Asian Perspectives, 1996 - Volume 35, Number 1 (Spring)

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Asian Perspectives is the leading peer-reviewed archaeological journal devoted to the prehistory of Asia and the Pacific region. In addition to archaeology, it features articles and book reviews on ethnoarchaeology, palaeoanthropology, physical anthropology, and ethnography of interest and use to the prehistorian. International specialists contribute regional reports summarizing current research and fieldwork, and present topical reports of significant sites. Occasional special issues focus on single topics.


Center for South Asian Studies
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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    Review of The Study of Ancient Metallurgical Technology: A Review, by Vincent C. Pigott
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996) Pigott, Vincent C.
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    Assemblage Definition, Analytic Methods, and Sources of Variability in the Interpretation of Marquesan Subsistence Change
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996) Dye, Tom
    The hypothesis that indications of change in Marquesan faunal assemblages reflect changes in prehistoric subsistence practices is challenged through reanalyses of the identified faunal remains from the Hane Dune site. An alternative hypothesis is proposed: that the supposed indications of change actually reflect intersite spatial and functional variability. Using bootstrap techniques to estimate the standard error of Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, reanalyses of the Hane Dune site assemblages are shown to be flawed by a failure to consider the effects of small sample sizes. The hypothesis that indications of change reflect intersite spatial and functional variability is weakened by the results of recent excavations. Recently reported evidence for change in Marquesan faunal and artifact assemblages supports the inference that Marquesan subsistence practices changed markedly over the course of prehistory.
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    First Direct 14C Ages on Hawaiian Petroglyphs
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996) Stasack, Edward ; Dorn, Ronald I. ; Lee, Georgia
    We collected organics encapsulated by coatings of amorphous silica from 13 petroglyphs on Kaho'olawe Island, Hawai'i. Silica-glaze coatings can form within a few decades in Hawai'i. After backscatter electron microscopy of the overlying silica coating determined that it had been deposited in layers sequentially, organics were treated with NaOH, Hel, and HF, and were radiocarbon-dated at the New Zealand accelerator. The minimum ages obtained for these Kaho'olawe petroglyphs indicate that they span at least 80 percent of the time that the Hawaiian Islands have been occupied. Stick figures are the oldest petroglyphs, but they overlap with other linear motifs (fish hook, dog) as well as the triangular-bodied figures, which came later. KEYWORDS: Petroglyph, Hawaiian Islands, Radiocarbon Dating.
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    Prehistoric Lithic Technology, Workshops, and Chipping Stations in the Philippines
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996) Latinis, D Kyle
    Recent analyses of the lithic assemblage from the Busibus/Pintu rock shelter, northern Luzon, Philippines, indicate that this site was used as a basalt quarry and chipping station for the production of adze blanks and preforms. "Opportunistic" strategies for blank selection and preform manufacture were used. Other lithic raw materials were selected and reduced as well. It is suggested that the preforms, blanks, and reduced materials were transported, finished, and used elsewhere. Edgewear damage analyses indicate that these materials and artifacts were not used for butchering, scraping, and woodworking, as suggested by Peterson (1974), by groups of hunters/collectors who intermittently frequented the site from about 4000 to 1500 B.P. KEYWORDS: Philippines, lithic analysis, adze manufacturing.
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    The Qiang and the Question of Human Sacrifice in the Late Shang Period
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996) Shelach, Gideon
    The character that many scholars read as Qiang appears in more than 800 known late Shang oracle bone inscriptions, most of which refer to the ritual sacrifice of Qiang people. More than half of all the human victims mentioned in the inscriptions are identified as Qiang, and among all the neighbors of Shang named in the inscriptions, only the Qiang are specifically mentioned as human sacrifices. Why were the Qiang so important and why were such large numbers of Qiang victims sacrificed during Shang court rituals? Contrary to the usual identification of the Qiang as a tribe of nomadic herdsmen, archaeological data point to a society that practiced a mixed economy, lived in permanent or semipermanent settlements, and had a developed social hierarchy. The Qiang were politically independent from the Shang and maintained a significantly different cultural and symbolic system. Comparison with known ethnographic examples of human sacrifice and analysis of the context in which these ceremonies were performed by the Shang suggest that sacrificing Qiang war captives was a mechanism by which the Shang elite legitimized their political power. Ethnographic comparisons suggest that human sacrifice was important for the Shang, as for other societies where social stratification is already very developed but where the system is not yet institutionalized or very stable. In this context, human sacrifice is viewed as part of a dynamic process that led to the development of social complexity. KEYWORDS: Shang, China, human sacrifice, oracle bone inscriptions.
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    35:1 Table of Contents - Asian Perspectives
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1996)
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