" of "cannibal[s]in the Spain, describedthe wildness and brutalnature of theupperSierraMadre" and even quotes one Agta as saying Amerindians and proposed genocide as a solution.that "the most delicious meat is the liverof human be- Rosaldo (I978:242) notes the same situationin theings" (Cortez n.d.). He describes them as "the most Philippinesand sees "the dominantmotive . .. [as] con-primitive, wild, fierceand dangerousgroup... a genera- trol"; colonizersview indigenouslifewaysas dangeroustion fromthe Stone Age" and speaks of theirhavingno to the goals of "civilization" in that they threatentheclothes,being fondof eatingraw meat, and being igno- establishment of roads and towns in frontierareas.rant of days, weeks, months,and years; theirchildren, Guenther (i980:I35) reviews i8th- the and igth-centuryhe says,are "unwantedand unloved," and "idolatry and pejorativeattitudesand destructive actions ofEuropeanadultery supreme." These are the same Agta among are colonists against the San in southern Africa and ac-whom one of us had been livingsince i 962. They have, counts forthe persistenceof negativestereotypes an asofcourse,longbeen quite used to whitepeople,cameras, "ideological mechanism . .. [that]justified denial of theand mirrors, they love and care fortheirchildren,and land,freedom and lifeto the Bushman." Volkman(i986)theyhave interacted with outsidersformany hundreds reports that the Namibian governmentcontinues toof years. treat the San in the same way, making political deci- Ethnocentric and racist statementssuch as these still sions forthem based on their"primitiveness."Finally,appearin print,and the prejudicetheyreflect continues Taussig (i987) shows how the colonial representation ofto be widely held (forsummarycompilationsof exam- the Colombian Indianas Wild Man led to thetorture andples, see Headland I986:445; Headland and Reid n.d.; killingof Indians by colonists in the earlyyearsof thisHoffman I986:22-4, 8, 46, 57, 95-96; Rosaldo I982; century.GuentherI980). While few if any anthropologists today Sponsel(i985:96-97) that in suggests anthropologistswould accept any partof the igth-century evolutionary particularperpetuatethe isolate model because of thetheoriesof Tylor and Morgan or of Frazerscreationof high value theyplace on the "primitiveness the cul- of"an atmosphere of romantic savagery" (Strathern ture studied," "the traditionalin primitiveculture,"i987:256), manylay peoplecontinue believein the to "culturalpurity,"and the depictionofthepeople as "ouranthropological fiction that Tylor and Morgan contemporary ancestors." On the same theme,Martincodified-that human peoples evolve culturallyfrom (i986:420) of says that the folklorization ethnographicsavagery barbarism civilized status.Implausibleas to to inaccuracies is the result of "exoticism" in anthro-this viewpointis in the lightofnew archaeological, lin- pology. Ramos (i987) believes that this is why theguistic,archival,and ethnographic data, it continuesto Yanomamo are so famous today,at the same time es-overshadowrecent scientifically sound analyses based (pp. 298, pousingFabianspoliticalexplanation 299).on these data. Rosaldo (i982), focusing the PhilippineNegritos, on sug- Some anthropologists have recentlyattemptedto ex- gests that they are mythologized "uttersavages" to asplain whythismythofthe "Savage Other"persists. Pan- make them more fascinating "objects of scientificdian(I985 :63), who reviews anthropology theper- value." He is probably from right saying, in "Had Negritosnotspective of the historyof Westernthought,concludes existedperhapstheywould have been invented"(p. 3 2 I ).that "the psychologicalneeds of people are met by the Wobst(I978:304) arguesthatanthropologists "rein-symbolofthewild man." Fabian (i 983: I 64) takes a more force the overwhelmingethnographicstereotypethatpolitical position, showing that anthropology tends to hunter-gatherers articulateexclusivelywith local vari-view contemporary tribalculturesas if theywere sepa- ability, and that regional and interregionalprocessratefrom in time and place. He sees thisas a political among hunter-gatherers a symptomof degeneration us isuse ofanthropology thatmaintainsand reinforces rela- and culture contact." It is his view that "all hunter- ationshipbetweendominantand dominatedsocieties.He gatherers the ethnographic were intimatelytied in eraviews what we call the isolate model as an ideological