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Africa is an important global reservoir for biological, cultural and traditional knowledge about fungi and lichens, which are used as food, medicine and in mythology, among other things. African human populations are undergoing highly significant changes and adaptation processes, which are accompanied by rapid urbanization, meeting with western civilization, high rural migration and the loss of natural ecosystems. Indigenous knowledge is being lost, including that concerning fungi and lichens. Ethnomycology and ethnolichenology provide a diversity of knowledge about beneficial and poisonous fungi and lichens, and give insights into their sociological impact on human behaviour and use. Here we present a working and publishing environment established with the Diversity Workbench software in line with national and international initiatives for FAIR guided provision of research data. The database application called ‘EthnoMycAfrica’ contains published ethnomycological and ethnolichenological information from Africa. The content is created and curated by team partners from Central, East, West, North and Southern Africa. Data entry is performed both online and offline, optionally via a mobile device. Currently, the system with the tools DiversityDescriptions and DiversityNaviKey contains a total of 1350 well-structured and freely and openly accessible data records. EthnoMycAfrica is the first database with a data schema, standard descriptors and data content created mainly by African scholars. The data can be useful for researchers, students, conservationists, policy makers, and others. It will also provide a basis for facilitating hypothesis generation and meta-analysis.
The publication of a book in 2020 that argues against repatriation, on the grounds that it is incompatible with the necessary objectivity required for the production of scientific knowledge, raises issues that most scholars consider long settled. Rather than engage in a detailed review, this commentary revisits the reasons why claims of contributing to universal knowledge are insufficient to justify exploitation of the physical remains, and cultural property, of people who object to specific lines of research and reminds readers that academic freedom is a mitigated freedom that is rooted in responsibilities and norms agreed on within disciplines, all of which today accept repatriation as part of the necessary redress of legacies of exploitation.
Environmental adversity increases child susceptibility to disrupted developmental outcomes, but the mechanisms by which adversity can shape development remain unclear. A translational cross-species approach was used to examine stress-mediated pathways by which poverty-related adversity can influence infant social development. Findings from a longitudinal sample of low-income mother–infant dyads indicated that infant cortisol (CORT) on its own did not mediate relations between early-life scarcity-adversity exposure and later infant behavior in a mother-child interaction task. However, maternal CORT through infant CORT served as a mediating pathway, even when controlling for parenting behavior. Findings using a rodent “scarcity-adversity” model indicated that pharmacologically blocking pup corticosterone (CORT, rodent equivalent to cortisol) in the presence of a stressed mother causally prevented social transmission of scarcity-adversity effects on pup social behavior. Furthermore, pharmacologically increasing pup CORT without the mother present was not sufficient to disrupt pup social behavior. Integration of our cross-species results suggests that elevated infant CORT may be necessary, but without elevated caregiver CORT, may not be sufficient in mediating the effects of environmental adversity on development. These findings underscore the importance of considering infant stress physiology in relation to the broader social context, including caregiver stress physiology, in research and interventional efforts.
In recent years, researchers in pre-Hispanic Central America have used new approaches that greatly amplify and enhance evidence of plants and their uses. This paper presents a case study from Puerto Escondido, located in the lower Ulúa River valley of Caribbean coastal Honduras. We demonstrate the effectiveness of using multiple methods in concert to interpret ethnobotanical practice in the past. By examining chipped-stone tools, ceramics, sediments from artifact contexts, and macrobotanical remains, we advance complementary inquiries. Here, we address botanical practices “in the home,” such as foodways, medicinal practices, fiber crafting, and ritual activities, and those “close to home,” such as agricultural and horticultural practices, forest management, and other engagements with local and distant ecologies. This presents an opportunity to begin to develop an understanding of ethnoecology at Puerto Escondido, here defined as the dynamic relationship between affordances provided in a botanical landscape and the impacts of human activities on that botanical landscape.
Social groups in Honduras played a key role in regional developments between a.d. 800 and 1100, acting as the pivot in long-distance networks extending west as far as Tula, north to Chichen Itza, and south to Costa Rica. Understanding the role of Honduran settlements at this time has been obstructed by the lack of well-dated contexts from this period and the associated uncertainty about the development of the key Honduran ceramic type, Las Vegas Polychrome. This paper offers a definition of the distinctive features that characterize Las Vegas Polychrome, reviewing evidence supporting earlier dates than traditionally suggested for this type, as early as the emergence of any white-slipped polychrome in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It summarizes evidence for a suite of luxuries consumed in conjunction with Las Vegas Polychrome, and points to the products most likely produced in Honduras for exchange with partners who provided these. Finally, the article considers the ideological, social, and political implications of changes in Honduran settlements where the new pottery was used.
Evidence from sites in the lower Ulua valley of north-central Honduras, occupied between a.d. 500 and 1000, provides new insight into the connections between households, craft production, and the role of objects in maintaining social relations within and across households. Production of pottery vessels, figurines, and other items in a household context has been documented at several sites in the valley, including Cerro Palenque, Travesía, Campo Dos, and Campo Pineda. Differences in raw materials, in what was made, and in the size and design of firing facilities allow us to explore how crafting with clay created communities of practice made up of people with varying levels of knowledge, experience, and skill. We argue that focusing on the specific features of a particular craft and the crafter's perspective gives us insight into the ways that crafting contributed to the reproduction of social identities, local histories, and connections among members of communities of practice who comprised multicrafting households.
