Some continuing problems in new world culture history


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Some continuing problems in new world culture history

  1. 1. Society for American Archaeology Some Continuing Problems in New World Culture History Author(s): Gordon R. Willey Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 50, No. 2, Golden Anniversary Issue (Apr., 1985), pp. 351- 363 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: . Accessed: 10/07/2011 20:35 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may 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 at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Society for American Archaeology is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to American Antiquity.
  2. 2. SOME CONTINUING PROBLEMS IN NEW WORLD CULTURE HISTORY Gordon R. Willey To aid in the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Society for American Archaeology and its journal, American Antiquity, I was invited to address myself to "Unsolved Problems in New World Culture History." I have agreed to do this, but, with the editor's indulgence, I would like to rephrase the title as I have, for I think that the word "continuing" more accurately captures the sense of the situation and where our interests lie. As all of us are aware, there are many unsolved problems in Precolumbian culture history-"more holes than cheese," as the saying goes-but I think I should take a look at some of those with which we are most familiar. We might be justified in saying that some of them have been partially solved, or at least that they are now better delineated and delimited, that we have a better "fix" on them. Nevertheless, in all of the examples I have chosen we still have a ways to go. What, as of 1985, are some of these most important culture historical problems of the New World Precolumbian past? It goes without saying that no two American archaeologists would answer this question in the same way. I have attempted to pick well-recognized problem themes and to range widely in geography and sweepingly in time. All the topics or problem themes that I have decided upon involve issues of great complexity and detail, and I can hardly do justice to all of this in the space that I have. (Indeed, one obvious topic-agricultural origins and distributions-is so complex and the evidential base in so much flux that I have decided not to include it here.) Similarly, each theme has a substantial background literature and what I cite is only a tiny sampling; however, in recognition of the role of American Antiquity in the pursuit of these problems over the past five decades, I have made a special effort to cite articles from this journal wherever they are pertinent. It remains to make only one more preliminary observation. This concerns just how I have construed the meaning of the term "culture history" for the purposes of this article. As I understand it, and within the context of archaeological research, a culture historical problem is one concerned with the space-time plotting of archaeological culture entities and with the relationships of these entities one to another. A processual problem, on the other hand, would be one with the focus of interest on culture change and with the forces causing, or at least attendant upon, that change (see Flannery 1967). For a very long timewe tended to avoid in situ explanations of culture change or process; instead, we "copped out" by tossing the question of what brought about the change to some other site, region, area, or even hemisphere. "Outside influence" or diffusion was the only process invoked, and diffusion itself received little analysis as a process. This was, or has been considered, "traditional" archaeology. For the past 20 years, the reaction against this has been to concentrate on in situ culture change so that this has become the only respectable context in which to study process. Soon, I would hope, there will be a swing back toward some concern with diffusion for surely the processes of culture change must operate "horizontally" as well as "vertically." I take the space to say this here because it helps explain why the traditional culture historical problems which I address are usually thought of as "diffusionist" problems. They are that only in part for they are all problems that pose questions about cultural relationships, and questions of relationships lead inevitably into considerations of process. GordonR. Willey,PeabodyMuseum,HarvardUniversity,Cambridge,MA02138 AmericanAntiquity,50(2), 1985,pp. 351-363. CopyrightC 1985by the SocietyforAmericanArchaeology 351
  3. 3. AMERICANANTIQUITY ANCIENT ASIAN-AMERICAN CONNECTIONS AND EARLY AMERICAN LITHIC INDUSTRIES Let us begin at the beginning with this problem suite. When did people firstcome to the Americas, from where, by what routes, and in what cultural circumstances? After the Folsom discoveries satisfactorily demonstrated the Late Pleistocene presence of humans on the North American High Plains, and taking into account the long-held common-sense assumption that people first entered the Americas by a Siberia-to-Alaska route, it was logical to seek evidences of Folsom or Folsom- like lithic distributions in Alaska. Frederica de Laguna stated this in an early issue of American Antiquity (De Laguna 1936:6): Themostimportantproblemstodayin Americanarchaeologyarethedefinitionof thisculture(Folsom),the mappingof its extentin time and place,and the tracingof the routeby whichits carriers,presumablythe firstAmericans,enteredthe continentand