International Journal of Modern Anthropology https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma Some recent rigorous studies in anthropological research begin to provide new conclusions against some classic questionable considerations and /or show increasing tendency to do some syntheses of multidisciplinary data. The revelation of these two events marks the birth of a modern anthropology. The principal aim of this journal is to contribute to the development of this modern anthropology. <br /><br /> Other websites related to this open access journal: <a title="http://www.ata.org.tn/IJindex.htm" href="http://www.ata.org.tn/IJindex.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ata.org.tn/IJindex.htm</a> and <a title="http://www.ata.org.tn" href="http://www.ata.org.tn" target="_blank">http://www.ata.org.tn </a> Tunisian Association of Antrhopology (TAA) en-US International Journal of Modern Anthropology 1737-7374 <p>Authors retain the copyrights of their papers, which are licensed under a <strong>Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative Works 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)</strong><strong>.</strong> This License allows readers to disseminate and reuse the article, and so will enable the sharing and reuse of scientific material. It does not however permit commercial exploitation or the creation of derivative works without specific permission. <br /> (To view a copy of this license visit <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/" target="_blank">http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/</a>.)</p> Exceptions to the rule? Ethnographic alternatives to cumulative cultural evolution https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201870 <p>In suggesting that the rules that govern the evolution of cumulative culture are observed in all modern societies, gene-culture coevolution theory implies that the biases that affect the successful ‘ratcheting’ and efficient transmission of innovations are cross-cultural universals. In the modeling of the theory the stress is placed on demographic strength, the absence of which would render small and isolated populations vulnerable to the ‘treadmill effect’, the inevitable consequence of impaired social learning. However, the ethnographic literature documents small groups of isolated hunters and gatherers who have devised intricate risk-reduction networks that do not necessarily proliferate technological innovations and function only in low demographic settings. Moreover, with merit and abilities being equally distributed, the model-based and conformist biases that influence social learning in gene-culture coevolution theory become irrelevant and elaborate ‘leveling mechanisms’ inhibit the acquisition of status and prestige. As a result, no cultural models can rise to prominence and sway the trajectory of cultural change. Contrary to the predictions of the theory, these societies do not seem to be plagued by cultural loss and, instead of hopelessly running the treadmill and living in poverty, they have developed egalitarian and, to an extent, ‘affluent’ societies. The model forwarded in this paper resolves this apparent paradox by enrolling the hypothesis of ‘cultural neoteny’. It is contended that egalitarian societies – despite their simple (immediate-return) mode of subsistence – are not the vestiges of an ancestral/universal stage from which more complex (delayed-return) economies would linearly evolve, but a relatively recent and idiosyncratic achievement through ‘subtractive cultural evolution’.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> anarchic theory in ethnography, cultural heterochrony, cumulative/subtractive cultural evolution, immediate-return/egalitarian societies, ratcheting/leveling mechanisms.</p> George F. Steiner Copyright (c) 2020-11-27 2020-11-27 2 14 177 235 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.1 Intramural Burials from the Ancient Byzantine Settlement in Khirbet es-Samrā in Jordan https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201895 <p>The church burials of Room-94 and Church-79 as well as the Tower 35-Tomb were excavated within the ancient Byzantine settlement in Khirbet es-Samrā, North Jordan. They were initially dated between the 7th and 9th centuries AD. The report provides the results of macroscopic analyses of the obtained human skeletal remains. These include demographic, anthropometric, epigenetic, and pathologic features. The available biological and archaeological evidence tend to suggest that the five adults and child buried in Room-94 tomb were related males, possibly of one local and highly positioned family that was associated with the adjacent Church 95. The six were successively buried in the “private” tomb in Room-94 of Church-95 and not in the “public” cemetery