Paleoethnobotanical analyses of samples excavated at Los Naranjos, Honduras, provide an unprecedented record of the diversity of plants used at an early center with monumental architecture and sculpture dating between 1000 and 500 B.C. and contribute to understandings of early village life in Mesoamerica. Los Naranjos is the major site adjacent to Lake Yojoa, where analysis of an important pollen core suggests very early clearing of the landscape and shifts in the relative prevalence of certain plants over time, including increases in maize. Our results from starch grain, phytolith, and macrobotanical analysis complicate interpretation of previous pollen core dates, suggesting that maize was not as central as expected to the early inhabitants of the settlement. Moreover, with identification of macrobotanical remains recovered from flotation of sediments and extraction of microbotanical remains from adhering sediments and the surfaces of obsidian tools, we can compare the potential of each analysis in interpretations of plant use. No single method would have allowed recovery and identification of all the plants documented across sample types. The presence of botanical residues on the obsidian tools provides direct evidence of processing. Even in the small sample analyzed, we can recognize tools used exclusively for culinary processing, tools used only for non-culinary tasks, and multi-purpose tools.
Archaeological excavations on the north coast of Honduras at CR-337, an archaeological site we identify as the pre-Hispanic and colonial town Ticamaya (Figure 10.1), produced a stratigraphic record with radiocarbon dates as early as 1300–1400 ce and artifacts dating as late as the nineteenth century (Blaisdell-Sloan 2006; Wonderley 1984a, 1984b). According to sixteenth-century Spanish documents, Ticamaya was a critical settlement in Spanish and native military campaigns and political strategies in the early sixteenth century (Sheptak 2004, 2006, 2008).
The two parallel bodies of data produced by excavations and archival research are each material traces from the past, and each, we argue, is equally relevant archaeological data. Tacking back and forth between documents and other materials, we demonstrate that sexuality is a highly visible structuring principle in colonial Honduras, albeit more directly legible in documentary materials. That, we would suggest, is partly because the regulation of sexuality and the products of sexual liaisons was jurally relevant, requiring overt commentary (Brooks 2002; Twinam 1999).
Practices and features that many researchers have identified as “Olmec,” even when found outside of the Gulf Coast of Mexico, supposed by some to be the heartland of an Olmec culture, are often a minority within local assemblages with vast differences in style and form. This is the case in Honduras, where objects identified as “Olmec” were clearly locally made. Thus they cannot be explained simply in terms of the import to Honduras of “Olmec” objects made elsewhere. This paper seeks to address the question, “what did it mean to the inhabitants of Formative period Mesoamerican villages to make and use objects whose stylistic features made them stand out as different from others in their own communities?” Drawing on data from original fieldwork at multiple sites in Honduras and reanalysis of museum collections, this paper proposes a model for understanding this phenomenon rooted in social theories of materiality, the phenomenological experience of personhood, and the creation of identity through entanglement with things.
Paired nasopharyngeal secretions were studied in 27 infants infected with respiratory syncytial virus, one taken at onset of illness and one about 7 days later. Both specimens were examined by immunofluorescence and tissue culture for respiratory syncytial virus. In 25 out of 27 (93%) specific fluorescence was still present in cells of the convalescent specimen but was much duller. Virus was difficult to isolate in convalescent specimens; only 8 out of 27 (26 %) proved to be positive. Eight single secretions which were taken late in a respiratory illness were also shown to have this altered fluorescence with absence of virus isolation. Preliminary experiments using antihuman globulin suggest that the findings may be due to the attachment of local secretory antibody to the cells causing ‘blocking’ of staining reaction.
The way that we write our archaeological accounts is as much constitutive of our field as are the questions we think are significant and the ways we think those questions should be addressed (Joyce 2002). In writing, we seek to persuade others of our understandings, and to evoke from them a response. Whether the response we get is affirmative or contests our arguments, it is in the reception of our writing that we see ourselves connected to others in our discipline. It is through the engagement of scholars in exchanges that a body of accepted knowledge is produced. Through the same engagement, writers recognise themselves and are recognised as parts of a community of scholarship.
In this I consider how historical archaeology is shaped by particular forms of writing. Historical archaeology has produced some of the most sustained experiments in writing in the discipline of archaeology as a whole. I will be concerned particularly with the placements of the writer in relation to the subject that is typical in historical archaeological writing. I will suggest that what most distinguishes historical archaeology in writing is that the imaginary third party toward whose approval a text is oriented is distinct from those typical of other forms of archaeology.
Writing by historical archaeologists shows far more explicit engagement with problems of narrative and representation than most such work in other traditions of archaeology. Part of the reason for this difference may be a greater sense of the real historically situated persons whose lives and actions writers attempt to represent, created by the ability of historical archaeologists to engage with their subjects through documents as well as other forms of material culture. Another source of that sensibility undoubtedly is the routine engagement of historical archaeologists with living human beings who are often descendants of those whose life histories archaeology intersects. But it is not simply the existence of living people who will be affected by what they say that gives historical archaeologists a strong sense of responsibility for representation.
Through an analysis of hand-modelled human figurines created in the Ulua River Valley of northern Honduras between 900 and 200 bc, this article explores the recursive links between crafting representations of bodies and crafting physical bodies. ‘Playa de los Muertos’-style figurines are characterized by extremely detailed treatment of hair and ornaments. They have been treated as unique portraits, each individualized, and have resisted broader archaeological interpretation. Drawing on recent excavation data, this article explores the treatment of bodies and representations of bodies within a single set of interconnected villages as material media of embodiment.