penetratedto the southwest. This structuring of the problem received support from finds of polygonal core-prismatic blade artifacts in Alaska, reminiscent of Asiatic industries (Nelson 1937) as well as from discoveries of Folsom-like and Yuma-like points from there (Rainey 1940; Skarland and Giddings 19Sarand and n 48). But unfortunately for the hypothesis, these distinctive projectile point types did not seem to be present in Siberia; and before long American archaeologists were shifting to a position that the Folsomoid and Yumoid finds in Alaska were the result of back-diffusion from mid-continental North America where, it was beginning to be believed, the distinctive American projectile points had developed (Tolstoy 1958). If so, from what sort of technological base had these points evolved? In response to this restructuring of the problem, it was suggested that the first immigrants to the New World brought with them a Levallois-Mousteroid technological heritage (Tolstoy 1958; Wilm- sen 1964) that featured core, flake, and unifacially-chipped tools but no bifacial points. A. D. Krieger (1962, 1964), R. S. MacNeish (1976), and A. L. Bryan (1978), among others, have reviewed the possibilities of such an American "pre-projectile point" horizon or stage. For the most part, the various finds and sites putatively pertaining to such a horizon are surrounded by somewhat equivocal circumstances that admit of interpretations other than those of great antiquity. Recently, however, discoveries at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, may indicate that people were, indeed, well down into North America prior to 10,000 B.C., with artifacts dating as early as ca. 17,000 B.C. (Adovasio et al. 1983; Jennings 1983). The Meadowcroft assemblage includes prismatic blades, knives, scrapers, gravers, and, most significantly, a single bifacially-flaked lanceo- late point that could be a prototype of the Llano-Clovis-Folsom-Plano tradition of ca. 10,000-7000 B.C. Where does the problem, or set of problems, now stand? Although good evidence is still very limited, it seems highly likely that people, with some kind of Asiatic lithic heritage were in the Americas before 10,000 B.C. Clearly, the nature of the Asiatic heritage needs greater specification. The Clovis-Folsom tradition may very well have developed out of such an American antecedent, but we need more evidence to clinch the matter. We cannot yet rule out the possibility that this ancient "pre-projectile point" horizon was added to ormodified by later Asiatic emigrants and ideas. At this junctureththeproblem becomes as much one for Siberian archaeologists as for Amer- icanists. A furtherquestion concerns the spread of the later lanceolate point tradition in the Americas. A. L. Bryan (1983) has argued against such a diffusion into South America, preferringto see separate South American evolutions of such bifacially-made points from the old "pre-projectile point" base. Needless to say, this barest sketch of lithic forms, space, and time says nothing of such major "non-historical" questions as the economies or lifestyles of the earliest immigrants to the New World nor of the reasons that might lie behind the changes in these lifestyles. CERAMIC ORIGINS AND DIFFUSIONS What is the history of pottery in the Precolumbian New World, its places of origin and its subsequent diffusions? Many current researchers would reject this as an "old-fashioned" kind of problem, saying that it really is not important, that the significant thing in any archaeological culture 352 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  4. 4. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORY context was how pottery was integrated in its socio-cultural matrix, what was its meaning. Perhaps so, but I will disagree here and argue that the more we know about the sheer lines of culture historical structure, the better position we will be in to examine culture process. As of now, we know that ceramics are as early as the fourth millennium B.C. in Ecuador (Bischof and Viteri 1972; Marcos, 1980) and Colombia (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1980) and, perhaps, in Panama (Cooke 1984). While these ceramics (Valdivia, San Pablo, Real Alto, Turbana, Monsu, Puerto Hormiga, Monagrillo, etc.) do not compose a uniform style, they share traits in form and incised and punctated decoration that suggests, along with their geographical concentration in this part of South America, a common basic origin. This origin may go back to 4000 B.C. (although no radio- carbon dates have yet been reported that are quite this early). To the north and to the south of this Ecuadorian-Colombian "nucleus" of early pottery, ceramics appear somewhat later:no earlier than 2500 B.C. in Mesoamerica (MacNeish, Peterson, and Flannery 1970; Tolstoy 1978) and at about 1800 B.C. for Peru (Conrad 1980; Willey 1971:chapter 4). It seems probable that the earliest Peruvian ceramics are linked to this Ecuadorian-Colombian "nu- cleus" but less certain that those of Mesoamerica are so linked. Northward from Mesoamerica, pottery does not seem to have reached the United States Southwest until about 300 B.C., at the earliest, and, as implied, a Mesoamerican derivation seems very likely (Rohn 1978). We return to Eastern North America further along. To go back to South America, the earliest Venezuelan dates for pottery are at about 2000 B.C. (Roosevelt 1980; Rouse and Allaire 1980), but in the Lower Amazonian region the Mina ceramic tradition has one associated radiocarbon date of 