into continent-wide culturalmatrices"(p. 303) but thattool for exploitationand oppression-for "intellectual "the literature remarkably is silent" (p. 304) on this be-imperialism."Dove (I983:85) discusses the persistence cause anthropologists have done a kind of "salvage eth-of the belief that swidden cultivationis primitiveand nography"on them, trying reconstruct to the "ethno-wasteful and that swiddeners (no less than hunter- graphicpresent-the imaginary point in time when thegatherers) in isolation,"completelycut off live fromthe studied populations were less affected culture con- byrest of the world," and, with Fabian, sees the reason as tact." In short, Wobstsays,anthropologists have filteredpolitical: "These myths. . . have been used since colo- out behaviors involving interactionbetween huntersnial times to justify exploitationof a . .. vulnerable and theirsurrounding the nation-states, and therefore "thepeasantry ... [a] morepowerful by urbanand governing ethnographic literature perpetuatesa worms-eyeviewelite" (p. 96). of [hunter-gatherer] reality." Cowlishaw (i987) shows Behar (I987) shows how the Spanish colonizers of forAustralianAboriginesthat anthropologists have de-northernMexico emphasized the savagery of local nied theirhistoryand authenticity focusingon the byhunter-gatherers a justification drivingthem off "traditional"in theircultures. as fordesiredlands or enslavingthem.Many Spanish settlers, Wolf (I982:I4) blames functionalist anthropology,in their petitions to authorities in Mexico City and with its static view of cultures,formisleadinganthro-
HEADLAND AND REID fromPrehistory the Present15I Hunter-Gatherers to pologists into treatingtribal cultures as "hypothetical Comments isolates." We suggestthatthe moreecologicallyoriented neofunctionalists the I970S have made the same mis- of take. As Mintz (I985 :xxvi-xxvii) explains, M. G. BICCHIERI Central Washington DepartmentofAnthropology, Culturalor social anthropology built its reputa- has tion as a disciplineupon the studyof . .. what are University, Wash.98926, U.S.A.I7 VIII 88 Ellensburg, labeled "primitive"societies.... [This]has unfor- our Headland and Reid do a good job ofincreasing appre- tuantely anthropologists,. . occasionally,to ig- led . noreinformation thatmade it clear thatthe society ciation of cultural variabilityamong hunter-gatherers and airing justifiable analytical concerns. Having ap- beingstudiedwas not quite so primitive isolated) (or plauded the substanceoftheircontribution,would like I as the anthropologist would like.... [thusgivingthe of to turnmy attentionto its "reprimanding" tone,which impression] an allegedlypristine primitivity,coolly wave ofcriticism directed is typicalofthe contemporary observedby the anthropologist-as-hero.... One an- thropological monograph afteranotherwhisks out of at past studies of simple human collectives. Criticisms view any signsofthe presentand how it came to of hunter-gatherer culturesas pristineisolates have be- be. come so pervasiveas to command the attentionof the "ResearchNews" section ofScience,in which the "very simple but persuasive model of hunter-gatherer is life" challengedand IrvenDeVore acknowledgesthe error of Conclusion viewingsuch societies as pristine(Lewin i988). This de- bunkingshould be directed more at media images ofthe The historical and philosophical reasons for Western modernnoble savage than at the paradigms thatbecame civilizations fascination with savagerymay be more part of the anthropologicalscene in the sixties. As a complex than all of these suggestionscombined.As we participantin the Ottawa symposia on band organiza- learn fromStocking(i987), this Westernworld view of tion (i965) and culturalecology (i966) and the Chicago the Savage Otherprobably evolvedfrom i 8th-century an Victoriananthropology, and aspects of this view con- symposium"Man the Hunter" (i966), I findit difficult to dismiss them as having fostered the idea of hunter- tinue to be fed by both anthropologicalwritingsand as gatherers "primitive isolates." I feel that,while pres- popularworks today.9 ent in the studies of simple societies of the last several We have arguedthat small indigenoussocieties are as decades,the "affluent savage isolate" is receiving too far fully modern as any 20th-century human group, that much press relative to the total ethnographic and eth- many hunter-gatherer groups have been involved