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Africanist Archaeology

Article1: Africanist Archaeology and Ancient IQ: Racial Science and Cultural Evolution in the Twenty-First Century

(1)   Summary of text

The topic of evolution has always been of great interest to scholars all over the world. This is mainly due to the mystique nature that surrounds this topic. Much research has been carried out and as the world develops, so is the in-sight into this topic. This article is a typical example of such a development.

A renowned scholar and archaeologist, Scott MacEachern (2006) in his article, Africanist Archaeology and Ancient IQ- Racial Science and Cultural Evolution in the Twenty-First Century, tend to bring another perspective to the science of evolution. In his argument, while quoting other renowned archaeologists such as Phillip Rushton (2000), he suggested that the African populations are considered to have severe cognitive deficits when compared to other modern humans. Scott bases his argument on archaeological tests and research that was carried out on these humans. From these tests, it has been established that the claims by the researchers who conducted the tests are not entirely correct and contain an element of bias.

The differences in IQ in different people in different regions should not be ascribed to the variations in the human evolutionary development.

(2)   Critical evaluation of the text

In trying to establish the validity of the conducted and recorded research in this text, the author collected evidence by conducting a research on over 65 different people from different places. The samples were picked from persons of African race and the white race. From the tests, it was observed that the people of the African descent had lesser IQ compared to the whites. And this has been attributed to the evolution of the Africans. Here, they are considered to not have been fully evolved and as such, they cannot match the IQ content of the whites.

However, the data and research that has been conducted by the author is not fulfilling enough to support the argumentative statement that has been purported by the author.

Article 2: Nationalism and Archaeology: On the Constructions of Nations and the Reconstructions of the Remote past

(1)   Summary of the text

It is possible, according to Phillip Kohl’s article (1998, Nationalism and Archaeology-On the Constructions of Nations and the Reconstructions of the Remote past, to recreate nationalism through the exoneration of real or remote past. This article takes a tour of the archaeological development in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Then this is related to the nation-building processes particularly in Europe.

The cohesion between archaeology is brought out  as a political mean in the construction of national identities in immigrant and postcolonial states. According to him, the recent archaeological science has emphasized on the social and political settings in which the notion of nationalism functions. The archaeological conditions in different nations and countries can be compared and contrasted and the development of these traditions can be linked to the political establishment of different nations.

(2)   Critical review of the text

Kohl (2000) has conducted a considerable research on the study of the connection between archeology and politics. The political feature of nation formation is applied to the treatment of the application of archaeology to nationalism. After the renaissance, archaeology was established as a legitimate academic discipline in the nineteenth century during the heyday of nation building in history. These processes were coincidental and interrelated.

The roots of countries were traced back to the roots of pre-historic past. National origin myths had to be elaborated from a variety of sources and the material remains found within the state’s territorial boundaries. In the text, Kohl (2000) argues that archaeological concepts are used in the creation of national identities. He continues to argue that these archaeological concepts and processes occur within states but also as the states expand and interact with other states.

Article 3: Representing Colonizers: An Archaeology of Creolization, Ethnogenesis, and Indigenous Material Culture among the Haida

(1)   Summary of the text

The Haida people are a group of indigenous nation of the northern America, in Alaska. 

Structural definitions

Creolization is a circumstance whereby new inherited cultures and identities evolve to attain new, stronger and totally different formations from the ones they originate from.

Ethnogenesis is a process through which a group of beings of a particular society comes to appreciate themselves as being ethnically distinctive from the bigger community setting from which they originate.

In the article Representing Colonizers-An Archaeology of Creolization, Ethnogenesis, and Indigenous Material Culture among the Haidaby Mulins and Paynter (2000) try to bring about the concept superiority of the evolution of culture among the Haida ethnic group. According to the authors of this article, the Haida group has developed some survival and distinctive strategies that enable them to be able to negotiate their relations with the colonial powers. The article depicts the original inhabitants of Haida in the eyes of the colonizers as having been savage-like and very backward in the aspect of development. However, later, this ethnic grouping astounds the colonizers by undergoing profound transformations that involved adapting, assimilating, defying and even manipulating the colonizers ways of life in their geographic setting.

(2)   Critical review of the article

The first notion of the first white man who saw the chief of Haida for the first time, as the text depicts, is ulterior biased. A white man wrote and gave the description basing it on the premises of what he knew and what he had experienced back at home. Comparing his superior way of life and culture to the ‘savage’ way of life of the Haida people left the white man astounded. In his endeavor to alter this, the white man tried to impose upon the Haida community the cultures that he thought were more superior.

Eventually, the Haida people embraced the system, and changed it to make it stronger and better than it was originally presented to them, bringing about the aspect of creolization. Ethnogenesis was also set in slowly and Haida community was transformed into one of the modern societies of northern America.

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