3700 B.C. (Brochado and Lathrap 1980; see also Simoes 1971, 1978). While this is only a single date-most of the Mina dates being in the 1900- 1600 B.C. range-it is suggestive that pottery in the South American Lowlands may have a great antiquity, rivaling that of the Ecuadorian-Colombian "nucleus." Brochado (1980) also indicates an age of as much as 2800 B.C. for the Pedra do Caboclo ceramic tradition of Eastern Brazil, which he sees as an offshoot of the Mina. Do we have hints here that the "nucleus" for pottery beginnings, in the 4000-3000 B.C. time range, should be extended to embrace the Amazon Basin? Clearly, the range and magnitude of the problem of pottery origins in South America is enormous; and the more we find out the more complicated the situation becomes. The Eastern North American situation is also complicated. The earliest known pottery, the fiber- tempered wares of Georgia and Florida, have radiocarbon dates going back to about 2500-2000 B.C. (Griffin 1978). Because some of the early northern Colombian pottery is fiber-tempered, and bears incised designs and has vessel forms comparable to the Southeastern United States fiber- tempered wares, J. A. Ford (1966, 1969) argued that the origins were in Colombia, although not all would agree. Whether the Southeastern fiber-tempered vessels were Colombian-inspired or locally invented, a problem of long-standing has been their relationship to Woodland pottery of the northern part of the Eastern United States and southern Canada. Some of the first articles in this journal (Gjessing 1948; McKern 1937; Vickers 1945; Wintemberg 1942; see also, more recently, Kehoe 1962; Tolstoy 1953, 1958) had advanced the idea that cord-marked and fabric-marked Woodland pottery owed its origins to Asiatic or circumpolar diffusions. Its earliest American occurrences, however, have not been pushed back much in excess of 1000 B.C. (Griffin 1978, 1983) so that a possible stimulus diffusion from the Southeastern fiber-tempered pottery tradition has to be con- sidered as a possible source. A very recent American Antiquity article by K. C. Reid (1984) strengthens this line of argument by extending the distribution of fiber-tempered wares to the Missouri-Kansas region where they date to 2600-1600 B.C. Reid then develops the argument that climatic conditions and vegetation burning in the more northerly latitudes may have destroyed the soft fiber-tempered pottery in the ground and that there was less of a geographical and chronological gap between southern fiber-tempered wares and northern Woodland pottery than appears in the archaeological record. THE HOPEWELLIAN-TO-MISSISSIPPIAN TRANSITION IN THE EASTERN UNITED STATES A problem of continuing interest for Eastern United States archaeologists has been the nature of Willey] 353
  5. 5. AMERICANANTIQUITY the "gap" or the "transition" between the Hopewellian ceremonial climax (ca. A.D. 200-400) and the rise and climax of Mississippian ceremonialism (ca. A.D. 1000-1400). What happened in the time in between? Was there a cultural "decline," a definite "break," or was there some kind of transitional continuity between these two climaxes? The problem has been around for some time. The principal article in the very first issue of American Antiquity was concerned with an aspect of it (Titterington 1935). In the last decade or so, research in the American Bottom, near East St. Louis and the major Mississippian mound site of Cahokia (Bareis and Porter, eds. 1984), as well as immediately to the south in Missouri and Arkansas (Morse and Morse 1983), has shown that this interim period of ceremonial "decline" was, at the same time, one of substantial continuity between Late Woodland and emergent Mississippian village cultures, with gradual transitions in subsistence adjustments and ceramic styles. Yet the ceremonial or "elite" cultural "decline" remains unexplained. Natural environmental changes and other factors, such as the adjustment to maize agriculture, have been invoked in speculations as to the causes of the Hopewellian slump. One interesting facet of the problem is that, whatever the causes of the "decline" in the Central Mississippi Valley-Ohio region, Mississippi Valley, the Marksville-Issaquena-Troyville-Coles Creek sequence of cultures, which spans the time period in question, did not show a comparable slackening in ceremonial center construction (Ford 1951; Greengo 1964), nor does the Santa Rosa-Swift Creek-to-Weeden Island continuum of the Florida Gulf Coast (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Muller 1983; Willey 1949) or the related Kolomoki culture of south Georgia (Kellar et al. 1962; Muller 1983; Sears 1956). In these southern regions it appears that an essentially Hopewellian, or Hopewellian-related, heritage was undergoing a transformation toward Mississippian modes without any break or "decline" of the sort noted in the Central Mississippi Valley-Ohio regions. Among other things, temple-type platform mounds with ramps were being built, along with the tradition of the earlier burial mound ceremonialism, and in ceramics new vessel forms and decorative modes, far more elaborate than those associated with the Woodland tradition farther north, and in some ways pointing toward later Mississippian developments, make their appearance. That these traits do occur in the southern portion of the Eastern United States prompts the speculation that some sort of Mesoamerican stimuli might have been operating here in the Late Woodland time period and that this may have had something to do with