in context. minorfood productionforthousandsof years,and that nological While the data base generatedand utilized by Head- many of these latter were also participatingin in- land and Reid is fundamentally good,theirtreatment of terethnicand possibly internationaltrade long before the Western"Savage Other" mythand theirclaim to be the i 6th-century Europeanexpansion.The foraging soci- the rightful heirs to evolutionary-adaptive theoryare eties we know today remain in their"primitive"state not because they are "backward" but because they are questionable. In theiruse of teleological language they display the very Eurocentrismthey decry in others. kepttherebytheirmorepowerful neighbors because and Whatwe need are pliable categories ecologicaladapta- of it is economicallytheirmost viable optionin theirvery tion that referto population/spaceratios. On such a restricted circumstances.Westernershave chronically basis one would postulatethatmanythousandsofyears failed to understandsuch societies because they con- some small-scale societies ran out of the space nec- tinue to see them as fossilized isolated huntersrather ago than as "commercial foragers"carrying a life-style essaryto subsist by food collection and had to shiftto on the more laborious and less reliable foodproduction. not in spite of but because of theirparticular economic We must perceive variability and predictability- role in the global world in which they live. Until this change and resistanceto change-as intrinsic and com- anthropological bias is corrected, our image of hunter- plementary tendencies of human adaptiveness and, gatherer cultureand ecologywill remainincompleteand therefore, hold that culture change and the attendant distorted. variabilityare universals. We must study rates and forms change,not argueoverits existence,and accept of the fact that biocultural viability implies the coexis-9. An exampleof this was the worldwide excitement createdin tence, not the mutual exclusiveness, of "identifiable1971 whena group scientists of claimedto havefound lostStone units." At a more specificlevel, it is important a thatweAgetribe Tasadaycavemen a denserainforest thesouthem acknowledgethe difference of in in betweenmaterialand socialPhilippines-a story that,according severalI986 reports, to may need-resolving technologies that,notingthe ease with sohave been a hoax (see e.g., Newsweek,April 28, I986, p. Si; which material cultural elements can cross societalAsiaweek, August 31, I986, pp. 60-6I; Anthropology Today2[61:23-24;see also the officialpositionof the University the boundaries,we can marvel not at the interdependence ofPhilippines Department of Anthropology[Universityof the Philip- and "impurity" small-scale societies but at theirper- ofpines i9881). sistence.
52 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 30, Number i, FebruaryI989 In the analysis of human adaptiveness,useful cate- "obsession with cowrie shells" thatwere obtainedfromgories and labels are rooted (within the confines of distantareas.finitenessand relativism) conceptssuch as integrated in If in I988 scholars can still write that there werechange, probabilism,and change meeting change. For "isolated" horticulturalists until 5o years ago, howinstance, the advent of storagein material technology much more isolated hunter-gatherers must appear toand of complex kinship forms in social technology some! Naive romanticism, value ofemphasizingthe theshould be recognizedas indicatorsof an overall trend primitivenessof a people, the theoreticalneatness offrom simple to complex,not as revolutionary inventions closed-system analysis,and an emphasis on salvage eth-that made civilization possible. Headland and Reid nographyto gather informationon an assumed ab-should have put less stresson chastisingthe proponents originalpast in which time is collapsed into the eth-of unpalatable views and more on demonstrating the nographic present are among the reasons given bypresence,historically and prehistorically, moreinter- of Headland and Reid forthe isolate models appeal. In re-dependence of food collectors and food producersthan gard to the last of these, while historicalresearchhashad been thought. favorsynthetic I approachescouched demonstrated ethnological misrepresentation, some-in positiveterms,as exemplified the writings Bar- by of times it has not gone far enough. Once aboriginalnard and Ingold,in which