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Other: Technology in the Ancient World. HENRY HODGES

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  • 164 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [74,1972] marginally relevant to the book’s theme, for the Arabic toponymy only tells us that there was Muslim settlement, which we already know, and Glick offers no comments on what the existence of these place names might or might not signify. (Arabic toponymy in parts of Spain frequently signifies little more than wholesale renaming without necessarily accompanying heavy Muslim settlement.) The final comments on historical continuities in administration and the rationale of continuity on which legal appeals were based are applicable in much of Spain and should be noted by any ethnologist dealing with historical materials. A longer word on the present status, or the demise, of the Valencian irrigation com- munities would be welcome. Glick notes that most change in the system did not occur until the nineteenth century and that the famous Tribunal of Waters declined only with the completion of the Generalisimo Reservoir in 1950. The lack of more detailed comment on the sixteenth century to the present is more keenly felt for Glick’s success in making the medieval communities come alive. The Iberian ethnologist who deals with modern communities of similar type tends to forget that Glick’s subject is not modern. This is testimony not only to the animated nature of the documents but to Glick’s writing as well. Technology in the Ancient World. HENRY HODGES. Drawings b y Judi th Newcomer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf (Borzoi), 1970. xvi + 287 + x pp., illustrations, bibliographical note, index. $10.00 (cloth). Reviewed by ROBERT F. G . SPIER University of Missouri Henry Hodges, who earlier provided us with the useful book Artifacts: an intro- duction to early materials and technology (1964), has followed the same direction with the addition of more general cultural and historical perspectives. His world is primarily that of classical antiquity, in the eastern Mediterranean basin. He does pursue some developments, especially the earlier ones, in western Europe. Only minor note is taken of the Indus Valley civilizations, of China, and of the elaborated cultures of the New World. The volume has eight chapters as follows: the sources of data on technological history; the transition to the Neolithic; the diffusion of the Neolithic, urbanization and writing; the growth of early civilization, metallurgy, and shipping; more transport and trade; the Greeks and transport; the late Greeks, the Romans, and engineering; and parallel activities in the rest of the world. There are 265 illustrations-text figures, diagrams, and halftones-often with long captions. (It is almost possible to “read” the book in Life-style, by looking only at the pictures.) No sources are given for the illustrations and the author has consciously eschewed notes throughout the text. Instead there is a bibliography of further readings amounting to a reference or two for each section. It is in this matter that Hodges’ avowed intent to write for the general reader becomes evident. Whoever this reader may be, he is not considered to have a very inquiring mind. In Technology in the Ancient World one might look for an up-dated version of Hermann Diels’ Antike Technik (1924) or of Albert Neuburger’s The Technical Arts and Sciences of the Ancients (1921 in the original German). Diels’ study is as discursive as Hodges’ but all sections are shorter and illustrations are fewer. So there is a sub- stantial gain with Hodges, aside from the convenience of having an English-language text. However, Neuburger’s study is twice as long as Hodges, has twice as many figures, and in thirty chapters covers everything from fermentation to the building of harbors. Our general knowledge of the subject has improved in fifty years and this is reflected in Hodges’ writing even though sparsely documented. On balance, then, the work under review is an improvement over several existing surveys. The publishing firm of Alfred A. Knopf has taken pride, for years, in the quality of their output, not only in content but in workmanship as well. This job is the exception proving the rule. Without looking for errors, one finds that figures 205 and 206 have been inverted with the novel result that water drips upward. Figures 254 and 255 are not so obviously awry, but the captions have been exchanged. This could easily lead the innocent astray. And, finally,
  • OTHER 165 the reviewer’s copy completely lacked pages 123 to 130 inclusive. Otherwise one gets a good return for his money. Rum1 Craftsmen and Their Work: Equip- ment and Techniques in the Mer Village o f R a t a d i in Saurashtra, India. EBERHARD FISCHER and HAKU SHAH. Shamin Smetacek, trans. Preface by Alfred Buhler. Ahmedabad, India: National Institute of Design, 1970. xv + 227 pp., illustrations, maps, bibliography. n.p. (paper). Reuiewed b y EUGENE I. KNEZ Smithsonian Institution Traditional Indian arts and crafts have often aroused excited attention but seldom received systematic study. An anthropolo- gist, Eberhard Fischer, and an artist, Haku Shah, have joined forces to produce this excellent ethnographic account of arts and crafts in a village of northwestern India. The people of the village community, Ratadi, belong to the Hindu caste of cultivators, Mer, who predominate in the Porbandar Taluka (Municipality), Junagadh District, on the peninsular of Saurashtra. The fieldwork was done in 1965 and 1966 after a recon- naissance in the Districts of Bhavnager, Amreli, Junagadh, and Rajkot. The manu- script was first written in German, later translated into English, and completely revised. The organization of the text makes read- ing somewhat difficult but adheres to a logical scheme with an assignment of chapters according to the raw materials employed, e.g., stones, clay, wood, or by the end product, e.g., farming implements, wall paintings, textile techniques. Regrettably the text provides no overview for the reader in the first chapter or in a concluding one. A sketchy but useful discussion of the village and its inhabitants dealing with certain geographic, social, and architectural details constitute the first chapter. The authors apparently believe that the cited ethno- graphic literature, especially “The Mers of Saurashtra. An exposition of their social structure and organization,” by H. R. Trivedi (1961), can be readily consulted by the reader to place their work in context. The eleven chapter headings are “The village of Ratadi and its inhabitants,” “Farming Implements,’’ “Stone Working,” “Clay Relief Working,” “Wall Painting,” “Wood Working,” “Articles from Metal,” “Pottery,” and “Additional Notes.” Within each chapter, consideration is given to the in- formants, the role of the craftsman, his tools and materials, working conditions, manufac- turing sequence, and finally to a catalog of typical examples. The objects in the catalog were selected for their structural and func- tional characteristics rather than for any historical significance. The problems of organizing and trans- lating the field data are probably reflected in frequently unexpected categories the reader encounters, e.g., chapter 2 is entitled “Farming Implements” and then subdivided into “The structures in the fields,” “The threshing floor,” “Cultivation implements,” and “Equipment used in animal husbandry.” A selective and useful bibliography is related to the different chapters. The photographic coverage is unusually extensive and reveals manufactured objects, working conditions, sequences in production, and the cultural context, e.g., invocation of the ancestors, invocation of Vashkada dada, mourning ritual of Mer farmers, wedding scenes, and a genealogist’s recital. The photographs, how- ever, are uneven in quality. Although the research and the publication were sponsored by the National Institute of Design, and one of the authors is an artist, the rich diversity of design has not received what seems to be adequate consideration. Simple line drawings showing patterns with perhaps fewer photo- graphs would have provided for more of a balanced presentation. The plans, especially those of the village area, the homes of farmers, and the workshops of the carpenter, potter, and shoemaker are particularly well done and informative. The authors have ably achieved their goal of presenting a description of various arts and crafts and conducting an inquiry into the role of different craftsmen, their work- ing conditions, and procedures. The authors and the National Institute of Design are to be congratulated, and it is hoped, that the National Institute of Design will persist with its ethnographic research program to assemble “an accurate documentation, a collection of texts, illustrations and typical examples, o f . . . traditional crafts.”
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