the post-Hopewellian but pre-Mississippian florescence in these southern regions. Obviously, there is a range of problems here to spur future investigations in Eastern and especially Southeastern archaeology, and some of these relate to our next theme. MESOAMERICAN-NORTH AMERICAN RELATIONSHIPS The role of Mesoamerican contacts in the rise of the native cultures of the Southwestern and Eastern United States is a standby topic of speculation and argument in American archaeology that goes back to the nineteenth century and before. In recent times, most archaeologists who have addressed this question have admitted that there were indeed such communications between Mexico and the areas to the north and that the principal drift of this diffusion was from south-to-north. Certainly the basic elements of North American agriculture-maize, beans,b and squash-came to the Southwestern and Southeastern United States from Mesoamerica, and even a casual inspection of Mesoamerican and North American ceramics indicates some kind of connection. But beyond these generalities, it has taken a while to document the case. This documentation is better for the Southwest than for the Eastern United States, and this clearly has a lot to do with the nature of the data. From the Mesoamerican frontiers of Sinaloa and Durango in west Mexico there is at least a semi-continuous chain of Precolumbian settlement through Sonora and Chihuahua into Arizona and New Mexico (Willey 1966:chapter 4); and a number of trait linkages bear out a case for cultural continuity-the red-on-buff pottery tradition, ball-game courts, certain other architectural features, and copper metallurgy, in addition to agriculture (Dixon 1964; Haury 1937; Hibben 1966; Johnson 1963; Lister and Howard 1955; Reed 1942; Wasley 1960). By 354 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  6. 6. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORY the latter part of the 1960s archaeological dating was advanced enough, both in Mesoamerica and the Southwest, to allow A. H. Schroeder (1965, 1966) to essay definition of two types of Meso- american-to-Southwest diffusion: an earlier (prior to A.D. 600), "down the line" sort, responsible for agriculture and pottery; and a later (post-A.D. 600) that operated in a more patterned way to bring in integrated trait complexes. Subsequent intensive site studies at Casas Grandes, in northern Chihuahua (Di Peso 1974), and Snaketown, in southern Arizona (Haury 1976), have been partic- ularly successful in bolstering the case for the latter type of diffusion by identifying trading station establishments and settlements probably of immigrant groups (see also Riley and Hedrick, eds. 1978). Currently, I think we can say that some of the specific lines of cultural historical connection between Mesoamerica and the Southwest have been demonstrated and that Southwestern archae- ologists now see the more important problems as those of determining and understanding the processes involved (Lipe 1983). In contrast to the Southwestern situation, that of the Southeast is less advanced. Here there is a huge geographical gap in northern Tamaulipas and Texas in which native agriculture was largely lacking and through which there is no Mesoamerican-to-Southeast continuity in other traits. In spite of the gap, there are the trait similarities to be explained in the Southeast-agriculture, certain ceramic forms and decoration, and temple mound-plaza site arrangements. Some mention has been made of possible Mesoamerican contacts with the Southeast on a Hopewellian and immediately post-Hopewellian time level in the Florida region, and to these we can add the discovery of what appears to be a stone stela set up in front of a temple mound at the Gulf Coast site of Crystal River (Bullen 1966). This suggests possible water contacts along the Gulf Coast (see also Krieger 1953). After A.D. 1000, however, with the rise of Mississippian and Mississippian-related cultures, Meso- american similarities are more numerous and striking. Some of these are particularly notable in the archaeological ceramics of the Caddo region of northeast Texas and adjoining states (Du Solier, Krieger, and Griffin 1947; see also Griffin 1949; Krieger 1949; Phillips 1940) and suggest an inland route of contact through Texas. But, as is evident, the culture historical structuring of the problem of Mesoamerican-Southeastern United States relationships is still sketchy, and processual inquiry into the general question will move at peril with an absence of a solid data underpinning. A MAYA PROBLEM In moving southward through the Americas, let me shift now to a more regionally circumscribed problem, one primarily of interest to Mayanists and Mesoamericanists but still with parallels to problems in other American areas. The questions are those of a proper chronological alignment between southern and northern Maya Lowland culture sequences and of determining the correct sequence in the north. Early Maya researchers (Maudslay 1892) suspected that the northern cities of the Yucatan Pen- insula reached their peak after the southern cities of the Peten had declined, and S. G. Morley (1927, 1946) formalized this with his "Old" and "New Empire" concepts. J. E. S. Thompson (1945), in an important article in American Antiquity, took a somewhat different view. He held that a northern Late Classic Period, represented by the Rio Bec, Chenes, and Puuc cities and those well-known architectural styles, was fully coeval with a southern Late Classic, or Tepeu, Period, with both