just outside the settlement. The two probable cases of brucellar lesions on the cervical vertebrae of two adults could be indicative of an animal breeding family and that dairy products were part of the local diet. The report also suggests a possible relatedness between Room-94 tomb burials and the 7th century AD senile female burial in Church-79, which was previously assumed to be a male church-functionary burial. Despite being marked by a cross-engraved stone and a probably lethal arrow injury, the available evidence lead to conclude that the male Tower burial, previously identified as of the 9th century AD, was in fact a medieval burial and that it is neither related to the ancient settlement nor to its ancient population. Also presented are some rarely reported biological features, e.g. the “en bloc” manifestation of the transverse foramen division on the cervical vertebrae C5 to C7.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> Jordan - Byzantine Period - Church Burial – Anthropometry - Epigenetics- Paleopathology.</p> Abdalla J. Nabulsi Petra Schönrock-Nabulsi Jean-Baptiste Humbert Alain Desreumaux Christina Wurst Copyright (c) 2020-12-01 2020-12-01 2 14 237 273 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.2 Variations of finger dermatoglyphics among the Esan ethnic group of Edo State, Nigeria https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201896 <p>Patterns in fingers, palms, and soles; a term refers to as ‘dermatoglyphics’, are now been studied for ethno-historic facts and ancestry tracing. However, there is paucity of information on Esan people dermatoglyphics. Hence, this study investigates the variations in finger dermatoglyphics among Esan speaking tribe of Edo State, Nigeria. A total of 500 indigenes were sampled from 3 randomly selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the ink method was used to collect finger-prints from both palms. The loop was the most predominant pattern (54.44%) while the whorl and arches represent 30.96% and 14.60% respectively. Overall, the loop fingerprint pattern was highest in all the LGAs. Esan West LGA presented highest in the arches fingerprints (56.44%) as compared to Esan North East LGA (24.38%) and Esan Central LGA (19.18%). The right hand was observed to present higher in the different primary fingerprints but the different was not significant. There was no significant different (p&gt;0.05) in the distribution of the primary fingerprints pattern between the right and left hand in the different LGAs. There was a significant difference (p&lt;0.05) in the distribution of the primary fingerprints between genders. Female represented higher in the arches pattern while male represented higher in the whorl pattern. The loop pattern was male dominant in Esan West and Esan Central LGAs but female dominated in Esan North East LGA. The findings demonstrated gender and LGAs variations of primary fingerprints among the Esan speaking tribe and may suggest different ancestry. This result could play important role for forensic anthropologist in the study area.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: Dermatoglyphics, Fingerprints, Esan, Edo State, Nigeria</p> Luke Chukwumah Anyanwu Copyright (c) 2020-12-01 2020-12-01 2 14 275 289 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.3 Muslim Healers and Healing: An Ethnographic Study of Aboabo Community of Ghana https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201897 <p>Societies that have accepted Islam have blended their native culture with what was, rightly and wrongly, linked to Islam. Here, we present an example of this combination concerning traditional healing processes in Muslim societies. Focusing on the Aboabo community, we did an ethnographic study of healing processes and rites used by healers and further discussed the rites, practices, contributions and challenges of Muslim traditional healing in the community. Based on a qualitative research approach, the current study uses both theories of diffusionism and syncretism and empirical evidence to highlight the mode of treating some diseases using medicinal plants and rituals including prayers and Qur‟an verses recommended in ancient narrations received from earlier Muslim societies (particularly Arab societies). Although Muslim traditional healers are nearly disappearing from many contemporary Muslim societies, the continuation of their presence in some societies such as Aboabo is partly related to the standard of living of the people. The know-how of these healers is mainly limited to their native traditions, some principles of Islam and related questionable narrations. The activities of Muslim traditional practice have remained archaic, often questionable and/or unhygienic despite Islam‟s exhortation of its believers to respect, among other things, cleanliness and hygiene, and especially to increasingly develop their knowledge in major areas such as those concerning medicine and anthropology. Finally, we realized that although the idea of modernization of Muslim traditional healing in Ghana is expressed in some local discourses, it remains at the periphery.