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 ArchaeologySome Continuing Problems in New World Culture HistoryAuthor(s): Gordon R. WilleySource: American Antiquity, Vol. 50, No. 2, Golden Anniversary Issue (Apr., 1985), pp. 351-363Published by: Society for American ArchaeologyStable URL: .Accessed: 10/07/2011 20:35Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . 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 at . .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 for American Archaeology is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toAmerican Antiquity.
  2. 2. SOME CONTINUING PROBLEMS IN NEW WORLDCULTURE HISTORYGordon R. WilleyTo aid in the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Society for American Archaeology andits journal, American Antiquity, I was invited to address myself to "Unsolved Problems in NewWorld Culture History." I have agreed to do this, but, with the editors indulgence, I would like torephrase the title as I have, for I think that the word "continuing" more accurately captures thesense of the situation and where our interests lie. As all of us are aware, there are many unsolvedproblems in Precolumbian culture history-"more holes than cheese," as the saying goes-but Ithink I should take a look at some of those with which we are most familiar. We might be justifiedin saying that some of them have been partially solved, or at least that they are now better delineatedand delimited, that we have a better "fix" on them. Nevertheless, in all of the examples I havechosen we still have a ways to go.What, as of 1985, are some of these most important culture historical problems of the New WorldPrecolumbian past? It goes without saying that no two American archaeologists would answer thisquestion in the same way. I have attempted to pick well-recognized problem themes and to rangewidely in geography and sweepingly in time.All the topics or problem themes that I have decided upon involve issues of great complexityand detail, and I can hardly do justice to all of this in the space that I have. (Indeed, one obvioustopic-agricultural origins and distributions-is so complex and the evidential base in so much fluxthat I have decided not to include it here.) Similarly, each theme has a substantial backgroundliterature and what I cite is only a tiny sampling; however, in recognition of the role of AmericanAntiquity in the pursuit of these problems over the past five decades, I have made a special effortto cite articles from this journal wherever they are pertinent.It remains to make only one more preliminary observation. This concerns just how I haveconstrued the meaning of the term "culture history" for the purposes of this article. As I understandit, and within the context of archaeological research, a culture historical problem is one concernedwith the space-time plotting of archaeological culture entities and with the relationships of theseentities one to another. A processual problem, on the other hand, would be one with the focus ofinterest on culture change and with the forces causing, or at least attendant upon, that change (seeFlannery 1967). For a very long timewe tended to avoid in situ explanations of culture change orprocess; instead, we "copped out" by tossing the question of what brought about the change to someother site, region, area, or even hemisphere. "Outside influence" or diffusion was the only processinvoked, 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 concentrateon in situ culture change so that this has become the only respectable context in which to studyprocess. Soon, I would hope, there will be a swing back toward some concern with diffusion forsurely the processes of culture change must operate "horizontally" as well as "vertically." I takethe space to say this here because it helps explain why the traditional culture historical problemswhich I address are usually thought of as "diffusionist" problems. They are that only in part forthey are all problems that pose questions about cultural relationships, and questions of relationshipslead inevitably into considerations of process.GordonR. Willey,PeabodyMuseum,HarvardUniversity,Cambridge,MA02138AmericanAntiquity,50(2), 1985,pp. 351-363.CopyrightC 1985by the SocietyforAmericanArchaeology351
