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Pastoral Transhumance in the Southern Balkans as a Social Ideology: Ethnoarcheological

Research in Northern Greece

Author(s): Claudia Chang
Source: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 95, No. 3, (Sep., 1993), pp. 687-703
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
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PastoralTrsn.shtlmancein the Saharan Africa and the Near East, an-

SouffiernBaLkansas a Social thropologists have written about the eco-
nomic and ecological nature of
Ideology:Ethnoarcheological long-distance transhumant pastoralism
Researchin Northern Greece (Ingold 1987). Here I wish to examine
the ways in which the economic forces of
CHANG pastoral mobility are inseparable from
Departmentof Anthropologyand Sociology social and ideological forces. While this
SweetBriar College is hardly a revolutionary insight, when
applied to the analysis of discussions or
Transhumance is a common form of prehistoric pastoralism, it does modify
pastoral economic and social organiza- many of the incomplete and speculative
tion in which flocks or herds move long models presented by prehistoric arche-
distances twice yearly between upland ologists on the evolution of pastoral sys-
summer pastures and lowland winter pas- tems.
tures. In Mediterranean Europe, pastoral My specific aim, however, is to address
transhumance has been identified his- more general theoretical issues pertain-
torically and ethnographically; it ranged ing to Grevena pastoral transhumance
from the 13th- to l9th-century state-spon- and agropastoralism that may be used to
sored Mesta, an organization that pro- formulate useful analogies between his-
duced merino wool for national and torical and prehistoric pastoral produc-
international markets in Castilian Spain tion systems. I argue that if pastoral
(Braudel 1949), to ethnic enclaves like transhumance can now be understood as
the contemporary Koutsovlachl (Arou- much more than an ecological or eco-
mani-speaking) pastoralists of the Bal- nomic strategy for historic and contem-
kans, who engage in activities such as porary Koutsovlach upland settlement,
sheepherding, muleteering, and trading Mediterranean archeologists must in
(Nandris 1990). In the Balkans, pastoral turn evaluate the evolutionary and eco-
transhumance practiced by the Kout- logical models they have used for ex-
sovlach, Sarakatsani, and other ethnic plaining the origins and development of
groups has captured the interest of an- specialized pastoral systems from Neo-
thropologists and folklorists throughout lithic through Bronze Age Periods.
the 20th century (Campbell 1964; Schein When the ethnoarcheological survey
1974; Wace and Thompson 1914). In this of modern pastoral sites in the mountain-
report I examine the economic basis, ma- ous Pindos region of Northern Greece
terial culture, and cultural ideology of was first initiated in 1988, my main objec-
pastoral transhumance in the Grevena tive was to outline the economic and
Region of Northern Greece, an area well ecological limits of two strategies of pas-
known for Koutsovlach transhumance toral production sedentary village
and pastoral brigandage. Specifically I herding and seasonal longZistance tran-
suggest that pastoral transhumance, an shumance (Chang 1992). Myassumption
economically inspired strategy, is also was simple; if I could demonstrate the
embodied in the cultural ideology of ecological and economic limitations of
Koutsovlach ethnic and social identity. In these two systems of pastoral production
other regions of the world, notably suS in the modern material record, then

95(3-):687-703. Copyright i) 1993, American Anthropological Association.


these data could be used for developing miUet system,theylayat the geographical
research methods for the archeological fringesand peripheriesof urbancenters,
surveyof pastoralism(cf. Nandris1985). often in the inaccessible mountain re-
During the first two field seasons of gions (Schein 1974:93).Their identityas
ethnoarcheologicalresearchin the East- transhumantpastoralistsappearedto be
ern Pindos Mountainsat elevations of tied to the perpetuationof their ethnic-
900 to 1500 meters, it became increas- ity. Social and political practices,often
ingly apparent that funds and develop- recorded in the form of folkloric ac-
ment assistance from the European countsof Koutsovlachlife, servedto rein-
EconomicCommunity(EEC)had drasti- force regionaland nationalperceptions
cally altered the pastorallandscape of that the Koutsovlachor Aroumaniwere
Northern Greece. Shepherdsand goat- distinct from other Greek populations
herds were able to afford small pickup and held a specialplacein modernGreek
trucks for daily transportationto their history (Nandris 1985, 1990; Schein
mountain stanes (corrals and encamp- 1974). Afterthe demise of Ottomanrule
ments). The developmentof infrastruc- in the beginningof the 20th century,the
ture in upland areasof Grevenasuch as Koutsovlachcontinued to perpetuate a
paved roads,concreteloading platforms separateethnic identitywithin the con-
for trucktransportof livestockseasonally text of the modern Greeknation-state.
to the high mountainpastures,concrete Transhumantpastoralism,or the long-
watering troughs, and concrete animal distance movement between two fixed
sheltershad changedtraditionalherding residences the high mountains in the
practicesand pastoralmaterialculture. summer and the lowland plains in the
The famous Koutsovlachand Kupat- winter was an outward expression of
shari herdersof the High Pindos of the the continuationof Koutsovlachidentity
GrevenaPrefectureof NorthernGreece, despite the period of destruction and
as documented byWaceand Thompson depopulation of mountain villagesdur-
(1914) and Sivignon (1968) before ing World War II and the subsequent
Greece's 1982 entry into the EEC, no GreekCivilWarof 194849. The histori-
longer representeda "pristine," precapi- cal and ethnographicbackgroundof the
talistpastoralproductionsystem.In what Koutsovlachof Northern Greece cou-
wayshad the modernGreeknation-state pled with an evaluationof their contem-
and the agriculturalpolicies of the EEC porarysituationvis-a-visthe practice of
affectedpastoralmobilityin the uplands long-distance, seasonal transhumance
of NorthernGreece?Along a similartra- became the context for the ethnoar-
jectory,was specialized pastoralism in cheological research on which this re-
prehistoricand historicperiodsoften en- portis based.
couragedand supportedby statepolicy? In the context of Koutsovlachpastoral-
In attempting to bridge the gap be- ism,I arguethatthe ideologyof pastoral-
tweenthe modern context of EE(;spon- ism as well as its actual practice is
sored pastoralismamong the Koutso- essential to the maintenance of Kout-
vlach and their neighbors and prehis- sovlachethnicity.Ethnoarcheologicalre-
toricpastoralproduction systems,I be- searchon modernpastoralsitesfromthe
gan to explore ethnographicaccounts, Grevena Region indicates that Kout-
oralhistories,and other historicalmate- sovlach transhumant pastoralists have
rialsof Koutsovlachpastoralismin this beenreinforcedin theireconomicstrate-
regionduring the 18th and l9th centu- giesby the EECand the modern Greek
ries. Historically, the Koutsovlach or nation-state.There are significantnum-
Aroumani-speaking herdersof the High bers of shepherds and goatherds and
PindosMountainswere an ethnic group some cowherdswho move their flocks
incorporatedin the OttomanEmpireso seasonallyto effectivelyutilize different
asto fulfill occupationalroles of mule- ecologicalconditions and land use sys-
teers,traders,woodcutters,and herders. tems.2 Their dual membershipsin winter
Asan ethnic group within the Ottoman andsummer villagesdefines important