lasting from about A.D. 600Cto 900 ( correlation). The only "New Empire" concession he would make would be that accorded to the presumed "foreign" Toltec presence at Chichen Itza, dating from after A.D. 1000. Later, E. W. Andrews IV (1965, 1973) disagreed with Thompson, moving back to a position closer to Morley's in saying that his Florescent Period (Rio Bec-Chenes-Puuc) did not occur until after the close of Tepeu in the south and, in effect, until after the so-called "collapse" of the southern cities. Andrews then placed Toltec Chichen Itza in what he called the Modified Florescent Period. Part of the difficulty in resolving this argument was in the scarcity or lack of ceramic cross-ties or trade items between the south and the north. Also, with respect to actual calendrical dates, Maya Initial Series texts are extremely rare in the north, and there was, and still is (see Kelley 1983), some disagreement on what Maya-Christian calendrical correlation to use. Willey] 355
  7. 7. AMERICANANTIQUITY There were some attempts to align southern and northern sequences by "splitting the difference" chronologically so that Andrews's Florescent Period correlated with Tepeu 3 (A.D. 800-900) and then lasted, perhaps to A.D. 1000 and the beginnings of the Modified Florescent or Toltec Period (Ball 1974; Willey, Culbert, and Adams 1967). This kind of arrangement seemed to meet with general favor for a while, and I am inclined to think that the Tepeu 3-Pure Florescent Period chronological equivalency is correct, at least for the A.D. 800-1000 time span. However, still other questions have emerged quite recently about the latter part of the northern sequence. These were aired in detail at a recent Santa Fe symposium (Sabloff and Andrews V 1982). In brief, one line of argument now is that there may be substantial chronological overlap between the Pure Florescent and Modified Florescent Periods, or between the Puuc sites of the north and what we think of as Toltec Chichen Itza. In long-term perspective, what this would mean is that Classic Maya civilization declined or "collapsed" in the south shortly after A.D. 800 but that there was no synchronous decline in the north but, rather, a florescence. This florescence, especially in the Puuc sites of the far north, then continued well after A.D. 1000, abetted by Toltec influence at Chichen Itza but also continuing under the more strictly Maya Puuc aegis elsewhere. As will be evident, the problems of history and process are fascinatingly intertwined in this Maya situation in which the strictly culture historical dimension has not yet been satisfactorily worked out. THE ANDES AND AMAZONIA What role did Amazonia, or the vast tropical lowlands of South America, have in the rise of New World Precolumbian civilizations? A. L. Kroeber (1948:779) did not include it in his "Nuclear American" core of New World high cultural development, this core being composed of Mesoamerica, Peru, and the lands lying between. In his summary statement on South American cultures, J. H. Steward (1949) took the view that the main currents of diffusion, insofar as these were to be associated with sedentary farming life and the rise of complex societies and cultures, all ran from the Andes down into the tropical lowlands; and B. J. Meggers and Clifford Evans (1957) seemed to confirm this with their excavations and interpretations from the mouth of the Amazon. A strong counter- voice to all of theirs, however, has been that of D. W. Lathrap. His early archaeological work in the tropical forest on the eastern edge of the Peruvian Andes disclosed an early, but technically sophisticated, ceramic complex, the Tutishcainyo, which he felt dated back to at least 2000 B.C. and was the prototype of the Waira-jirca ceramics from Kotosh, in the Peruvian highlands (dated at 1800 B.C.) (Lathrap 1985). Although this early dating of Tutishcainyo was questioned at first, it now seems fully consistent with the very early dates on other Amazonian pottery (as reviewed in this article). Lathrap (1973a, 1975, 1977), however, has gone farther in arguing for the importance of a tropical forest role in the rise of Andean civilizations. He argues that not only were the tropical root crops, such as manioc, the peanut, and the sweet potato, brought from the tropical lowlands to the Andean cultures, but that maize, as it spread into South America from Mesoamerica, was first carried down a tropical forest route along the eastern side of the Andes before it spread from there to the Andean highlands and Pacific coast (Lathrap 1975). Another interesting facet of his argument about the importance of the Amazonian lowlands to ancient Peruvian civilization is that he sees Chavin art and iconography as replete with tropical forest symbolism, such as the cayman god bearing the gift of manioc and other cultigens (Lathrap 1973b). There are many complexities to the story of the rise of the Precolumbian Andean civilizations, including a possible scenario offeredby M. E. Moseley (1975), which sees the foundations of Peruvian civilization in an essentially pre-farming maritime economy, an idea not altogether in harmony with Lathrap's views. Nevertheless, Lathrap has established the great importance of Amazonian lowland-Andean interaction. Certainly, there was a cultural synthesis here (see also Lathrap 1974), or a series of cultural syntheses, which contributed mightily to the later glories of the Peruvian native empires. 356 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  8. 