Anthro Assignment Essay

Submitted By btollerud
Words: 726
Pages: 3

For this assignment, I chose to attend two anthropology seminars and compare the information presented to what we have learned in class. The first seminar I attended featured Dr. Chap Kusimba who discussed the complexity of Eastern African civilizations and their role in early globalisms. Throughout his presentation, Dr. Kusimba provided evidence supporting his claim that ancient Eastern African societies were much more developed than previously thought. His claim can be validated by the presence of all four major preconditions required for state level society. First off, East Africa had a large variety of resources available for utilization. These resources eventually gave rise to vast social and economic interaction networks. The city states that emerged were similar to those we discussed in lecture. They consisted of walled settlements that controlled key resources, allowing them to be politically and economically self-sufficient. Furthermore, the people of Eastern Africa possessed a sophisticated culture, which is seen through their advances in technology and standardization of commerce and finance. These people also possessed a stratification of crafts and specialization of industry. To elaborate, as Dr. Kusimba pointed out, Eastern African societies followed a mosaic model of economic and social interaction. The city states were surrounded by pastoral people that specialized in certain crafts or trades such as iron mining, farming, or hunting. These people would then travel to the market places within the urban centers to exchange their goods. Because this provided a viable way of life, there was no need for the pastoral people to become more developed. As a result, Eastern Africa consisted of a “mosaic“ of different societies and cultures, intertwined by their specialization of production and trade.

Dr. Kusimba also mentioned a unique site that he had recently investigated in East Africa. The site was essentially an ancient village that showed a record of long term inhabitation in the past. He found all sorts of artifacts, including beads and Chinese coins that linked this village to the vast Asian trade market. He also found Ivory tusks and iron cores, indicating the presence of local commerce from inner Africa. Overall, the site is a great representation of how East Africa played a significant role in early globalisms.

The second seminar I attended was an international conference that focussed on recent advances in the archaeology of East and Southeast Asia. I really like this event and I thought it was a great way to learn about current research in anthropology. One presentation I found interesting was Mitch Hendrickson’s assessment of iron production within the Angkorian period center of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Cambodia. I thought his work was relevant to what we have been studying regarding crafts and urbanism. Hendrickson’s research revealed that within Khmer Empire, there was a considerable amount of iron production…