ethnic and sociopolitical universes Perhaps specialized pastoralism in pre-

through the mech- anisms of livestock histoxy was also more than an occupa-
husbandry. Supporting this hypothesis is tional specialization. It could have
the EEC's praciice of providing credit involved entire communities that trav-
and subsidies to these transhumant pas- eled between upland and lowland re-
toralists. Through such payments the gions establishing multiplex social,
perpetuation of pastoral transhumance political, and economic networks. Along
in Grevena has been encouraged, revital- these same lines of speculation, it might
izing a UtraditionalXform of pastoral pro- also have been possible that social trans-
duction. humance persisted long after the demise
From an archeological standpoint, this of pastoral specialization. The support of
is an exciting idea because pastoral tran- social transhumance would have come
shumance appears to be more than a most likely from regional or national
'resource getting strategy;"it is also de- state-level organizations. In fact, many of
fined by the social and cultural relations the discussions of enclosed nomadism of
that shape both a community's internal western Asia (Rowton 1973, 1974) draw
organization and its view of the outside parallels between the recent historical
world. The origins of pastoral transhu- past and the period of the Mari state as
mance are most often discussed in light derived from Babylonian texts in which
of key environmental and ecological con- autonomous pastoral chiefdoms were
ditions necessary for the maintenance of fused to sovereign states. The political,
a pastoral regime divorced from cultiva- social, and economic structures by which
tion. Yet Khazanov (1984) and Lees and nomads or transhumants were linked to
Bates ( 1974) have suggested that all pas- the state in the Near East suggests that
toral specializations develop in complex the origins and development of special-
societies in response to political and so- ized pastoralism could also have been
cial as well as economic factors. The his- tied to the rise of complex societies in
torical continuity of pastoral trans- European prehistory (Halstead 1987).
humance in the Pindos Mountains of In the Near East,Adams(1981 :13936)
Greece illustrates in a modern context suggests that the semisettled nomads in
how classic mobility strategies are real- "edge zones" away from the Mesopo-
ized through a set of structural relation- tamian alluvium were part of an ethnic
ships existing between local com- continuum of rural producers whose mo-
munities and larger regional and na- bility provided channels of communica-
tional contexts. Ethnoarcheological in- tion and integration between urban
sights on the social and ethnic identity of centers and rural hinterlands during
pastoralists in the Near East have also early state development. Zagarell (1989)
been used to explain the decline of ur- also rules out the possibility of periodic
banization in the Early Bronze Age and nomadic incursions in Mesopotamia as
the rebirth of towns in the Middle Bronze the cause for state formation. Drawing on
Age in the Levant (Kamp and Yoffee settlement data collected from archeo-
1980). The ethnoarcheological az logical surveys in the Bakhtiari region of
proach to problems of ethnicity, cultural the Zagros Mountains, Zagarell presents
identity, and collecove representations of an alternative scenario for the evolution
pastoralism allows archeologists to draw of pastoral specialization in Mesopota-
some broad parallels between present- mia: during the Neolithic period, there
day contexts and the prehistonc past. was the development of a mixed herding
The dynamic nature in which pastoral and farming economy in the uplands,
specializations emerged during the rise and then in the late Chalcolithic period,
and collapse of complex societies is prob- larger agricultural settlements were in-
ably best investigated in the recent past terspersed with small, perhaps mobile
where there is a rich ethnographic and pastoral campsites. This archeological
historical record available to scholars evidence indicates an actual separation
(Cribb 1990). between highland and lowland econb