8. PROBLEMSIN CULTUREHISTORY TIAHUANACO, HUARI, AND RELATED MATTERS Ever since Max Uhle's (Uhle 1903; Stiibel and Uhle 1892) original researches, the site of Tia- huanaco and its powerful art style ands ul and iconography have had a major role in Peru-Bolivian ar- chaeology. Many of the most interesting questions that have been asked about Tiahuanaco and the "Tiahuanaco horizon" have been concerned with process. Were we dealing with an empire, a predecessor of the later historically documented Inca state (Kroeber 1944; Willey 1945)? If so, how was such an empire forged and maintained? What were its influences on other Andean cultures? Inevitably, such questions are bound up with more traditional concerns of cultural relationships among sites and regions and with cultural continuities and replacements. As of now, there is a long ceramic chronology, reinforced by radiocarbon dates, for the Tiahuanaco site (Conrad 1980; Lumbreras 1974; Moseley 1978; Ponce Sangines 1972). The Tiahuanaco I and II Periods date prior to A.D. 200 and can be linked to styles such as those of Chiripa and Pucara; Tiahuanaco III is similar to what W. C. Bennett (1934) once called "Early Tiahuanaco" and is set at A.D. 200-450; Tiahuanaco IV is the approximate equivalent of Bennett's "Classic Tiahuanaco," dating to about A.D. 450-850 so that it overlaps the major Peru-Bolivian Early Intermediate and Middle Horizon Periods; and Tiahuanaco V (A.D. 850-1200) is matched with Bennett's "Decadent" Period. A problem with this site sequence, however, is that architecture and monumental art, and therefore much of the artand iconography that we associate with the great ruin, cannot be dovetailed securely into this ceramic scale (Isbell 1983). sites in Peru and Bolivia, are a focus of even more problems. Was Tiahuanaco the original center from which the art (and perhaps the ideology behind it) spread? Some decades ago it became evident that another important site, Huari, in the Ayacucho Basin, was an important center for Tiahuanacoid art. Was it, perhaps, the center of a political and religious "empire," in some way related to but even more importantthan that of Tiahuanaco itself (Browman 1976; Isbell and Schreiber 1978)? Dorothy Menzel (1964) argued for an early Huari borrowing from Tiahuanaco of iconography (and ideology), with a subsequent rise to imperial power at Huari and, after that, a decline of the influence of Tiahuanaco, at least to its north. W. H. Isbell (1983) offers a different hypothesis. According to him, Tiahuanaco and Huari both drew upon a common ancient heritage, that of Chavin art and ideology. In plotting this in time and space, Isbell suggests Pucara, geographically intermediate between Tiahuanaco and Huari, as the site that best preserved Chavin iconography and ideology and passed these traditions on to both. Isbell's full interpretation is more complicated than this and is interwoven with still other sites and regions that made their contributions to the greatness of both Tiahuanaco and Huari. There are many other Tiahuanaco, or "Tiahuanacoid," problems. One of these concerns radiations of influence into the South Andes, that is, into southern and eastern Bolivia, northwestern Argentina, and northern Chile. Bennett (1936), in his eastern and southern Bolivian surveys, identified several sites and ceramic complexes as "Derived Tiahuanaco." Chronologically, "Derived Tiahuanaco" was thought to occupy an intermediate position between "Classic" and "Decadent." D. E. Ibarra- Grasso (1953, 1967) thought this placement to be incorrect, arguing that the so-called "Derived" complexes were, at least in some instances, earlier than the "Classic" Tiahuanaco style (see also Willey 1971:225-231). Just when did Tiahuanaco, or Tiahuanaco-related, influences reach the Southern Andean area? Is a ceramic style, such as the Condorhuasi Polychrome of northwestern Argentina, Tiahuanaco-influenced? Radiocarbon dates for that style of ca. A.D. 300 would suggest that it is then that Tiahuanaco influence began to permeate well into the south before the Peru- Bolivian Middle Horizon. THE PERENNIAL QUESTION: LATER OLD WORLD-NEW WORLD RELATIONSHIPS Last but not necessarily least, I do not think we can ignore that perennial question forAmericanists: what role did Old World contacts, putatively carried out by trans-Pacific voyagers, have on the Willey] 357
  9. 9. AMERICANANTIQUITY development of New World civilizations? In the past, no other subject in American archaeology has brought about such heated discussions. As of 1985, I would estimate that most Americanists take a negative view of the topic, either denying that such contacts were ever made, or, if they were, denying that they had any very important consequences for New World cultural development. There are a great many facets to the issue. Here, however, I am speaking of claims for contacts between high civilizations of the Old World and those of the middle latitudes of the New World, and confining the problem further by restricting it to events that are presumed to have transpired after 3000 B.C. A host of archaeological traits have been put forward as attesting to Asian-to- American contacts: the Valdivia pottery of ca. 3000 B.C. and its similarities to Japanese Jomon pottery of about the same date (Meggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965); Peruvian Chavin art and iconography with origins claimed from Chinese dynastic art of ca. 1000 B.C. (Heine-Geldern 1959); and links between southeast Asian and Mesoamerican Classic Period art styles and architectural features (Ekholm 