Honors Projects for Anthropology

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    Iron Age Scythian Women and Warfare: The “Real” Amazon Warriors?
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2018) Burden, Jessica ; Beaule, Christine ; Anthropology
    The Greeks of antiquity spoke extensively of a race of warrior women known as the Amazons. These women were recorded as having close ties to Iron Age Scythia, a region populated by pastoral nomads and known as the western Eurasian steppe north of the Blac
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    The potential for insular dwarfism in Homo floresiensis
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014) Coley, Avalon ; Bae, Christopher ; Anthropology
    About a decade ago, members of the paleoanthropological community first announced the unique discovery of what appeared to be a new species of Homo. Unearthed in the Liang Bua caves of the island of Flores, Indonesia (see Fig. 1), the assemblage consisted of remains from an estimated nine to 14 individual hominins, as well as associated faunal remains and stone tools (Aiello 2010). Designated since their discovery as the new taxon Homo floresiensis, the hominins are represented by the type specimen Liang Bua 1 (LB1; see Fig. 2). LB1 is extremely small, with an endocranial volume of roughly 380 to 426 cc and an estimated height of 106 cm (Brown et al 2004). Given the relatively recent dates for the skeletal remains (spanning between roughly 95 and 18 kya, with LB1 dated to the more recent time) (Brown et al 2004), the diminutive form of these creatures has caused debate over their evolutionary origins. At present, there are two primary hypotheses that have been proposed toexplain Homo floresiensis' origins. The first theory was initially mentioned by the discovery team, and proposes that H. floresiensis represents an insularly dwarfed population (Brown et al 2004). Scholars who share this view can sometimes be subdivided between those who believe H. floresiensis descended from Homo erectus (Brown et al 2004, Kaifu et al 2011, Lyras et al 2008) and those who support a pre-Homo erectus lineage (Argue et al 2009, Baab and McNulty 2009, Martinez and Hamsici 2008). The second hypothesis suggests that H. floresiensis exemplifies a population of dwarfed, pathological modern Homo sapiens (Aiello 2010). This hypothesis has seen numerous pathologies proposed over the years, including microcephaly, Laron syndrome, and myxoedematous (ME) endemic cretinism (Hershkovitz et al 2007, Obendorf et al 2008, Vannucci et al 2011). Palaeoanthropologists continue to debate their positions.
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    The Children of Rice Farmers: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Subadult Oral Health in the Southeast Asian Neolithic
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) McDougle, Alexandra ; Pietrusewsky, Michael ; Anthropology
    Neolithic Southeast Asian health is of bioarchaeological significance given it’s enigmatic status in light of known trends regarding population health and the introduction of agriculture. This study uses a small archaeological sample of skeletons from the Northern Philippines as a case study to demonstrate the potential for using subadult osteological samples as a means for better understanding the relationship between population health and subsistence in Southeast Asia. This skeletal sample primarily consists of the dental remains of 15 individuals ranging in age from neonate to 2 years at the time of death. Observations of dental caries, dental defects, trauma, and paleopathology were recorded in these skeletons. This study demonstrates the enormous potential of focusing on Southeast Asia for contextualizing our understanding of trends in “Global” health, as well as the importance of including subadult remains in reconstructing population health. The culmination of my literature review as well as the results from the 2014 Ifugao Archaeological Project, support the enigmatic nature of trends in Neolithic Southeast Asian health. This research can be used as a stepping-stone for future studies in understanding the complexities of population health and subsistence patterns.
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    The Human Terrain System in Afghanistan: Success or Failure?
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) Chee, Jodi ; Aoude, Ibrahim ; Anthropology
    In reaction to the attack America experienced on September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration launched a worldwide War on Terrorism, prompting the Department of Defense to establish the Human Terrain System (HTS) in 2006. However, in 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and its ad hoc committee, the Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the U.S. Security and Intelligence Communities (CEUSSIC) deemed the HTS operation as unethical for embedding anthropologists with armed military forces in order to gain access to communities within Afghanistan. This research project will investigate the HTS component of the military’s mission in terms of its use of anthropologists with a comprehensive analyses of: (1) the U.S. Army’s Field Manual 3-24 on counterinsurgency and how its mission transforms into ethnocentrism; and (2) the use of Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism to understand why the HTS operation has been unsuccessful with regard to the utilization of anthropologists within the U.S. military’s occupation in Afghanistan. I will then use the evolution of the Taliban and Jihadi groups and how their mission translates into a demonstration of their political power to further substantiate the HTS’ unsuccessfulness. My research project is essential to the community of aspiring anthropologists interested in joining the U.S. Army’s HTS in order to determine whether their “moral duty” undermines the “ethical responsibilities” outlined by AAA.
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    Dead Men Tell All Tales
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Diamond, Shayna ; Beaule, Christine ; Anthropology
    Human remains and the ways in which they're handled and depicted reflect one of the most universal topics of all time – death. However, while such funerary rites are practiced universally, the rites and customs can vary greatly within individual societies. It was the strong similarities in funerary rites of Viking and Aztec warriors which spurred the interest for this paper. Utilizing the interdisciplinary techniques of archaeology and literary analysis, this paper observes inner and cross-cultural comparisons of Viking and Aztec funerals and their warrior cultures. Funerals are significant not simply on an emotional level but because one of the main ways in which we can interpret past societies is through recovering and analyzing the material traces of the practices associated with the remains of their dead. The very act of a burial provides archaeologists with a wide variety of potential information about the social contexts of these past funerary practices. Burial is thus a deeply significant act imbued with meaning. It represents one of the most formal and carefully prepared deposits that archaeologists encounter. Analyzing the cultural literature provides invaluable insight into the societal thinking and reasoning that can't always be seen through material remains alone. The literary depictions of these funerary events reflect individual and social views on societal boundaries and order, death and the afterlife, and human nature. When this analysis of ancient literature is combined and backed with archaeological evidence, we receive a rare opportunity to understand this sensitive topic.