</p> <p><strong>Keyword</strong>: Muslim, Islam, Aboabo community, Healing, Muslim healers, Traditional Medicine, Cultures</p> Samuel Adu-Gyamfi Abubakar Teikillah Ali Yakubu Nyaaba Mariama Marciana Kuusaana Benjamin Dompreh Darkwa Lucky Tomdi Copyright (c) 2020-12-01 2020-12-01 2 14 291 316 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.4 The Iberian-Guanche rock inscriptions at La Palma Is.: all seven Canary Islands (Spain) harbour these scripts https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201899 <p>Rock Iberian-Guanche inscriptions have been found in all Canary Islands including La Palma: they consist of incise (with few exceptions) lineal scripts which have been done by using the Iberian semi-syllabary that was used in Iberia and France during the 1st millennium BC until few centuries AD .This confirms First Canarian Inhabitants navigation among Islands. In this paper we analyze three of these rock inscriptions found in westernmost La Palma Island: hypotheses of transcription and translation show that they are short funerary and religious text, like of those found widespread through easternmost Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and also Tenerife Islands. They frequently name “Aka” (dead), “Ama” (mother godness) and “Bake” (peace), and methodology is mostly based in phonology and semantics similarities between Basque language and prehistoric Iberian-Tartessian semi-syllabary transcriptions. These Iberian-Guanche scripts are widespread in La Palma usually together with spiral and circular typical Atlantic motifs which are similar to these of Megalithic British Isles, Brittany (France) and Western Iberia. Sometimes linear incise Iberian-Guanche inscriptions are above the circular ones (more recent) but they are also found underneath (less recent). The idea that this prehistoric Iberian semi-syllabary was originated in Africa and/or Canary Islands is not discarded. It is discussed in the frame of Saharian people migration to&nbsp; Mediterranean, Atlantic (i.e.: Canary Islands) and other areas, when hyperarid climate rapidly established. On the other hand, an Atlantic gene and possibly linguistic and cultural pool is shared among people from British Isles, Brittany (France), Iberia (Spain, Portugal), North Africa and Canary Islands.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: La Palma, Iberian-Guanche, Latin, Inscriptions, Iberian, Celts, Sahara, Africa, Garafia, Santo Domingo, Canary Islands, Lybic British, Brittons, Basque, Irish, Lybic Canarian, Palmeses, Benahoaritas, Awaritas, Tricias, Prehistory, Guache, Tartessian.</p> Antonio Arnaiz-Villena Fabio Suárez-Trujillo Valentín Ruiz-del-Valle Adrián López-Nares Felipe Jorge Pais-Pais Copyright (c) 2020-12-01 2020-12-01 2 14 318 336 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.5 Unequal yoke: The paradox of religious slavery https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijma/article/view/201900 <p>Slavery is a historical reality of most societies in Africa. Lately, there has been an outcry on the resurgence of slavery with modern trends that include religious slavery which has become the fad of many clergies, who utilize their privileged positions, capitalizing on the gullibility and desperation of members to exploit them in the bourgeoisie/proletariat form of relationship. Ironically, Christianity is a redemptive tool for the emancipation of mankind, yet, it has been used to entrap adherents in the bondage it purports to liberate from. Studies have paid greater attention to other forms of modern slavery, like child trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriage, but the paradox of religious slavery in Nigeria is a dialectical contradiction that requires anthropological inquiry. This paper examined the role of the clergy in perpetuating slavery to uncover the motive(s) underlying the act and its implications for society. Marxist's perspectives on religion and fetishism of commodity, elaborated by Taussig (1980) provide theoretical explanations. The study revealed that pastors use intimidating prophecies and scaring messages to enslave adherents to obtain material/financial benefits from them. It poises that such engagement negates societal expectations of pastors as advocates of morality and custodians of trust and urge them to desist from it.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> Religion, Slavery, Dialectics, Paradox, Clergy.</p> Lydia Isioma Chineyemba Copyright (c) 2020-12-01 2020-12-01 2 14 338 361 10.4314/ijma.v2i14.6