  3. 3. AMERICANANTIQUITYANCIENT ASIAN-AMERICAN CONNECTIONS AND EARLYAMERICAN LITHIC INDUSTRIESLet 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 discoveriessatisfactorily demonstrated the Late Pleistocene presence of humans on the North American HighPlains, and taking into account the long-held common-sense assumption that people first enteredthe 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 AmericanAntiquity (De Laguna 1936:6):Themostimportantproblemstodayin Americanarchaeologyarethedefinitionof thisculture(Folsom),themappingof its extentin time and place,and the tracingof the routeby whichits carriers,presumablythefirstAmericans,enteredthe continentand penetratedto the southwest.This structuring of the problem received support from finds of polygonal core-prismatic bladeartifacts in Alaska, reminiscent of Asiatic industries (Nelson 1937) as well as from discoveries ofFolsom-like and Yuma-like points from there (Rainey 1940; Skarland and Giddings 19Sarand and n 48). Butunfortunately for the hypothesis, these distinctive projectile point types did not seem to be presentin Siberia; and before long American archaeologists were shifting to a position that the Folsomoidand Yumoid finds in Alaska were the result of back-diffusion from mid-continental North Americawhere, 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 theNew 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 thepossibilities of such an American "pre-projectile point" horizon or stage. For the most part, thevarious finds and sites putatively pertaining to such a horizon are surrounded by somewhat equivocalcircumstances that admit of interpretations other than those of great antiquity. Recently, however,discoveries at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, may indicate thatpeople were, indeed, well down into North America prior to 10,000 B.C., with artifacts dating asearly as ca. 17,000 B.C. (Adovasio et al. 1983; Jennings 1983). The Meadowcroft assemblage includesprismatic 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. 10,000-7000B.C.Where does the problem, or set of problems, now stand? Although good evidence is still verylimited, it seems highly likely that people, with some kind of Asiatic lithic heritage were in theAmericas 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 thisancient "pre-projectile point" horizon was added to ormodified by later Asiatic emigrants andideas. 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 separateSouth 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 Worldnor of the reasons that might lie behind the changes in these lifestyles.CERAMIC ORIGINS AND DIFFUSIONSWhat is the history of pottery in the Precolumbian New World, its places of origin and itssubsequent diffusions? Many current researchers would reject this as an "old-fashioned" kind ofproblem, saying that it really is not important, that the significant thing in any archaeological culture352 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  4. 4. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORYcontext was how pottery was integrated in its socio-cultural matrix, what was its meaning. Perhapsso, but I will disagree here and argue that the more we know about the sheer lines of culture historicalstructure, 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 (Bischofand 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, PuertoHormiga, Monagrillo, etc.) do not compose a uniform style, they share traits in form and incisedand punctated decoration that suggests, along with their geographical concentration in this part ofSouth 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, ceramicsappear somewhat later:no earlier than 2500 B.C. in Mesoamerica (MacNeish, Peterson, and Flannery1970; Tolstoy 1978) and at about 1800 B.C. for Peru (Conrad 1980; Willey 1971:chapter 4). Itseems 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 theearliest, and, as implied, a Mesoamerican derivation seems very likely (Rohn 1978). We return toEastern 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 ceramictradition has one associated radiocarbon date of 3700 B.C. (Brochado and Lathrap 1980; see alsoSimoes 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 greatantiquity, rivaling that of the Ecuadorian-Colombian "nucleus." Brochado (1980) also indicates anage of as much as 2800 B.C. for the Pedra do Caboclo ceramic tradition of Eastern Brazil, whichhe 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, therange and magnitude of the problem of pottery origins in South America is enormous; and the morewe 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 2500-2000B.C. (Griffin 1978). Because some of the early northern Colombian pottery is fiber-tempered, andbears 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 notall would agree. Whether the Southeastern fiber-tempered vessels were Colombian-inspired or locallyinvented, a problem of long-standing has been their relationship to Woodland pottery of the northernpart 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, Kehoe1962; Tolstoy 