mies. Zagarell (1989:300) concludes that ture, and, on the other hand, the social
later processes of state formaiion in the and cultural ideologies of local commu-
alluvial valleys were not caused by pas- nities and ethnic groups, which often
toral incursions from the highlands; aggressively oppose the dominant Hel-
rather, the highland settlements were lenic traditions (Herzield 1985, 1986).
transformed by their relations with cen- The local community or ethnic group
tralized, hierarchically organized low- often stands in direct opposition to the
land states. nationalist ideology, a common dynamic
Furthermore, the relationship be- opposition found in rural Mediterra-
tween ethnicity and pastoral production nean society (Campbell 1964; Pitt-Rivers
in the modern nation-state has implica- 1954) and elsewhere. In the case of the
tions for how anthropologists view pas- Koutsovlach communities of Grevena,
toral production in developing nations. ethnic autonomy and community soli-
The ethnic identity of the Koutsovlach darity can be maintained successfully by
within the Greek nation-state and the local manipulation through patron-cli-
EEC can be compared to the process by ent relations linking local communities
which other pastoral groups have been to the state. Even in the cases when the
incorporated into modern nation-states. nation-state imposes its control from
Hjort (1990) discusses Sweden's national above and cannot be successfully ma-
policy concerning the future economic nipulated through local patronage, local
development of Saami reindeer herders. ideology becomes an outlet for defend-
The Swedish government is attempting ing local values against those of the na-
to grant Saami their own ethnic auton- tion-state. The folkloric image and
omy within the context of a rationalized stereotype of the Koutsovlach pastoralist,
pastoral economy, but once they drop in this sense, metaphorically sets up the
out of herding and thus are unable to be boundaly of local ethnicity, social mar-
maintained within a nomadic pastoral ginality, and opposition to the state.
community, the nonherding Saami lose Schein ( 1974) contests the difference
their ethnic, cultural, and minority rights between Sarakatsani and Koutsovlach
(Hjort 1990:28). On the other hand, the (Aroumani) ethnicity in the neighboring
works of Campbell (1964) and Schein province of Epirus. During the 18th and
(1974), on which I will build here, pre- 19th centuries, the Koutsovlach main-
sent cases of ethnic groups of transhu- tained their ethnicit through language
mant pastoralists in Greece who main- and their specialized economic role as
tain ethnic identity, and who-specifi- traders in the Ottoman millet system. In
cally, in the case of the Koutsovlach-are the 20th century, this autonomy is car-
able to manipulate their position within ried over through a number of diverse
the nation-state so as to enhance their strategies ansing from this set of histori-
ethnic autonomy. These European cases cal circumstances. Schein states:
also have implications for African pastor- Aroumanian ethnic identity condenses
alism as rationalized within modern na- multipleexperiencesand meanings non-
tion-states (Hjort 1990). Greekness,ecologicaland economic mar-
ginality, unique control of muleteering,
Ethnographic Background and dominanceof the cheese tradc- and
thus has great but non-specificpotential
The awareness of Koutsovlach ethnic- uses.It not onlyunitesAroumaniin diverse
ity emerged out of the Greek nationalist contexts, but also connects upper and
movement in the 18th through 20th cen- lowerclasses Ties of kinshipbetweenemi-
turies. Today, the study of ethnicity as it grantsand sedentaryvillagershave always
formed routesalong which passed money
pertains to Koutsovlach and other recog- and patronageconnections that could be
nized ethnic minorities is complicated used for mobility. Such lines have also
by, on the one hand, ethnographic and crossed class division because, either
folkloric studies that are meant tojustify through the few inter-class marriages
the ancient Hellenic roots of Greek cul- whichoccurredor throughfictivekin ties,

the lowerclasscouldmakesmallbut suc- (Salzman 1980). In discussing labor mi-

cessfuleconomicand poliiicalclaimson gration of the Sinai Bedouin, Marx
theirethnickin.In returnthe upperclass (1977:40) discusses how lineage solidar-
havebeen assuredsuppliesof milkand ity and tribal cohesion among the Bed-
livestock,clients,and potentialpolitical
support." [Schein1974:93] ouin are maintained ritually and socially,
after men leave the tribal territory in
The stereotypic images of kleMs charge of the female household mem-
(thieves),herders,and muleteersin local bers, who tend small flocks and gardens.
folklore and everydayconversationfuse A concept of Uhomeland," when fixed
the Koutsovlachand Kupatshari(Hel- ideologically but realized only pen-
lenized Koutsovlach)cultural identities odically in a behavioral sense, poses
withthatof nomadicexistence.Perform- structural problems (Salzman 1980:8).
ances of ethnicity and pastoral origins The urban Koutsovlach in his village of
are readilyidentifiedwithinthe commu- origin faces a similar structural problem;
nity arena of summerpaniyeri (religious he identifies with an ZideologicalXhome-
feast days) and aggressive displays of land in the mountains but dwells for the
male solidaritythroughmeat-eatingand
most part in the lowlands. For shepherds,
daily conversationalbanter at local cof-
fee shops (cf. Herzfeld 1985). In the Ku- the ideology of transhumance fits the
patsharivillage of Polyneri today, con- behavioral reality of actual dual resi-
versationalgold among men in their six- dency.
ties and older are storiesof thieveryand A Koutsovlach shepherd, when asked
banditry;muleteeringjourneysto the dis- why he preferred his summer residency
tant cities of Iannina,Thessaloniki,and in the mountains to his winter lowland
Filiates;and herding. The ethnic differ- residence, explained his sentiments in
ence between the Koutsovlachand Ku- these terms: as much as he preferred the
patshari villages are expressed in mountains, the sheep prospered even
linguisticterms.Vlachohoria,or the four more than humans once at their moun-
famous Koutsovlach villages of Gre- tain pastures. I took this to mean that not
vena- Samarina,Perivoli, Avdella, and only do humans prefer the sociability and
Smixi are describedas the summervil- conviviality of their mountain communi-
lages of the Koutsovlach,where Arou- ties, but in a productive and generative
mani is spoken. The Kupatsharivillages sense, sheep grow" better in the moun-
occupyingelevationsof 1,100metersand tains. Yet a shepherd's productive activi-
lower,are year-roundvillageswhere less ties depend on both arenas; the
than a quarter of the total population mountains and the plains offer different
engages in transhumant pastoralism. kinds of social relations, productive re-
The Kupatshari,whilerecognizingthem- sources, and possibilities for individual
selves as Greek-speakersand therefore and group identities. This ideological
Hellenized,alsoacknowledgetheirKout- view may be similar to the Sinai Bed-
sovlachorigins. ouin's notion of a shared homeland, kept
This kind of social transhumance,like physically active through women who
classicpastoraltranshumance,relies on tend gardens and keep flocks, and ideo-
fixed settlement in two or more locali- logically and socially viable by missing
ties.3Indeed, both the urban and rural men who must find ritual opportunities
Koutsovlach,who do not engage in pas- to return and assert the moral and social
toral aciivitiestoday,migrate seasonally responsibilities of the bonds of lineage
to an upland villageas a means of main- and tribal solidarity (Marx 1977:40). In
tainingcommunityand ethnic solidarity. the case of Koutsovlach identity, effective
Other pastoralgroups, especially those kinship relations, social networks, pa-
recently sedentanzed, often practice a tron-client relations, and pastoral pro-
patternof return to the village or settle- duction continue to be reasserted and
ment of origin as a means of reaffirming reaffirmed within the context of the sum-
theirethnicityand identityas pastoralists mer migration to the village of origin.

