Subject:      Re: C. moneta and methodologies
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky 17784)
Date:         1997/10/20
Message-ID:   <62ft9j$q5g$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology

thomas kavanagh ([22] wrote:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

: Re: the california shells:

: > This is too bad, because Jackson says the following on p. 193:

: > "Regarding the use of cowries in S. California, Frederick W. Putnam
[in : > Report U.S. Geog. Surv. west of 100 merididan, vol. vii. --
Archaeology, : > Washington D. C.] gives some interesting particulars,
though these are : > somewhat lacking in detail. He writes (p. 252): "The
fact that the Indians : > of California ... often decorated their
implements and utensils with the : > same materials which they employed
for personal ornament, is proved by : > articles collected from the graves
... ""  : > : > Examples of Cypraea found in graves follow in this

: Yes, Putnam did indeed write that in the section on Ornaments, but he
: also wrote, on the same page,

: "...C. spadicea particularly being employed ...",

: and the examples he gives are with the following words:

: "A fourth form of pendant was made by cutting out the serrated lips of
: the shells of C. as shown by figs [47-51]. Fig 52 of the same plate
: represents one of the species of C. used for this purpose, from which
: the dorsal portion of the shell has been cut"

: The illustrated pendants and the cut-off shell are given as "full size";
: they are fully 1.5 to 2 inches long. They are not C. moneta.


And did I say they were? Your quote is also noted in Jackson on p. 193. 
And he continues re: Fig. 52: 

"Such a cut shell is represented by Putnam in Plate xiii., Fig. 52, of his
work, but no specific name is given. Its contour is totally unlike that of
C. spadicea, or any other American cowry. My colleague, Mr. R. Standen,
and I have carefully compared the illustration with various cowries, and
the only shell the features of which appear to conform to the illustration
is C. vitellus, an Indo-Pacific species." 

Nevertheless, Jackson, being a very careful scientist, adds:

"This suggestion, however, can only be a tentative one..."

So here you go, Tom, another problem is raised here... Another possible
foreign cowry to consider... 

: Re: the dress:
: > > On what grounds.
: >
: > On the grounds that we don't know how these cowries got to be on that
: > dress. So, can you answer this question, Tom? Probably not... And do you
: > have any curiousity about this at all?

: If I had no curiosity about the dress, I would not have a photograph of
: it. [Peabody Museum, Harvard, catalog number 99-12-10/53047, negative
: number N31724]. It is one of only a few known so-called "side fold"
: dresses, and it is the earliest known museum specimen with cowries. But
: since it also has blue glass "pony" beads and brass buttons shows that
: its owner had some contact with European traders. The presence is
: cowries is not the problematic part of the dress.

Well, we still have to explain how the cowries got there, don't we?

: Re: Hoffman /Jackson
: > > I cited what Jackson cited in his 1916 Nature article. If he cited any
: > > other sources in his 1917 book, please tell us what they were.

: > Another source he gives is James Greenwood, CURIOSITIES OF SAVAGE
LIFE, : > London, 1863, p. 24. He also cites his own study that deals more
: > specifically with this issue, MANCH. MEMOIRS, vol. lx. (1916), No. 4.
The : > article in NATURE was merely a short version of this.

: I don't know the former -- it is not listed in Murdock's _Ethnographic
: Bibliography of North America_ under either Ojibwa or Menomini. Could
: you tell us what Jackson says from him?

Here you go, Tom:

"The same cowries apparently play an important part at baptismal
ceremonies of the Ojibwa. There is much dancing and the same shooting
forward of the medicine bags, and after a good deal of facial controtion
each medicine man spits out two shells on to a cloth spread in the middle
of the medicine tent." (p. 185) [After this Greenwood is cited.]


: Re rice: Why did YOU repeat it?

: > Can you really not understand what is going on here, Tom, or are you
just : > stalling in the hope of seeing me give up on this matter, so that
the whole : > matter could be dismissed? I really have trouble believing
you will not see : > the relevance of this. : ...  : >I, for my part, have
no doubt that Jackson did not take this information : >out of the thin
air, but that this information is based on some of the : >research he has
done.  : ...  : > Was wild rice used in these ceremonies? I think it was.
So what are you : > going to do about this now?

: Are you just stalling in the hope of seeing me give up on this matter?
: What is the relevance of wild rice?

What is the relevance indeed, Tom? If it is confirmed that wild rice was
indeed used by Native Americans in association with cowry rituals, then
the parallel immediately springs to mind of the association of rice with
cowry rituals in China (and probably in other places as well). 

Such a parallel is very significant in indicating cultural contact. The
fact that wild rice, technically, is not the same plant is inignificant.
What is significant is that the grains of wild rice are similar to grains
of Asian rice.

Can I explain this any clearer, Tom?



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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