criticismis offered a man- in baseline sociocultural systems were reconstructedner that engenders constructivedialogue ratherthan throughethnohistoricaltechniques, scholars, particu-polemics. larlynonarchaeologists, treated themas iftheyextended indefinitely into the past. The intergroup tradeand war- fareevidentin the archival/ethnographic accountswere CHARLES A. BISHOP oftenassumed to be post-Western-contact phenomenaDepartmentofAnthropology and Sociology, stemmingfromthe introductionof new technologies.State University New Yorkat Oswego, of For example, SubarcticAlgonquian and AthapaskanIn-Oswego, N.Y. I3I26, U.S.A. I5 vii 88 dians who live in less productive regionshave often been treatedas iftheywere immune from effects trade the ofThis is a good article that challenges the isolationist priorto European influences.In fact,however,thereisview of hunter-gatherer societies. Despite a huge archaeologicalevidence of widespreaddisseminationofamount of evidence to the contrary, thereremains the ideas (Wright i987:9-Ii). Evenbefore direct Europeantendency, deliberate or unconscious, to see recent contact,various peoples later designatedCree tradedahunter-gatherer lifewaysas representative an ancient, variety materialswith the Nipissingand Ottawa,who of ofuninfluenced and unchanging past. But clearly this in turn exchanged them forhorticultural productsob-model has also been assumed to apply to many small- tainedfrom Huron and Petun. Complex tradechains thescale horticulturalists. Diamond (I988), for example, and middleman systems extendedthroughout most ofstresses the extremeisolation of parts of New Guinea the easternSubarctic(Bishop i986), and similarsystemsdue to the difficulty-atleast forEuropeans-of travel. existed among the prehistoricAthapaskans of BritishThis may well explain why the Dani did not have face- Columbia (Bishop i987) and otherinland Athapaskansto-face contactswithEuropeansuntilthe I938 Archbold (Rubeland Rosmani983). Thus, there no evidence isExpedition,but it does not mean that they were not thatSubarcticpeoples were "possible exceptions"to the an heinfluenced theirneighbors, impression conveys interdependent by model. Indeed, certainfeaturesof theirin discussingvariationsin materials,artforms, and lan- sociopolitical organization can best be explained inguage: "New Guinea shows linguists what the world termsof the intensity of and regularity intergroup rela-used to be like, with each isolated tribehavingits own tionships (Bishop i983, i986).language,until agricultures a rise permitted fewgroups I have only one criticismof this article: it does notto expand and spread theirtongue over large areas" (p. carrythe argumentfarenough. At one point Headland31). In all fairness mustpointout thatDiamond, not an and Reid refer Soffers I to attribution rankingin t-he ofanthropologist, considersvillage isolation to have been Upper Paleolithic in part to involvementin trade.Thisgeneratedby intergroup warfare ratherthan simplythe to me is significant because it demonstrates thatsocietaldifficulty travel.The point is, however,that cultural complexitydoes not simply depend upon food abun- ofand linguisticdiversity New Guinea is due to interde- dance(Bishop in to i983, i987) or,contrary Testart (i982,pendent relationships among often hostile neighbors i988), on storage.Moreover,given that involvementinwho have forced upon each othera degreeofsocial isola- politicallyand sometimes economically motivatedex-tion that otherwisewould not have existed. These and change was importantto hunter-gatherers, if Sof- thensimilar types of relationshipstend to generate tribal fers argumentis correctit underminesthe view thatboundedness (Fried I975) and may have led some an- most Holocene hunter-gatherers were egalitarianin the tothropologists assume, incorrectly, thatthe particular ways outlinedby Leacock and Lee (i982b:7-I3). In fact,groups they were studyingafterhostilities ended had the only conclusion that can be reachedis thatthe ma-little to do with surroundingpeoples. Whatever the jorityof hunter-gatherers duringat least the last i2,ooocauses of warfare, groupsappear to have known much yearswere socially stratified. The only exceptionsmaymore about the worldbeyondtheirvillages thanreports have been groupssuch as the Paleo-Indiansthatbegantosuggest.For instance,the Dani are said to have had an occupynew areas forthe first time. Withinthe last few