This pattern of urban return to the ties and how pastoralists conceptualize
rural village of origin is typical through- their use of space logistically in terms of
out Greece; in the Koutsovlach and Ku- competition over key resources and vis-a-
patshari (Hellenized Koutsovlach) vil- vis other production systems. The actual
lages of the Pindos, an overarching em- cultural material pattem does not deline-
phasis is placed on the discursive and ate ethnicity, nor even a cultural ideology
dramatic performances of individuals, as such. The material data only indicate
notably men, verbally expressing their the presence of different production
kleftic and pastoral identity. This cultural zones.
ideology is often expressed in terms of In the eastem Pindos Mountains, the
explicit pastoral behavior. The dominant economic and ecological conditions are
ideology may serve to emphasize "shared such that pastoralproduction in the three
identity," thus masking the class tensions upland environmental zones ranges from
that exist between the urban elite who summer transhumantpastoralism to year-
return for summer holidays and the round village agropastoralism (Koster
shepherds who still practice transhu- 1987). Figure 1 illustrates the spatial pat-
mance. The ritual cycle of religious feasts teming of pastonl sites and land use in the
and even mourning ceremonies is sched- first three zones. The upper elevations of
uled to coincide as much as possible with the eastem flanksof the Pindos Mountains
the period of summer transhumance and from 1,300 to 1,500 meters (Zone 1) are
return. Even village women explaining the topographic zone for Koutsovlach
the ritual meaning of Klidonas,4a divina- summer transhumance and summer set-
tion ritual carried out during St. John's tlement. The summer transhumantsfrom
Day, place the importance of this event Vlachohorio (the High Pindos) travel to
in terms of the transhumant schedule by lowland pastures from 50 meters to 150
noting its occurrence at the time when kilometers in the plains of Thessaly,
all the shepherds have returned to the Kozani, and Elassona. In the Lower Pin-
mountains from their winter pastures. dos Mountains, from 1,000 to 1,300 me-
ters (Zone 2), a group of Kupatshari
The Ethnoarcheological Case (Hellenized Koutsovlachs) engages in
both long-distance transhumance and
The ethnoarcheological and the mod- settled year-round agropastoralism
ern material studies of pastoralists in the (wheat, barley,viticulture, orchards, and
Near East have provided a very rich con- small flocks of sheep and goats). Below
textual background for reconstructing 1,000 meters (Zone 3), in the foothills of
prehistoric pastoralism (Hole 1978, the Pindos, year-round agropastoralism
1979; Digard 1981) . I shall briefly outline occurs among Kupatshari and some
the results of an ethnoarcheological re- Turkish groups. The agricultural basin of
search project conducted from 1988 to Grevena at about 500 meters (Zone 4), is
1992 (Chang 1992; Chang and Tourtel- primarily a wheat, barley, and fodder
lotte 1993). Since the more detailed area, interspersed with oak woods. Less
analysis of these data has been published pastoral production occurs in this agri-
elsewhere, this material is summarized cultural plain than in the upper three
with particular reference to those points zones.
that further elucidate arguments about Table 1 illustrates 1986 agricultural
the ecological, economic, and social na- census data for each of these six villages
ture of transhumance. on total land area, land area in pasture,
The pastoral site (corral, enclosure, total number of sheep and goats, and
fold, or encampment) is an economic average number of animals per herder.
necessity for carrying out herding activi- The last two columns also report the rela-
ties and a symbolic representation of a tive density of animals per total pasture
herder's commitment to the pastoral way and per total area. The two Koutsovlach
of life. Thus, there is a direct connection villages (Avdella and Perivoli) from Zone
between the artifactX of pastoral activi- 1 (the High Pindos) have larger average

*UPLAND SUMMER t 1t - ^ Ps
IS 150-160

aS I v

STANI te;>


. :(
I -

OF . g. e 's



A schemadcdrawingshowng pastorallanduse in {hreezones of Grevena,Greece.


Grevenadata (1986)fromsix villages.

