Synopses & Reviews
In The Hadza, Frank Marlowe provides a quantitative ethnography of one of the last remaining societies of hunter-gatherers in the world. The Hadza, who inhabit an area of East Africa near the Serengeti and Olduvai Gorge, have long drawn the attention of anthropologists and archaeologists for maintaining a foraging lifestyle in a region that is key to understanding human origins. Marlowe ably applies his years of research with the Hadza to cover the traditional topics in ethnographyand#151;subsistence, material culture, religion, and social structure. But the bookand#8217;s unique contribution is to introduce readers to the more contemporary field of behavioral ecology, which attempts to understand human behavior from an evolutionary perspective. To that end, The Hadza also articulates the necessary background for readers whose exposure to human evolutionary theory is minimal.
"The few societies that still live by foraging for wild food are of great interest to researchers curious about how our ancestors might have lived before the introduction of agriculture thousands of years ago. Two groups that have been intensively studied are the Hadza people of Tanzania and the !Kung San (also known as the Jun/twasi) of the Kalahari Desert. The Hadza continue to hunt and gather today -- two attempts at settling them ended in disastrous epidemics and a return to the hard but viable life they are so good at. The !Kung way of life has changed in recent years, but much information was obtained about them in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were still living as hunter-gatherers. Two recent books -- Frank W. Marlowe's The Hadza: Hunter-Gatherers of Tanzania
and Nancy Howell's Life Histories of the Dobe !Kung: Food, Fatness, and Well-Being over the Life-Span
-- show how much the Hadza and the !Kung have in common. As someone who spent two years studying the !Kung San as a member of Harvard Kalahari Research Group expeditions in 1969-1971 and 1975, I found both volumes riveting." Melvin Konner, American Scientist
(Read the entire American Scientist review
"A special and rare kind of ethnography, skillfully blending detailed description of behavior with thoughtful commentary on theoretical issues. Exceptionally important and enduring."and#151;Bruce Winterhalder, co-editor of Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior
About the Author
Frank Marlowe is Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University.