1953, 1958) had advanced the idea that cord-marked and fabric-marked Woodlandpottery 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 apossible 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) strengthensthis line of argument by extending the distribution of fiber-tempered wares to the Missouri-Kansasregion where they date to 2600-1600 B.C. Reid then develops the argument that climatic conditionsand vegetation burning in the more northerly latitudes may have destroyed the soft fiber-temperedpottery in the ground and that there was less of a geographical and chronological gap betweensouthern fiber-tempered wares and northern Woodland pottery than appears in the archaeologicalrecord.THE HOPEWELLIAN-TO-MISSISSIPPIAN TRANSITION INTHE EASTERN UNITED STATESA problem of continuing interest for Eastern United States archaeologists has been the nature ofWilley] 353
  5. 5. AMERICANANTIQUITYthe "gap" or the "transition" between the Hopewellian ceremonial climax (ca. A.D. 200-400) andthe rise and climax of Mississippian ceremonialism (ca. A.D. 1000-1400). What happened in thetime in between? Was there a cultural "decline," a definite "break," or was there some kind oftransitional 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 ofit (Titterington 1935).In the last decade or so, research in the American Bottom, near East St. Louis and the majorMississippian mound site of Cahokia (Bareis and Porter, eds. 1984), as well as immediately to thesouth in Missouri and Arkansas (Morse and Morse 1983), has shown that this interim period ofceremonial "decline" was, at the same time, one of substantial continuity between Late Woodlandand emergent Mississippian village cultures, with gradual transitions in subsistence adjustmentsand ceramic styles. Yet the ceremonial or "elite" cultural "decline" remains unexplained. Naturalenvironmental changes and other factors, such as the adjustment to maize agriculture, have beeninvoked in speculations as to the causes of the Hopewellian slump. One interesting facet of theproblem 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, whichspans the time period in question, did not show a comparable slackening in ceremonial centerconstruction (Ford 1951; Greengo 1964), nor does the Santa Rosa-Swift Creek-to-Weeden Islandcontinuum of the Florida Gulf Coast (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Muller 1983; Willey 1949) orthe related Kolomoki culture of south Georgia (Kellar et al. 1962; Muller 1983; Sears 1956). Inthese southern regions it appears that an essentially Hopewellian, or Hopewellian-related, heritagewas undergoing a transformation toward Mississippian modes without any break or "decline" ofthe sort noted in the Central Mississippi Valley-Ohio regions. Among other things, temple-typeplatform mounds with ramps were being built, along with the tradition of the earlier burial moundceremonialism, and in ceramics new vessel forms and decorative modes, far more elaborate thanthose associated with the Woodland tradition farther north, and in some ways pointing toward laterMississippian developments, make their appearance. That these traits do occur in the southernportion of the Eastern United States prompts the speculation that some sort of Mesoamericanstimuli might have been operating here in the Late Woodland time period and that this may havehad something to do with the post-Hopewellian but pre-Mississippian florescence in these southernregions.Obviously, there is a range of problems here to spur future investigations in Eastern and especiallySoutheastern archaeology, and some of these relate to our next theme.MESOAMERICAN-NORTH AMERICAN RELATIONSHIPSThe role of Mesoamerican contacts in the rise of the native cultures of the Southwestern andEastern United States is a standby topic of speculation and argument in American archaeology thatgoes back to the nineteenth century and before. In recent times, most archaeologists who haveaddressed this question have admitted that there were indeed such communications between Mexicoand 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 tothe Southwestern and Southeastern United States from Mesoamerica, and even a casual inspectionof Mesoamerican and North American ceramics indicates some kind of connection. But beyondthese 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 clearlyhas a lot to do with the nature of the data. From the Mesoamerican frontiers of Sinaloa and Durangoin west Mexico there is at least a semi-continuous chain of Precolumbian settlement through Sonoraand Chihuahua into Arizona and New Mexico (Willey 1966:chapter 4); and a number of traitlinkages 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). By354 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  6. 6. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORYthe latter part of the 1960s archaeological dating was advanced enough, both in Mesoamerica andthe 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, responsiblefor agriculture and pottery; and a later (post-A.D. 600) that operated in a more patterned way tobring in integrated trait complexes. Subsequent intensive site studies at Casas Grandes, in northernChihuahua (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 stationestablishments 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 connectionbetween Mesoamerica and the Southwest have been demonstrated and that Southwestern archae-ologists now see the more important problems as those of determining and understanding theprocesses involved (Lipe 1983).In contrast to the Southwestern situation, that of the Southeast is less advanced. Here there is ahuge geographical gap in northern Tamaulipas and Texas in which native agriculture was largelylacking and through which there is no Mesoamerican-to-Southeast continuity in other traits. In spiteof the gap, there are the trait similarities to be explained in the Southeast-agriculture, certainceramic forms and decoration, and temple mound-plaza site arrangements. Some mention has beenmade of possible Mesoamerican contacts with the Southeast on a Hopewellian and immediatelypost-Hopewellian time level in the Florida region, and to these we can add the discovery of whatappears 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 thearchaeological 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 inlandroute of contact through Texas. But, as is evident, the culture historical structuring of the problemof Mesoamerican-Southeastern United States relationships is still sketchy, and processual inquiryinto the general question will move at peril with an absence of a solid data underpinning.A MAYA PROBLEMIn moving southward through the Americas, let me shift now to a more regionally circumscribedproblem, one primarily of interest to Mayanists and Mesoamericanists but still with parallels toproblems in other American areas. The questions are those of a proper chronological alignmentbetween southern and northern Maya Lowland culture sequences and of determining the correctsequence 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), inan important article in American Antiquity, took a somewhat different view. He held that a northernLate Classic Period, represented by the Rio Bec, Chenes, and Puuc cities and those well-knownarchitectural styles, was fully coeval with a southern Late Classic, or Tepeu, Period, with both lastingfrom about A.D. 600Cto 900 ( correlation). The only "New Empire" concession he wouldmake would be that accorded to the presumed "foreign" Toltec presence at Chichen Itza, datingfrom after A.D. 1000. Later, E. W. Andrews IV (1965, 1973) disagreed with Thompson, movingback to a position closer to Morleys 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 theModified Florescent Period. Part of the difficulty in resolving this argument was in the scarcity orlack of ceramic cross-ties or trade items between the south and the north. Also, with respect toactual 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 correlationto use.Willey] 355
  7. 7. AMERICANANTIQUITYThere were some attempts to align southern and northern sequences by "splitting the difference"chronologically so that Andrewss Florescent Period correlated with Tepeu 3 (A.D. 800-900) andthen 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 withgeneral favor for a while, and I am inclined to think that the Tepeu 3-Pure Florescent Periodchronological equivalency is correct, at least for the A.D. 800-1000 time span. However, still otherquestions have emerged quite recently about the latter part of the northern sequence. These wereaired in detail at a recent Santa Fe symposium (Sabloff and Andrews V 1982). In brief, one line ofargument now is that there may be substantial chronological overlap between the Pure Florescentand Modified Florescent Periods, or between the Puuc sites of the north and what we think of asToltec Chichen Itza. In long-term perspective, what this would mean is that Classic Maya civilizationdeclined or "collapsed" in the south shortly after A.D. 800 but that there was no synchronousdecline in the north but, rather, a florescence. This florescence, especially in the Puuc sites of thefar north, then continued well after A.D. 1000, abetted by Toltec influence at Chichen Itza but alsocontinuing under the more strictly Maya Puuc aegis elsewhere.As will be evident, the problems of history and process