RE: Bones Reveal Some Truth in 'Noble Savage Myth

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Tue Apr 16 2002 - 22:17:14 BST

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    Subject: RE: Bones Reveal Some Truth in 'Noble Savage Myth
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    Hi Lawrence, Wade

    > Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 12:42:05 -0400
    > From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    > Subject: RE: Bones Reveal Some Truth in 'Noble Savage Myth'
    > Good morning, everyone,
    > I read this story yesterday -- and came away unimpressed. The evidence --
    > skeletal forensics -- is much too thin to jump to conclusions regarding
    > trends or shifts in the degreee of violence in 'native' populations pre- and
    > post- the arrival of Europeans in North America. As the article most
    > tellingly notes, known shifts in the technology of violence obscure the
    > significance of the researcher's findings.
    > Even if one were to assume that the data and its inferences about violence
    > are solid, all it would then show is the incidence of violence, which in
    > itself says little about the 'Noble Savage' theory itself, which itself has
    > little to do with the issue of 'man's intrinsic/genetic propensity to
    > violence.'
    > But they did their best and will get an article to their credit for it. And
    > how could you have a conference if people didn't give papers?
    > Lawrence

    I had not read that one but have seen similar. In particular an
    archaeological bone bed in the US that showed a large number of carcasses
    (Well left over bones, obviously!) some of which showed cut marks consistant
    with butchery. These bones were at the bottom of a bluff, and the thought
    was that they could have been driven over as a hunting technique. The
    natives took what they needed and left the rest. It could also have been
    that the buffalo had spooked.

    As a bit of conjecture, and IMHO, looking round the world now, as well as
    the history of the UK, I would suggest that the idea of the native in
    harmony with the environment is a fantasy brought on by a combination of
    guilt on behalf of the American Settlers, and a bit of cunning by the



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