Average Pasture Area
Total Number of Pature Number of Area (ha)
Area in Sheep and Area in Animals (ha) per per
Village Hectares Goats Hectares per Flock Animal Animal
Avdella 43,200 8,425 17,300 191 2.05 5.13
Perivoli 137,200 17,465 32,700 162 1.87 7.86
Lavdas 10,700 1,665 8,100 111 4.86 6.43
Panorama 7,000 1,935 600 129 .36 3.62
Polyneri 10,300 4,422 6,500 159 1.47 2.33
Megaro 24,800 5,578 13,700 59 2.45 4.45

flock numbersthan the other villages.In land pasturethroughuse-rights,rent, or

Zone 2, the villagesof Lavdas,Panorama, labor exchange. Herders rent fallow or
and Polineri show slightlyloweraverage stubble fields for grazing, and also to
flock numbers than in Zone 1, but in obtain fodder in the form of hay and
Panoramaand Polinerithereis consider- clover.If a herderowns land in the low-
ablyless pasturearea per animal.These lands,as do some of the more successful
data indicate a high density and over- Koutsovlachherders,he will be less de-
packingof grazinganimalsper unit area. pendent on developingan extensivenet-
In both villages we have observed the work.A transhumantherder,by traveling
effects of overgrazingon pastures.Usu- to the uplands during the summer
ally the naturalgrasslandsappear to be months, also extends the overall lacta-
in poorer condition and show greater tion period of his milkinganimalsby a
incidence of soil erosion. In Zone 3, the month or more.Otherimportantconsid-
village of Megarohas a moderate num- erationsregardingschedulingand long-
ber of animals per grazing area but a distance movement include when the
much loweraverageflocksize. Megarois herdershould breed his animalsso as to
an agropastoralvillagewheresheep and get maximum off-takeat peak market
goat husbandryare combined with ce- periods (Christmas and Easter) and
real cultivation. whetherthe herderwilltravelby truckor
by foot. Those who elect to walk from
The Decision-Making
ProcessUsed for upland to lowlandpasturesspend about
SchedulingSeasonalMobilitr two weeks in transit,making daily deci-
sions about where theirflockscan graze.
The transhumantherders described In Zone 2, wherehistoricallythere has
their decisions regarding summer and been a combinaton of both year-round
winter mobility and the scheduling of -biillage
pastoralismand seasonalsummer
their moves in terms of the following transhumance,those who choose to be
strategies: (1) if winter pasture in the transhumantsmusthaveaccessto winter
plains is difficult to obtain, they will at- pasture lands in lowland communities.
tempt to leave for summerpastures;(2) Usuallythese landsareobtainedthrough
if summerpasturebecomes overgrazed, contractual agreements. Transhumant
theywillmove to the lowlandareas.Trans flocks are larger (over 100) and village
humantherdersmust establishextensive flocks are smaller (under 50). Some
socialnetworksforobtainingaccessto low- herders choose a sedentaryyear-round

life for severalreasons:their inabilityto villages like Polyneri suggest that agro-
obtainlowlandpastures,the cost/benefit pastoralismwas more prevalent in the
ratios of capital as realized from both pre-1940speriod. The demise of upland
farmingand herding,and a socialorien- cereal cultivationover the last50 yearsis
tation towardmaintaininga single resi- now coupled with a rapidrisein pastoral
dence. On the other hand, pastoral transhumantflocks occupying the areas
transhumants invest in large flocks, of unused agriculturallands. Concrete
maintain dual residences, and obtain animal folds, an extensive systemof wa-
pasturein the lowlandsthrough endur- tering troughs and springs,and sorting
ing social networks. For transhumant and loading platformsfor transporting
herders,the entrepreneurialaspectsof a stock by truckbetween lowlandand up-
transhumant lifestyle reinforce the land pastureshave all been funded di-
bonds of patronageand brokeragenec- rectlyor subsidizedbythe EEC.Thus,the
essary for integration between lowland materialcultureof pastoralismtodayre-
and upland communities (Campbell flects the effectsof nationaland interna-
1964). tional agriculturalpolicies.
making processes in terms of the year- Transhumanceas a SocialIdeology
round condition of grazing lands and
fodder storage.Herderswho live at 800 How then can the argument be ad-
meters or above have to provideanimals vanced that pastoral mobility entails a
withfodder during the winter,especially culturaland social ideology as well as an
if there is snow cover. In some years, economic basis?First, I argue that the
when snowcoverhas been relativelylight maintenance of ethnic boundaries ob-
(under a meter,and not lastingfor more servablein currentland use praciiceshas
than a week), sheep and goatshavebeen importantsocial and ideologicaldimen-
grazed continuously. Fodder demands sions. A Kupatshariherder who has no
are relativelygreat, depending on how kinship,godparenthood,or socialtes to
many animals one owns and for what lowlandpasturecannot consider adopt-
period of time they must be housed in- ing transhumanceas a pastoralstrategy.
side the fold. Each adult female sheep The dual membershipinto summerand
requiresone kilo of grainand one kiloof winterresidences,seeminglydictatedby
fodder (hay, clover, or leafy branches) ecological and economic necessity,in-
per day.Often agropastoralists in Zone 3 volvesa necessarilycohesive structure-
and belowhouse theirflocksfor about50 one that is best expressedand sustained
daysper year,depending on snow cover throughsocial iies and culturalideology.
and rainy weather. Herders who must In simpleterms,transhumanceis embed-
provideyear-roundfodder tend to keep ded in a worldviewand in an individual's
smallerflocksof sheep and goats (under social persona.
100, and on the average,about 50). In Herzfeld's (1985) exegesis of the
This range of livestockhusbandrysys- cultural performances of Cretan man-
tems has been vastlyaffected by agricul- hood among the Glendiotshepherds,he
turalpolicies implementedby the Greek often refers to the local village ideology
governmentas a result of its 1982 entry in which the shepherdssee themselvesas
into the EEC.The perpetuation of uw hero-kleftes pitted against the larger,
land communities in Zones 1, 2, and 3 more remote national ideology.Among
since the depopulation and diasporaaf- the Koutsovlachand Kupatsharimen,
ter the GreekCivilWar (1949) has been whether urban or local, their main
in part due to the economic incentives source of local identity comes from the
provided by EEC subsidies, credit, and upland villagesof Grevena.The best in
marketsupport.This is particularlyrele- life comes from the mountains women,
vant for pastoraltranshumancein Zone livestock, and conviviality.A shepherd
2. The oral historyof pre-1940sagricul- wanted to know why Americansin my
turaland animal husbandrypracticesin region of the United States(a mountain-