are fascinatingly intertwined in this Mayasituation in which the strictly culture historical dimension has not yet been satisfactorily workedout.THE ANDES AND AMAZONIAWhat role did Amazonia, or the vast tropical lowlands of South America, have in the rise of NewWorld Precolumbian civilizations? A. L. Kroeber (1948:779) did not include it in his "NuclearAmerican" 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 associatedwith sedentary farming life and the rise of complex societies and cultures, all ran from the Andesdown into the tropical lowlands; and B. J. Meggers and Clifford Evans (1957) seemed to confirmthis 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 inthe tropical forest on the eastern edge of the Peruvian Andes disclosed an early, but technicallysophisticated, 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 (datedat 1800 B.C.) (Lathrap 1985). Although this early dating of Tutishcainyo was questioned at first, itnow seems fully consistent with the very early dates on other Amazonian pottery (as reviewed inthis article). Lathrap (1973a, 1975, 1977), however, has gone farther in arguing for the importanceof a tropical forest role in the rise of Andean civilizations. He argues that not only were the tropicalroot crops, such as manioc, the peanut, and the sweet potato, brought from the tropical lowlandsto the Andean cultures, but that maize, as it spread into South America from Mesoamerica, wasfirst carried down a tropical forest route along the eastern side of the Andes before it spread fromthere to the Andean highlands and Pacific coast (Lathrap 1975). Another interesting facet of hisargument about the importance of the Amazonian lowlands to ancient Peruvian civilization is thathe sees Chavin art and iconography as replete with tropical forest symbolism, such as the caymangod 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 Peruviancivilization in an essentially pre-farming maritime economy, an idea not altogether in harmonywith Lathraps views. Nevertheless, Lathrap has established the great importance of Amazonianlowland-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 Peruviannative empires.356 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  8. 8. PROBLEMSIN CULTUREHISTORYTIAHUANACO, HUARI, AND RELATED MATTERSEver since Max Uhles (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, apredecessor of the later historically documented Inca state (Kroeber 1944; Willey 1945)? If so, howwas 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 relationshipsamong sites and regions and with cultural continuities and replacements.As of now, there is a long ceramic chronology, reinforced by radiocarbon dates, for the Tiahuanacosite (Conrad 1980; Lumbreras 1974; Moseley 1978; Ponce Sangines 1972). The Tiahuanaco I andII 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 setat A.D. 200-450; Tiahuanaco IV is the approximate equivalent of Bennetts "Classic Tiahuanaco,"dating to about A.D. 450-850 so that it overlaps the major Peru-Bolivian Early Intermediate andMiddle Horizon Periods; and Tiahuanaco V (A.D. 850-1200) is matched with Bennetts "Decadent"Period. A problem with this site sequence, however, is that architecture and monumental art, andtherefore much of the artand iconography that we associate with the great ruin, cannot be dovetailedsecurely into this ceramic scale (Isbell 1983).sites in Peru and Bolivia, are a focus of even more problems. Was Tiahuanaco the original centerfrom which the art (and perhaps the ideology behind it) spread? Some decades ago it became evidentthat another important site, Huari, in the Ayacucho Basin, was an important center for Tiahuanacoidart. Was it, perhaps, the center of a political and religious "empire," in some way related to buteven 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 (andideology), with a subsequent rise to imperial power at Huari and, after that, a decline of the influenceof Tiahuanaco, at least to its north. W. H. Isbell (1983) offers a different hypothesis. According tohim, Tiahuanaco and Huari both drew upon a common ancient heritage, that of Chavin art andideology. In plotting this in time and space, Isbell suggests Pucara, geographically intermediatebetween Tiahuanaco and Huari, as the site that best preserved Chavin iconography and ideologyand passed these traditions on to both. Isbells full interpretation is more complicated than this andis interwoven with still other sites and regions that made their contributions to the greatness of bothTiahuanaco and Huari.There are many other Tiahuanaco, or "Tiahuanacoid," problems. One of these concerns radiationsof 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 severalsites 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 alsoWilley 1971:225-231). Just when did Tiahuanaco, or Tiahuanaco-related, influences reach theSouthern Andean area? Is a ceramic style, such as the Condorhuasi Polychrome of northwesternArgentina, Tiahuanaco-influenced? Radiocarbon dates for that style of ca. A.D. 300 would suggestthat 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 RELATIONSHIPSLast 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 theWilley] 357