1953). This is the merest sampling of hypotheses advanced on this general subject in the last half-century-all ideas put forth by serious and knowledgeable scholars. A recent careful, if somewhat sympathetic,sourvey ftheticse o whole matter has been made available by S. C. Jett (1983); and there remains the good critical review by Philip Phillips (1966). One of the things that bothers me most about this problem is that there has been so little real progress in the last 50 years. To be sure, many ingenious and engaging similarities have been pointed to, but no clear-cut proof has been marshalled. What do I mean by clear-cut proof? I suppose I mean a bona fide demonstration of an Old World manufactured object in an indisputable and undisturbed New World Precolumbian archaeological context. With the exception of the Viking remains of Newfoundland and Greenland (McGhee 1984), I know of no such demonstration. In spite of this, I do not think that New World archaeologists should close the door upon the subject. Why not leave itlieit like this? If by A.D. 2035, when this journal celebrates is one-hundredth anni- versary-and assuming that archaeological research has in the meantime gone along at the pace it is going now-if our descendants (and maybe some of those of you who are around now) still report no progress on the problem, then perhaps we should give it up. A BACKWARD GLANCE Ever optimistic, I think that we have come a long way since 1935 and the first issue of American Antiquity. Considering only the problems I have selected for this review, we have: 1. Defined early human cultures in the New World at ca. 10,000-8000 B.C., discovered probable antecedents to these cultures on this hemisphere, and at least pointed the way toward discovering some north Asiatic antecedents to American lithic technology. 2. Traced early ceramic horizons and traditions in various parts of the New World, going back to the fourth millennium B.C. in some places in South America, and, in general, demonstrated the antiquity and complexity of American ceramic beginnings. 3. Filled in some of the Hopewellian-to-Mississippian "gap" in the central region of the Missis- sippi Valley and pointed up the presence of post-Hopewellian but pre-Mississippian "elite" de- velopments in other parts of the Eastern United States. 4. Made definite the cultural contact linkages between northern Mesoamerica and the South- western United States and continued, with somewhat less success, to pursue this problem in the Southeastern United States. 5. Returned to a problem of Lowland Maya regional sequence correlations, and, in so doing, provided better insight into the culture historical and perhaps the processual events and forces of the Classic Maya "collapse." 6. Opened a whole range of questions about Amazonian-Andean relationships and revised our assumptions about the role of South American tropical forest cultures in the rise of the Andean civilizations. 7. Refined the "Tiahuanaco horizon" concept, developed and subsequently corrected and refined the "Tiahuanaco" and "Huari horizon" concepts, and posed new questions about the spread of "Tiahuanacoid" influences into the South Andes. 358 [Vol.50, No. 2, 1985
  10. 10. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORY 8. Continued our examinations of the old problem of Old World-New World contacts with reference to later American civilizations, although with a notable lack of success in providing positive demonstrations of these contacts. All our advances have opened up new problems as even these brief discussions should have indicated. During the next fifty years, as questions of culture history are framed with a sophistication that links them ever more to process, these advances will continue. Acknowledgments.I am indebtedto my colleaguesGarthBawden,Ian Brown,and StephenWilliamsfor adviceandbibliographicalassistance,especiallywith referenceto the sectionon the Hopewellian-to-Mississip- piantransitionandthe sectionon TiahuanacoandHuari. REFERENCES CITED Adovasio,J. M., J. Donahue,K. Cushman,R. C. Carlisle,R. Stuckenrath,J. D. Gunn,andW. C. Johnson 1983 EvidencefromMeadowcroftRockshelter.In EarlyMan in theNew World,editedby RichardShutler, Jr.,pp. 163-190. SagePublications,BeverlyHills, California. Andrews,E. W., IV 1965 Archaeologyand Prehistoryin the NorthernLowlands:An Introduction.In Handbookof Middle AmericanIndians,vol. 2, editedby G. R. Willey,pp. 288-330. Universityof TexasPress,Austin. 1973 The Developmentof Maya CivilizationafterAbandonmentof the SouthernCities. In The Classic Maya Collapse,editedby T. P. Culbert,pp. 243-268. Universityof New MexicoPress,Albuquerque. Ball,J. W. 1974 A CoordinateApproachto NorthernMayaPrehistory:A.D. 700-1200. AmericanAntiquity39:85-93. Bareis,C. J., andJ. W. Porter(editors) 1984 AmericanBottomArchaeology.Universityof IllinoisPress,Urbanaand Chicago. Bennett,W. C. 1934 Excavationsat Tiahuanaco.AnthropologicalPapers,vol. 34, pt. 3. AmericanMuseumof Natural History,New York. 1936 Excavationsin Bolivia.AnthropologicalPapers,vol. 35, pt. 4. AmericanMuseumof NaturalHistory, New York. Bird,J. B., andR. G. Cooke 1978 TheOccurrencein Panamaof Two Typesof Paleo-IndianProjectilePoints.In EarlyMan in America from a Circum-PacificPerspective,edited by A. L. Bryan,OccasionalPapers,No. 1. Departmentof An- thropology,Universityof Alberta,Edmonton. Bischof,Henning,and JulioViteri 1972 Pre-ValdiviaOccupationon the SouthwestCoastof Ecuador.AmericanAntiquity37:548-551. Brochado,J. P. 1980 Eastern Brazil: Ceramic Cultures. In Chronologies in South American Archaeology, edited by C. W. Meighan,in press. Brochado,J. P., and D. W. Lathrap 1980 Amazonia. In Chronologies in South American Archaeology, edited by C. W. Meighan, in press. Browman,D. L. 1976 DemographicCorrelationsof the WariConquestof Junin.AmericanAntiquity41:465-477. Bryan,A. L. 1978 An Overview of Paleo-AmericanPrehistoryfrom a Circum-PacificPerspective.In Early Man in America from a Circum-Pacific Perspective, edited by A. L. Bryan, pp. 306-327, Occasional Papers, No. 1. Departmentof Anthropology,Universityof Alberta,Edmonton. 