ous area) did not practice transhumance sider. While transhumant mobility in this
between the high mountains and the low sense may appear to have obvious social
plains. He used the analogy of the disadvantages, the Kupatshari herders
cuckoo bird, who migrates in early April are in the enviable position of occupying
from Africa to the High Pindos of North- the interstices existing between the Kout-
ern Greece. He then claimed that human sovlach and Kupatshari. The Kupatshari
transhumance between upland and low- transhumants are part of an informal
land communities was a natural state like network of shepherds, many of whom are
that of bird migration. This dominant transhumant Koutsovlach. Often the Ku-
ideology in which a mobility strategy is patshari and Koutsovlach transhumants
viewed by the herders themselves as gov- share common winter villages. The Ku-
erned by climate and natural tempera- patshari transhumants are thus able to
ment illustrates how the practice of have direct access and ties to the Kout-
transhumance is naturalized." sovlach herders in Zone 1 by virtue of
Why do transhumant herders and their occupational specialization and
other community members believe that shared winter residence. In the past,
social transhumance is a natural state? these ties became part of larger networks
We can consider transhumance as a set that the Kupatshari had to Koutsovlach
of observable social behaviors tied to the cheese merchants and entrepreneurs.
pastoral worldview. Among the Sarakat- Such patronage was by no means one-
sani, patronage, lopsided friendship, and sided, especially in the first half of the
clientage are used by shepherds to gain 20th century when the Koutsovlach, who
access to grazing lands in the summer spent only the summer months in the
village, curry political favor, and main- Pindos, depended on the Kupatshari vil-
tain protection against official, bureau- lages for agricultural products, supplies,
cratic policies (Campbell 1964). Like the and services. One may speculate that his-
Koutsovlach, the Sarakatsani identify torically, the ideology of a shared ethnic
with their summer village. origin of Koutsovlach and Kupatshariwas
In the Kupatshari villages where both emphasized to promote the patron-cli-
transhumance and year-round residency ent relations between the two ethnic
occurs, there is a variation of this pattern groups.
of renewing social ties and networks in In the two Koutsovlach villages in-
the summer village. The transhumants, cluded in our ethnoarcheological survey,
who tend to remain in their own residen- Avdella and Perivoli, there is evidence
tial neighborhoods, stand outside the that the majorityof community members
central social arenas of year-round resi- adhere to the outward expression of a
dents; they describe themselves as out- "herding past," although only a small
siders" or newcomers to their village of percentage of summer residents actually
origin, since they cannot claim full-time engage in animal husbandry. Men gather
residency. It is here, however, that they nightly in the village squares with their
must also establish essential social ties to shepherd's staffs and partake in eating
other herders, villagers, cheese mer- roasted kid or lamb.5 The Koutsovlach
chants, butchers, and patrons. The social traditions recalling a kleftin past are re-
milieu of transhumant herders is quite newed through story-telling among for-
different from that of year-round village mer herders and urban Koutsovlach.
residents. The transhumant herder must Many urban Koutsovlach continue to al-
operate in two distinct social settings- ternate their residence between an uw
the closed world of an upland village and land summer village and lowland urban
the larger world of sprawling agricultural communities. The ethnic identity of the
villages and towns of the Thessaly plains. upper-class Koutsovlachs, now the urban-
In social terms, while the Kupatshari ized Koutsovlachs, had its historical ante-
transhumant herder has two distinct so- cedents in the profit-making activities of
cial arenas, neither social community long-distance muleteering and trading
considers that he is completely an in- with Koutsovlach merchants in Yugosla-