  9. 9. AMERICANANTIQUITYdevelopment of New World civilizations? In the past, no other subject in American archaeologyhas brought about such heated discussions. As of 1985, I would estimate that most Americaniststake 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 contactsbetween 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 transpiredafter 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 Jomonpottery of about the same date (Meggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965); Peruvian Chavin art andiconography 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 architecturalfeatures (Ekholm 1953). This is the merest sampling of hypotheses advanced on this general subjectin 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 realprogress in the last 50 years. To be sure, many ingenious and engaging similarities have been pointedto, but no clear-cut proof has been marshalled. What do I mean by clear-cut proof? I suppose Imean a bona fide demonstration of an Old World manufactured object in an indisputable andundisturbed New World Precolumbian archaeological context. With the exception of the Vikingremains of Newfoundland and Greenland (McGhee 1984), I know of no such demonstration. Inspite 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 itis going now-if our descendants (and maybe some of those of you who are around now) still reportno progress on the problem, then perhaps we should give it up.A BACKWARD GLANCEEver optimistic, I think that we have come a long way since 1935 and the first issue of AmericanAntiquity. 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 probableantecedents to these cultures on this hemisphere, and at least pointed the way toward discoveringsome north Asiatic antecedents to American lithic technology.2. Traced early ceramic horizons and traditions in various parts of the New World, going backto the fourth millennium B.C. in some places in South America, and, in general, demonstrated theantiquity 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 theSoutheastern 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 ofthe Classic Maya "collapse."6. Opened a whole range of questions about Amazonian-Andean relationships and revised ourassumptions about the role of South American tropical forest cultures in the rise of the Andeancivilizations.7. Refined the "Tiahuanaco horizon" concept, developed and subsequently corrected and refinedthe "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 CULTUREHISTORY8. Continued our examinations of the old problem of Old World-New World contacts withreference to later American civilizations, although with a notable lack of success in providing positivedemonstrations of these contacts.All our advances have opened up new problems as even these brief discussions should haveindicated. During the next fifty years, as questions of culture history are framed with a sophisticationthat links them ever more to process, these advances will continue.Acknowledgments.I am indebtedto my colleaguesGarthBawden,Ian Brown,and StephenWilliamsforadviceandbibliographicalassistance,especiallywith referenceto the sectionon the Hopewellian-to-Mississip-piantransitionandthe sectionon TiahuanacoandHuari.REFERENCES CITEDAdovasio,J. M., J. Donahue,K. Cushman,R. C. Carlisle,R. Stuckenrath,J. D. Gunn,andW. C. Johnson1983 EvidencefromMeadowcroftRockshelter.In EarlyMan in theNew World,editedby RichardShutler,Jr.,pp. 163-190. SagePublications,BeverlyHills, California.Andrews,E. W., IV1965 Archaeologyand Prehistoryin the NorthernLowlands:An Introduction.In Handbookof MiddleAmericanIndians,vol. 2, editedby G. R. Willey,pp. 288-330. Universityof TexasPress,Austin.1973 The Developmentof Maya CivilizationafterAbandonmentof the SouthernCities. In The ClassicMaya 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 NaturalHistory,New York.1936 Excavationsin Bolivia.AnthropologicalPapers,vol. 35, pt. 4. AmericanMuseumof NaturalHistory,New York.Bird,J. B., andR. G. Cooke1978 TheOccurrencein Panamaof Two Typesof Paleo-IndianProjectilePoints.In EarlyMan in Americafrom a Circum-PacificPerspective,edited by A. L. Bryan,OccasionalPapers,No. 1. Departmentof An-thropology,Universityof Alberta,Edmonton.Bischof,Henning,and JulioViteri1972 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. Lathrap1980 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 inAmerica 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. SagePublications,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. UniversityofNew MexicoPress,Albuquerque.De Laguna,Frederica1936 ArchaeologicalReconnaissanceof the Middleand LowerYukonValley,Alaska,AmericanAntiquity2:6-12.Willey] 359