1983 SouthAmerica.In EarlyMan in the New World,editedby RichardShutler,Jr.,pp. 137-146. Sage Publications,BeverlyHills, California. Bullen,R. P. 1966 Stelaeat the CrystalRiver Site,Florida.AmericanAntiquity31:861-865. Conrad,G. W. 1980 The Central Andes (Peru-Bolivia). In Chronologies in South American Archaeology, edited by C. W. Meighan,in press. Cooke,R. G. 1984 ArchaeologicalResearchin Centraland EasternPanama:A Review of Some Problems.In TheAr- chaeologyof LowerCentralAmerica,editedby F. W. Langeand D. Z. Stone,pp. 263-304. Universityof New MexicoPress,Albuquerque. De Laguna,Frederica 1936 ArchaeologicalReconnaissanceof the Middleand LowerYukonValley,Alaska,AmericanAntiquity 2:6-12. Willey] 359
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  12. 12. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORY Kellar, J. H., A. R. Kelly, and E. V. McMichael 1962 The Mandeville Site in Southwest Georgia. American Antiquity 27:336-355. Kelley, D. H. 1983 The Maya Calendar Correlation Problem. In Civilizations in the Ancient Americas: Essays Honoring Gordon R. Willey, edited by R. M. Leventhal and A. L. Kolata, pp. 157-208, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Krieger, A. D. 1949 Importance of the 'Gilmore Corrido' in Culture Contacts Between Middle America and the Eastern United States. Bulletin 19. Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society, Abilene. 1953 Recent Developments in the Problem of Relationships Between the Mexican Gulf Coast and Eastern United States. In Los Huastecas, Totonacs, y sus Vecinos, edited by I. Bernal and E. Davalos, pp. 497-518. Sociedad Mexicana de Antropologia, Mexico, D.F. 1962 The Earliest Cultures in the Western United States. American Antiquity 28:138-143. 1964 Early Man in the New World. In Prehistoric Man in the New World, edited by J. D. Jennings and E. Norbeck, pp. 28-81. University of Chicago Press. Kroeber, A. L. 1944 Peruvian Archaeology in 1942. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. 4, New York. 1948 Anthropology. Harcourt, Brace, New York. Lange, F. W. 1984 The Greater Nicoya Archaeological Subarea. In The Archaeology of Lower Central America, edited by F. W. Lange and D. Z. Stone, pp. 165-194. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Lathrap, D. W. 1958 The Cultural Sequence at Yarinacocha, Eastern Peru. American Antiquity 23:379-387. 1973a The Antiquity and Importance of Long-Distance Trade Relationships in the Moist Tropics of Pre- Columbian South America. World Archaeology 5(2):170-186. London. 1973b Gifts of the Cayman: Some Thoughts on the Subsistence Basis of Chavin. In Variation in Anthropology, edited by D. W. Lathrap and J. Douglas, pp. 91-105. Illinois Archaeological Survey, Urbana. 1974 The Moist Tropics, the Arid Lands, and the Appearance of the Great Art Styles in the New World. In Art and Environment in North America, edited by M. E. King and I. R. Traylor, Jr., pp. 115-158, Special Publication No. 7. Texas Tech University Museum, Lubbock. 1975 Ancient Ecuador, Culture, Clay, and Creativity 3000-300 B.C. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. 1977 Our Father the Cayman, Our Mother the Gourd: Spinden Revisited, or a Unitary Model for the Emergence of Agriculture in the New World. In Origins of Agriculture, edited by C. A. Reed. Mouton, The Hague. Lipe, W. D. 1983 The Southwest. In Ancient North Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp. 421-494. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco. Lister, R. H., and A. M. Howard 1955 The Chalchihuites Culture of Northwestern Mexico. American Antiquity 21:122-129. Lumbreras, L. M. 1974 The Peoples and Cultures of Ancient Peru. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. MacNeish, R. S. 1976 Early Man in the New World. American Scientist 63:316-327. MacNeish, R. S., F. A. Peterson, and K. V. Flannery 1970 Ceramics. The Prehistory of the Tehuacan Valley, vol. 3. R. S. Peabody Foundation, Andover, Mas- sachusetts and the University Texas Press, Austin. Marcos, Jorge 1980 Ecuador: Hub of the Northern Andean Area. In Chronologies in South America, edited by C. W. Meighan, in press. Maudslay, A. P. 1892 The Ancient Civilizations of Central America. Nature 45:(1174):617-622. London. McGhee, Robert 1984 Contact Between Native North Americans and the Medieval Norse: A Review of the Evidence. Amer- ican Antiquity 49:4-27. McKern, W. C. 1937 An Hypothesis for the Asiatic Origin of the Woodland Culture Pattern. American Antiquity 3:138- 142. Meggers, B. J., and Clifford Evans, Jr. 1957 Archaeological Investigations at the Mouth of the Amazon, Bulletin 167. Bureau of American Ethnol- ogy, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Meggers, B. J., Clifford Evans, Jr., and Emilio Estrada 1965 Early Formative Period of Coastal Ecuador: The Valdivia and Machalilla Phases, Smithsonian Con- tributions to Anthropology, No. 1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 361Willey]
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