via, Bulgaria, and Albania (Schein continued social transhumance.In the

1974:92). Pastoral transhumance and same way that pastoralistsare predis-
subsidiaryprofessions such as cheese- posed to certain career trajectoriesin-
making, woodcutting, and butchering volvingbanditryand brokerage(trading,
are perhaps the only concrete evidence raiding, and smuggling), they also sub-
of a transhumanteconomy.The summer scribe to mobility strategies that can
residencein the Koutsovlachand Kupat- shape an entire community's orienta-
sharivillages (Zones 1 and 2) lastsfrom tion. The social flexibility required of
May to September and October. The social transhumancerelies also on net-
peak months of occupationareJulyand workties and brokeragebetweenupland
August. By November the Koutsovlach and lowland communities. If transhu-
villagesare virtuallyabandoned,whereas mant pastoralismis indeed a gmoveable
many of the Kupatsharivillagesin Zone feast," then transhumant mobility de-
2 may have from 10 to 40 households in fines for its participantsdifferentsets of
residence during the winter. For the social and political arenas. Social tran-
Koutsovlachand Kupatsharicommuni- shumance thus becomes a means of or-
ties where summer residence is high, ganizingentire communitiesand ethnic
transhumanceis a "asharedculturalide- groups.
Moreover,there is a nationallyrecog- PastoralTranshumanceas an
nized political aspect to summer resi- ArcheologicalProblem
dence in the uplandKoutsovlachvillages
of Grevena. The Koutsovlachsummer Pastoraltranshumanceas an archeo-
communities,unlike the rest of Greece, logical problem has tantalizedprehisto-
hold their local elections in the summer rians working in the Northern Med-
ratherthan in the fall. ManyKoutsovlach iterranean.In fact, there has been con-
claimtheirprimaryresidencein the sum- siderablediscussionabout when the ori-
mer village, thus maintaining voting gins of specialized pastoral transhu-
rightsin the Koutsovlachuplandvillages. mance occurred and whether this is
In this sense, Koutsovlachidentityis tol- linked to the development of complex
erated and even encouraged by the societies during the Late Neolithic
Greeknation-state.Thus for manyKout- throughIronAge (Greenfield1988;Hal-
sovlach,seasonal transhumanceembod- stead 1981, 1987;Jacobsen 1978, 1981,
ies access to politicalrightsas an ethnic 1984; Lewthwaite 1981, 1984; Sterud
enclave and the communityvalues, ori- 1978). Pastoral transhumanceis often
entation, and ideology spnbolic of a for- viewedas the best exampleof specialized
mer pastoral or mobile existence. The pastoralismin the EuropeanMediterra-
fact that the nation-statesupportsethnic nean by those archeologistsworkingin
autonomy by granting the Koutsovlach regions where such practicesare recog-
their own summer elections within the nized historicallyand ethnographically.
national electorate system is indeed an The developmentof pastoraltranshu-
indicationof the degree of politicalclout mance is often tied to the "secondary
held by this ethnic group. products revolution" (Sherratt 1981,
How and why does pastoral transhu- 1983), a hypothesisthat meat-basedpas-
mance,perhapsarisingout of the special- toralismwas replaced by daixying,wool
ized needs of a pastoral population, production,and animal tractionduring
become a pervasivewayof life historically the late Neolithic when large tracts of
for certain ethnic groups?Clearlyin the European woodlands were deforested.
case of Grevena,there are sociopolitical The argumentfor linking pastoraltran-
reasonsfor why some Koutsovlachswho shumance to the secondary products
live in urbanareasand follow a number revolutionis that pastoralspecialization
of urban professionsfar removed from musthavedepended on broadexchange
pastoralismmightwish to maintaintheir networks and/or markets. Such ex-
ethnicity and political identity through change networksrelied on trading the

surplusproductssuch as dairyitems and ized pastoralismas a naturalprogression

fibers. Mixed farmingand herding sys- in the evoluton of animal husbandiy
temsoften are characterizedas Neolithic systems.The question of the origins of
adaptations based on a "subsistence" pastoraltranshumancein the prehistoric
rather than market orientation (Hal- record are most often discussedin light
stead 1987). Thus many archeologists of the key environmentaland ecological
viewpastoraltranshumanceas a possible conditions necessary for the mainte-
mechanism for explaining high- nance of a pastoralregimedivorcedfrom
land/lowland interactions during the cultivation.Yetin Grevena,pastoraltran-
LateNeolithic throughBronzeAge peri- shumanceis also realizedthrough a set
ods, periods of increasing social com- of structuralrelationshipsbetween local
plexityand politicalcentralization.6 communitiesand largerregionaland na-
Research documenting prehistoric tional contexts.
pastoraltranshumancehasyet to be con-
ducted throughthe traditionalmeansof PastoralTranshwnanceand the State
surveyor excavationprojects.Archeolo-
gists like Halstead (1987), working in Does the economic impactof the EEC
NorthernGreece,andLewthwaite( 1981, render Grevenapastoraltranshumance
1984) workingin Corsicaand Sardinia, an inappropriate case for developing
have repeatedlycautionedarcheologists models with which to examine prehis-
about the speculativeand inconclusive toricpastoraltranshumancein the Medi-
nature in which archeologistshave used terranean?While it is absolutely clear
historicaland ethnographicexamplesof that this form of modernizationis far
Mediterraneantranshumanceas analo- removed from a "pristine"situation of
gies for describingthe originsof special- Mediterraneanpastoral transhumance,
ized pastoralism. an even more fundamental question
Ethnoarcheologicalresearch on con- must be addressed.Did Mediterranean
temporarypastoraltranshumancein the pastoral transhumancearise out of re-
NorthernMediterraneanmaycontribute gional and national policies in recent
to these discussionsboth methodologi- history?If so, pastoraltranshumancein
cally and theoretically.From a theoreti- the prehistoric record may also have
cal perspective,it is essentialto drawon been attachedto the evolvingcomplexity
the considerable progress made by so- of an emergingstate-levelorganization.
cioculturalanthropologistsstudyingpas- In the late l9th century,pastoraltran-
toral nomads over the last two decades. shumance in the Koutsovlachvillages
How do pastoralistssurvivein pluralistic dwindled when Ottoman chifliS7 in
sociopoliticalarenas and in relation to Thessalycame underlocal Greekcontrol
the nation-state and larger, regional (Wace and Thompson 1914:160-168).
structures?For archeologists to tackle Pastoraltranshumantsfound it increas-
such a complicatedproblem as the ori- inglydifficultto gainaccessto largetracts
gins of specialized pastoralismor pas- of winter pasture and thus turned to
toral transhumance, there is also a other occupations.Wars,uprisings,and
necessityto understandthe sociocultural brigandagein the second halfof the l9th
context of historicaland ethnographic century,all directlya cause of the incor-
casesof pastoraltranshumance.Without porationof the Koutsovlachby the Otto-
attention to such linkagesbetween pas- man Empire and later by the Greek
toral production and larger economic nation-state,led to an unstable political
and sociopoliticalstructures,the premise climatefor pastoraltranshumants.
that pastoralismexisted as a specialized Pastoraltranshumanceas a conceptual
form is only informedby speculation. problem cannot be viewed in isolation.
Pastoraltranshumance couldhaveorigi- All pastoral systems have connections
nated at severaldifferentpoints in time. with the outside world and are never
This is often unrecognizedby prehistori- divorced from agriculture (Khazanov
ans,who tend toviewtheoriginsof special- 1984). Pastoraltranshumanceis not even