  11. 11. AMERICANANTIQUITYDi Peso, C. C.1974 Casas Grandes, A Fallen Trading Center of the Gran Chichimeca, vols. 1-3. Amerind Foundation,Dragoon and Flagstaff, Arizona, Northland Press.Dixon, K. A.1964 The Acceptance and Persistence of Ring Vessels and StirrupSpout-Handles in the Southwest. AmericanAntiquity 29:455-460.Du Solier, Wilfrido, A. D. Krieger, and J. B. Griffin1947 The Archaeological Zone of Buena Vista, Huaxcama, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. American Antiquity13:15-31.Ekholm, G. F.1953 A Possible Focus of Asiatic Influence in the Late Classic Cultures of Mesoamerica. Memoir 9, Societyfor American Archaeology.Flannery, K. V.1967 Culture History vs. Cultural Process: A Debate in American Archaeology. Scientific American 217:119-122.Ford, J. A.1951 Greenhouse: A Troyville-Coles Creek Period Site in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Anthropological Pa-pers, vol. 44, pt. 1. American Museum of Natural History, New York.1966 Early Formative Cultures in Georgia and Florida. American Antiquity 31:781-799.1969 A Comparison of Formative Cultures in the Americas. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology,vol. 11. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.Gjessing, Gutorm1948 Some Problems in Northeastern Archaeology. American Antiquity 13:298-302.Greengo, R. E.1964 Issaquena: An Archaeological Phase in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Memoir 18, Society for AmericanArchaeology.Griffin, J. B.1949 Meso-America and the Southeast: A Commentary. In The Florida Indian and His Neighbors, editedby J. W. Griffin, pp. 77-100. Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.1978 Eastern United States. In Chronologies in New WorldArchaeology, edited by R. E. Taylor and C. W.Meighan, pp. 51-70. Academic Press, New York.1983 The Midlands. In Ancient North Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp. 243-302. W. H. Freeman,San Francisco.Haury, E. W.1937 A Pre-Spanish Rubber Ball from Arizona. American Antiquity 2:282-288.1976 The Hohokam, Desert Farmers and Craftsmen: Excavations at Snaketown, 1964-1965. University ofArizona Press, Tucson.Heine-Geldern, Robert von1959 Representation of the Asiatic Tiger in the Art of the Chavin Culture:A Proof of EarlyContacts BetweenChina and Peru. In Actas, International Congress of Americanists, vol. 1, pp. 321-326. San Jose, CostaRica.Hibben, F. C.1966 A Possible Pyramidal Structure and Other Mexican Influences at Pottery Mound, New Mexico. Amer-ican Antiquity 31:522-529.Ibarra Grasso, D. E.1953 New Archaeological Cultures from the Departments of Chuquisaca, Potosi, and Tarija, Bolivia. Amer-ican Antiquity 19:126-129.1967 Argentina Indigena y Prehistoria Americana. Typografica Editora Argentino, Buenos Aires.Isbell, W. H.1983 Shared Ideology and Parallel Political Development: Huari and Tiwanaku. In Investigations of theAndean Past, edited by D. H. Sandweiss, pp. 186-208. Latin American Studies Program, Cornell University,Ithaca, New York.Isbell, W. H., and K. J. Schreiber1978 Was Huari a State? American Antiquity 43:372-389.Jennings, J. D.1983 Origins. Ancient North Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp. 25-67. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Jett, S. C.1983 Precolumbian Transoceanic Contacts. In Ancient North Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp. 557-614. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Johnson, A. E.1963 The Trinchers Culture of Northern Sonora. American Antiquity 29:174-176.Kehoe, A. B.1962 A Hypothesis on the Origin of Northeastern American Pottery. Southwestern Journal ofAnthropology18:20-29. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.360 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
