Marking the Land : Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning in their Environment book cover
1st Edition

Marking the Land
Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning in their Environment

ISBN 9780367874230
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

Marking the Land investigates how hunter-gatherers use physical landscape markers and environmental management to impose meaning on the spaces they occupy. The land is full of meaning for hunter-gatherers. Much of that meaning is inherent in natural phenomena, but some of it comes from modifications to the landscape that hunter-gatherers themselves make. Such alterations may be intentional or unintentional, temporary or permanent, and they can carry multiple layers of meaning, ranging from practical signs that provide guidance and information through to less direct indications of identity or abstract, highly symbolic signs of sacred or ceremonial significance. This volume investigates the conditions which determine the investment of time and effort in physical landscape marking by hunter-gatherers, and the factors which determine the extent to which these modifications are symbolically charged. Considering hunter-gatherer groups of varying sociocultural complexity and scale, Marking the Land provides a systematic consideration of this neglected aspect of hunter-gatherer adaptation and the varied environments within which they live.

Table of Contents

1. Hunter-Gatherer Landscape Perception and Landscape “Marking”: The Multidimensional Construction of Meaning
 William A. Lovis and Robert Whallon
Section I:  The Northern Latitudes
2. Initializing the Landscape: Chipewyan Construction of Meaning in a Recently Occupied Environment
 Robert Jarvenpa and Hetty Jo Brumbach
3. Places on the Blackfoot Homeland: Markers of Cosmology, Social Relationships and History
 Gerald A. Oetelaar
4. Markers in Space and Time: Reflections on the Nature of Place Names as Events in the Inuit Approach to the Territory
 Claudio Aporta
5. Inuksuk, Sled Shoe, Placename: Past Inuit Ethnogeographies
 Peter J. Whitridge
6. Network Maintenance in Big Rough Spaces with Few People:  The Labrador Innu-Naskapi or Montagnais
 William A. Lovis
Section II: The Southern Latitudes
7. Physical and Linguistic Marking of the Seri Landscape – Are They Connected?
 Carolyn K. O’Meara
8. Bonescapes:  Engaging People and Land with Animal Bones among South American Tropical Foragers
 Gustavo G. Politis
9. Unfolding Cultural Meanings: Wayfinding Practices Among the San of the Central Kalahari
 Akira Takada
10. Continuity and Change in Warlpiri Practices of Marking the Landscape
 Petronella Vaarzon-Morel
11. Signaling Presence: How Batek and Penan Hunter-Gatherers in Malaysia Mark the Landscape
 Lye Tuck Po
Section III: Synthesis
12. Marked Sacred Places of Hunter-Gatherer Bands
 Robert Whallon
13. Hunter-Gatherer Landscape Perception and Landscape “Marking”: The Multidimensional Construction of Meaning
 Robert Whallon and William A. Lovis

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William Lovis, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Curator of Anthropology, MSU Museum, Michigan State University

Robert Whallon, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Curator of Mediterranean Prehistory, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan


‘This indispensable theoretical and empirical companion to editors Brian Codding and Karen Kramer's Why Forage? (CH, Jan'17, 54-2326) focuses on understanding the multidimensional bases for hunter-gatherer perceptions and constructions of environmental value and meaning. Thirteen essays are appropriately divided among specialists in archaeology, ethnography/ethnology, ethnoarchaeology, and anthropological linguistics. They convincingly demonstrate that the creation, marking, and maintenance of sacred places help to "embed patterns of behavior and behavioral responses that articulate with environmental variability [both spatial and temporal] in an adaptive way." Excellent addition to the archaeological and ethnographic literature on hunting-gathering societies. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.’ - B. Tavakolian, Denison University, in CHOICE

"This volume should be in university libraries, and there are enough outstanding individual papers and enough topical variety and theoretical coherence overall to make this a useful addition to personal libraries." - Aubrey Cannon, McMaster University, Canada