Cultural And Historical Traditions





E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, William M. Fields

Georgia State University



When human cultures merge, each takes on characteristics of the other and a completely new culture may emerge. Can a similar kind of phenomenon occur when the ways of being, doing, thinking, speaking and acting meld between two closely related hominid species, like Pan and Homo? We point to a new kind of group process, termed a Pan/Homo culture, and characterized by changes in the behavior of each species. A common emic perspective has developed between members of different species as they have come to share a common culture, but not a common biology. Their long-term shared experiences lend the force of credibility and meaningfulness to the communications regarding goals, plans and intentions. These expressions, inherently functional and meaningful within the joint subjective experiences of the members of the culture, nonetheless fail to meet standards of basic science, which demand detachment and disembodiment of communication. Because of this failure, accurate emic accounts of experiences within the culture are categorized as ‘anecdotal’. By contrast, identical emic descriptions of experiences in ‘humanonly’ cultures carry the force of law when given under oath. Accurate emic descriptions of communication processes—using examples of spontaneous Pan/Homo dialogues—are presented to reveal this bias. These dialogues illustrate the way in which empiricism acts to protect established modes of thought from new frameworks that pose a threat to its established interpretations of extant data. They also illustrate the cultural processes of shared knowledge, shared memory and joint subjective perceptions of reality that structure true symbolic communicative interchange and render it impervious to etic understanding.




Gala Argent

Eastern Kentucky University



Prior interpretations of the tattoos of nonhuman animals etched upon the preserved human bodies from the Pazyryk archaeological culture of Inner Asia have focused on solely humangenerated meanings. This article utilizes an ethnoarchaeological approach to reassess these tattoos, by analogizing the nature and possibilities of human-ridden horse intersubjectivities in the present with those of the past. As enlightened by people who live with horses, including the author, the process of learning to ride can be seen as an interspecies apprenticeship process, where both humans and horses pass along social knowledge as thoughtful actors with defined roles. From this perspective, the horse tattoos are presented as polysémie materializations ofthe bonds between particular Pazyryk horses and people, of blended identities, and of cosmological values related to time, memory, and belonging. The article concludes that exploring smaller-scale human-nonhuman animal interactions in the present allows for fresh interpretations of similar interactions in the past and provides a means for archaeology to move beyond the objectification of animals as sets of resources or symbols.

© 2015 Copyright Carolyn Mamchur