  12. 12. PROBLEMS IN CULTUREHISTORYKellar, J. H., A. R. Kelly, and E. V. McMichael1962 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 HonoringGordon R. Willey, edited by R. M. Leventhal and A. L. Kolata, pp. 157-208, University of New MexicoPress, Albuquerque.Krieger, A. D.1949 Importance of the Gilmore Corrido in Culture Contacts Between Middle America and the EasternUnited States. Bulletin 19. Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society, Abilene.1953 Recent Developments in the Problem of Relationships Between the Mexican Gulf Coast and EasternUnited 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 byF. 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, SpecialPublication 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 theEmergence of Agriculture in the New World. In Origins of Agriculture, edited by C. A. Reed. Mouton, TheHague.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. Howard1955 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. Flannery1970 Ceramics. The Prehistory of the Tehuacan Valley, vol. 3. R. S. Peabody Foundation, Andover, Mas-sachusetts and the University Texas Press, Austin.Marcos, Jorge1980 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, Robert1984 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 Estrada1965 Early Formative Period of Coastal Ecuador: The Valdivia and Machalilla Phases, Smithsonian Con-tributions to Anthropology, No. 1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.361Willey]
  13. 13. AMERICANANTIQUITYMenzel, Dorothy1964 Style and Time in the Middle Horizon. Nawpa Pacha, No. 2, pp. 1-106. Institute of Andean Studies,Berkeley, California.Milanich, J. T., and C. H. Fairbanks1980 Florida Archaeology. Academic Press, New York.Morley, S. G.1927 New Light on the Discovery of Yucatan and the Foundation of the New Mayan Empire. AmericanJournal of Archaeology 31(1):51-69, Archaeological Institute of America.1946 The Ancient Maya. Stanford University Press, Palo Alto.Morse, D. F., and P. A. Morse1983 Archaeology of the Central Mississippi Valley. Academic Press, New York.Moseley, M. E.1975 The Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization. Cummings, Menlo Park, California.1978 The Evolution of Andean Civilization. In Ancient Native Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp.491-541. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Muller, Jon1983 The Southeast. In Ancient North Americans, edited by J. D. Jennings, pp. 373-420. W. H. Freeman,San Francisco.Nelson, N. C.1937 Notes on Cultural Relations Between Asia and America. American Antiquity 2:267-272.Phillips, Philip1940 Middle American Influences on the Archaeology of the Southeastern United States. In The Maya andTheir Neighbors, edited by C. L. Hay et al., pp. 349-367. D. Appleton-Century, New York.1966 The Problem of Transpacific Influences in Mesoamerica. Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol.4, edited by G. F. Ekholm and G. R. Willey, pp. 277-315. University of Texas Press, Austin.Ponce Sangines, Carlos1972 Tiwanaku: Espacio, Tiempo, y Cultura: Ensayo de Sintesis Arqueologica. America Indigena 32:717-772.Rainey, F. G.1940 Archaeological Investigations in Central Alaska. American Antiquity 5:299-308.Reed, E. K.1942 Implications of the Mogollon Concept. American Antiquity 8:27-32.Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo1980 Colombia. In Chronologies in South American Archaeology, edited by C. W. Meighan, in press.Reid, K. C.1984 Fire and Ice: New Evidence for the Production of Late Archaic Fiber-Tempered Pottery in the MiddleLatitude Lowlands. American Antiquity 49:55-76.Riley, C. L., and B. C. Hedrich (editors)1978 Across the Chichimec Sea, Papers in Honor of J. Charles Kelley. Southern Illinois University Press,Carbondale and Edwardsville.Rohn, A. H.1978 American Southwest. Chronologies in New World Archaeology, edited by R. E. Taylor and C. W.Meighan, pp. 201-222. Academic Press, New York.Roosevelt, A. C.1980 Parmana, Prehistoric Maize and Manioc Subsistence along the Amazon and Orinoco. Academic Press,New York.Rouse, Irving, and Louis Allaire1980 Eastern Venezuela, the Guianas, and the West Indies. In Chronologies in South American Archaeology,edited by C. W. Meighan, in press.Sabloff, J. A., and E. W. Andrews V (editors)1982 Late Lowland Maya Civilization: Classic to Postclassic. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque,in press.Schroeder, A. H.1965 Unregulated Diffusion from Mexico into the Southwest Prior to A.D. 600. American Antiquity 30:297-309.1966 Pattern Diffusion from Mexico into the Southwest after A.D. 600. American Antiquity 31:683-704.Sears, W. H.1956 Excavations at Kolomoki, Final Report, University of Georgia Series in Anthropology, No. 5. Athens,Georgia.Sim6es, M. F.1971 O Museu Goeldi e a Arqueologia da Bacia Amaz6nica. Grande Enciclopedia da Amaz6nia, 6, Estantede Obras Subsidiarias, Antologia da Culturas Amaz6nica, Folclore, edited by Carlos Rocque, pp. 173-180.AMADA, Sao Paulo. (Cited from Brochado and Lathrap, 1980.)362 [Vol. 50, No. 2, 1985
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