Female Hunters of the Early Americas: Wilamaya Patjxa

Speaker
Dr. Randy Haas, archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Location
Chappaqua Library online
Date
March 7, 2021
Time
2:00 pm  to  3:15 pm  

“Men were hunters, women were gatherers” is common knowledge that reinforces gendered labor structures in contemporary society. Recent discovery of a 9000-year-old female hunter burial at the site of Wilamaya Patjxa in the Andes Mountains of Peru causes us to question that model. We show that the burial is the oldest hunter burial in the Americas and one of at least ten other female burials associated with big-game hunting tools 12,000-8000 years ago. The evidence suggests that females in the early Americas were big-game hunters, challenging man-the-hunter models of sexual division of labor in human societies.

Dr. Randy Haas is an archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. He earned his Ph.D. from The University of Arizona in 2014 held postdoctoral research positions at the Universities of Maryland and Wyoming. His research examines the evolution of complex human behaviors among ancient forager societies. For some 200 thousand years prior to the advent of market and agricultural economies, forager economies were the only human economies on the planet. Dr. Haas uses the archaeological record and quantitative methods to understand how our biology, cultures, and social organization evolved in those forager contexts. His recent work is advancing our understanding of how early hunter-gatherers of the Andes Mountains adapted to physically challenging alpine environments above 3800 meters in altitude and how cooperative social structures, potato and quinoa agriculture, and alpaca husbandry evolved between 12,000 and 3500 years ago.

Maritime Trade Networks of Medieval Japan

Speaker
Michelle Damian
Location
Online through the Rye Free Reading Room, 1061 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY
Date
April 11, 2021
Time
2:00 pm  to  3:15 pm  

Scholars of medieval topics often are faced with a lack of surviving documentation, particularly on topics such as seafaring, as the subjects of those studies rarely wrote accounts of their practices at all. In this talk, I highlight the use of GIS to interpret a Japanese port record from 1445. Combining archaeological and written records concerning trade goods, salt production, shipping practices, and piracy provides a clearer understanding of the networks and developments in the Seto Inland Sea region. GIS became the key to unlock information about the networks that developed among medieval seafarers. Through this analysis, I have been able to identify transshipment hubs and other trade patterns that shed light on maritime interactions in medieval Japan.

Michelle Damian is Assistant Professor of History at Monmouth College, and holds her degrees from University of Southern California (Ph.D.), East Carolina University, the George Washington University, and University of California at Berkeley. Damian has worked and studied in Japan for more than nine years. She came to Monmouth after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the maritime archaeology and history of Asia broadly, with a particular interest in medieval and early modern Japan. She is also involved in museum work, volunteering with the local Warren County History Museum and the online Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Her research interests include the maritime trade networks of medieval Japan, and forthcoming publications include entries on “Japan: 1450-1770”, “Salt Production”, and “Kaisen”, in The Sea in World History: Exploration, Travel, and Trade (ABC-CLIO Press).

The Monsoon Sea: Glimpses of an ancient Indian Ocean world

Speaker
Jeremy Simmons, Visiting Assistant Professor Institute for the Study of the Ancient World New York University
Location
Online through the Rye Free Reading Room, 1061 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY
Date
May 16, 2021
Time
2:00 pm  to  3:15 pm  

Humans first sailed regularly upon the Indian Ocean roughly 5,000 years ago. They continued to brave the waves over millennia through coastal skips and open sailing with the monsoon winds. By the early centuries of the Common Era, the ocean supported a host of human activity, including individuals from the eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, and Indian subcontinent. Despite its perils, maritime travel proved faster and more cost-effective than equivalent overland routes. This lecture dives into the waterways of the western Indian Ocean (e.g., the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea). We will follow not only the tracks of mariners braving the waves, but also the numerous items of Indian Ocean trade—spices, gems, coins, textiles—that whetted the demand of consumers well beyond their shores. A veritable diversity of evidence from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, from textual sources to remains of Indian Ocean commodities and those who trafficked them, attest to a multidirectional, multicultural affair—an Afro-Eurasian world linked by the Monsoon Sea

Jeremy Simmons received his BA in Classical Languages and Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (2013) and his PhD in Classical Studies from Columbia University (2020). He is an ancient historian specializing in long-distance trade, particularly the maritime commerce conducted on the western Indian Ocean. His historical interests are inspired by a variety of related topics: the early Greek ethnographies imagining the mythical edge of the world; the rise of Buddhism in India and patronage at various monastic sites; the economic institutions and corporate structures of commerce operating from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Bay of Bengal; and the culmination of Indo-Mediterranean maritime trade in the early centuries of the Common Era. Jeremy incorporates a variety of Indic sources as a complement to Greek and Latin texts, as well as material evidence hailing from throughout the Indian Ocean littoral.

In his dissertation, Jeremy established a comparative view of the consumption of goods traded across the Indian Ocean in antiquity, addressing representative Mediterranean and Indian commodities in their new social and cultural contexts. Drawing on textual, archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence, his dissertation explores social and cultural impetuses prompting the demand for particular goods in the Mediterranean and India, changes in consumption patterns as a result of long-distance trade networks, and associations between imported goods and specific social groups or forms of exchange (such as gift exchange and religious donation). His publications range in subject from the larger impacts of the ancient pepper trade to ancient south Asian numismatics.
While at ISAW, Jeremy will continue to pursue his interdisciplinary research, with the hopes of expanding his use of digital tools to model the ebb and flow of transoceanic commerce in the longue durée. This work will build off previous research conducted thanks to fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Academy in Rome. He will be starting as an assistant professor in ancient history at the University of Maryland, College Park this fall.