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

Marking the Land

Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning in their Environment, 1st Edition

Edited by William A Lovis, Robert Whallon


304 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138950993
pub: 2016-03-15
SAVE ~$31.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315668451
pub: 2016-02-26
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.


‘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

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

About the Editors

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

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Archaeology

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology