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Farming, Hunting, and Fishing in the Olmec World (Linda Schele Series in Maya And Pre-columbian Studies) Hardcover – April 1, 2006
About the Author
Amber M. Vanderwarker is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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The author presented theories, hers and of others, that were ill-suited to understanding the Olmec - e.g. there was the presumption that control of the population meant there must have been `domination of the population' - a structure rooted in conflict. Yet, the presumption was contradicted by the author with evidence to show that the people were, and remained, `egalitarian'.
Having limited the scope of research to the Olmec society as completely indigenous marred almost to a fault the outcome of this study. For example, no qualitative answer as to why the people began `intensive farming' was provided, nor the mechanism for organizing a village, or united villages. The research would have been helped if there was at least a comparison or contrast of the two `hamlets' studied to one or more of the major centers - La Venta, San Lorenzo, or Tres Zapotes - to have some idea as to whether these smaller villages were consistent in their food focus of significantly different, etc.
The book in many ways is a disappointment having missed so many opportunities. Lastly, its clear that the author did not do her homework in some areas - especially in understanding social organization - and instead tried to fudge her way - and was rather poor at that.
The topic is worth a critic study and should be properly completed by the author.