Subject:      Re: C. moneta
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/09/23
Message-ID:   <607ftk$pea$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology

tom kavanagh ([22] wrote:

: This morning I swore I wasn't going to do this again, but  ...
: Hu McCulloch wrote:
: >
: > I gather the Cree dress mentioned above contains New World
: > cowries, that unlike the Alabama shell(s?)
: > are not themselves direct physical evidence of contact.
: > Moore then is merely suggesting it evidences cultural exchange
: > in the use of cowries.
: Not quite a valid deduction.
: Even before the time of Lewis and Clark, the Hudson's Bay Company had,
: for some centuries, been pumping cowrie shells into British America at a
: great rate.

Correct, Tom. But have you ever asked yourself a question Why would have
the Hudson Bay Co. been bringing them to America in the first place? Did
the Hudson Bay create a demand for them out of the blue? For these
particular shells? Seems hardly likely.

Much more likely would be to suppose that the demand was there, for these
particular shells, already, and the Hudson Bay found a way to meet this

Don't you think so?

: That is, by 1805 or so, HBC cowries had penetrated the far
: west. For some, they were a cheap replacement for elk's teeth.

So the Natives just said, yes, the teeth were important to us before, but
now let's just replace our sacred objects with these other objects because
the white man brought them over here already from we don't know where and

: For
: others, apparently the Midewiwin society of the Chippewa and other
: central Algonkians [according to Jackson], cowries were central in other
: ceremonies.

And this certainly should indicate something important to us...

Best regards,


Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [23]

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than
to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith

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