really a type" of pastoral production; it to resume this activityat a later time or to

is only a mobility" strategy. What makes enter into subsidiary occupations like ut
European pastoral transhumance so in- land brigandage and banditry. While
teresting is the variety of organizational such activities probably maintained the
structures in which this strategy has ex- "stateless, backward"nature of Grevena
isted in histonc and modern times. In throughout the 20th centuIy, it was in
Greece, pastoral transhumance is a mo- fact an effective strategy open to the
bility strategy organized by entire com- Koutsovlach and other transhumant
munities of pastoralists who define populations. Today, pastoral transhu-
themselves ethnically or'by individual mance continues to operate on the mar-
pastoral households living in agropas- gins and periphery, seIving as a vital
toral villages. In the case of the Kout- channel of communication, trade, and
sovlach transhumants, this relationship brokerage between local ethnic groups
to the "outside world" can best be traced and the nation-state. At the same time
through recent historical processes of favorable economic incentives brought
state formation. Throughout the second by Greece's entry into the EEC once
halfof the l9th centuiy and beginning of again opened up a viable niche for pas-
the 20th centuv, Koutsovlach pastoral toral transhumants and allowed urban
transhumance operated on the fringes of Koutsovlach to maintain social transhu-
an emergent nation-state. This history mance in the upland communities.
now serves as the background for Kout- These examples drawn from the con-
sovlach identity within the modern na- temporary and historic socioeconomic
tion-state. This ethnic group continues to context of Grevena pastoral systems serve
assert its identity by reinforcing the social as very useful comparisons for archeol
transhumance between the upland Kout- gists seeking a theoretical framework for
sovlach communities and pluralistic low- explaining the development of pastoral
land communities. transhumance in Mediterranean Europe
Each mobility pattern is itself con- and elsewhere. Pastoral transhumance as
strained by the other components in the a flexible, open-ended strategy integrat-
regional pastoral system and by larger ing upland/lowland communities must
structural entities. A compelling exam- be seen within a broader regional con-
ple is the manner by which empires and text. While it may not be possible to draw
states imposed political control over the analogies between contemporary pas-
ethnic Koutsovlach, thus constraining toral transhumance and what happened
mechanisms of integration between uw in prehistory, one may legitimately posit
land and lowland communities from the a model of pastoral transhumance in
mid-19th- to early 20thwentury period. terms of an organizational strategy that
The Koutsovlach,who occupied a territo- was used by herders. Pastoralistswho had
rial niche between the disintegrating Ot- to organize and schedule movement be-
toman Empire and the emergent tween two different environmental zones
independent Greek nation-state, shifted probably also had to make complex ar-
in and out of pastoral transhumance de- rangements for gaining access to pasture-
pending on the political conditions. lands. Just as the Koutsovlach have been
While it might be effectively argued that able to Zmixand match" settlement and
the Koutsovlach were pariicularly vulner- mobility strategies under various forms of
able in this historical period of political state-level control, prehistoric pastoral
instability, such vulnerability can be seen transhumance would also have afforded
as advantageous to the perpetuation of herders a chance to shift in and out of
their ethnic and political autonomy. The various sociopolitical arenas. Moreover,
Koutsovlach could operate in such a way even when pastoral transhumance was
as to hedge their bets so that both low- favored, there was always the possibility
land and upland communities could that herders could shift into closely re-
selve as refuges. Herders who dropped lated careers like smuggling, raiding, and
out of pastoral transhumance were able trading. Once again, with these ideas in

mind, it may be more useful for archeolo- and other regions where tnnshumance
gists to see any development of pastoral or nomadismis associatedwitha specific
transhumance as not necessarily at- ethnic group.Nevertheless,the objective
tached to a certain evolutionary stage in of this researchproject is first and fore-
prehistory, nor as strategy that originated most to provide the prehistonan with
only at one point in time, but as a series usefulanalogiesand parallelsfrom mod-
of structural arrangements between pas- em historic and ethnographic contexts
toralists and the state. thatcan then be appliedto archeological
intexpretaiionson the origqnsof special-
Conclusons ized pastoralism.
The ethnoarcheological research on Notes
which this report is based has furthered
an understanding of pastoral transhu- Acknowledgm4nts: This research was funded
mance in southern Europe by: (1) a sys- by the Wenner-Gren Foundation during
1988-89, and subsequent summer grants
tematic data collection of contemporary
from Sweet Briar College from 1990 to 1992.
pastoral land use strategies over three The ethnoarcheological data were collected
major upland environmental zones; and under the auspices of the Grevena Archeo-
(2) providing the ethnographic back- logical Project directed by Nancy C. Wilkie. I
ground to describe how and why ethnic- wish to thank Harold A. Koster for our many
ity as associated with pastoral trans- fruitful discussions about Greek pastoralism
humance can be sustained in a modern over the years. The three anonymous review-
nation-state. The observation that the ers and Norman Yoffee, Fotini Tsibiridou,
pastoral sites of summer transhumants and Emanuel Marx provided invaluable sug-
and year-round herders across three up- gestions on earlier drafts. Also, I wish to thank
Karla Faulconer for drafting Figure 1, and
land environmental zones leads to the
Perry A. Tourtellotte for sharing the field-
more theoretical inquiry of how and why work and compiling the data for Table 1.
herders adopted long-distance transhu- 1. I use the term Koutsorluch to identify this
mance as an ecological and economic ethnic group of Aroumani-speaking Greeks.
adaptation. The specific issues of ethnic- Schein (1974) refers to this same ethnic
ity and transhumance as a cultural ideol- group as Aroumani. Campbell (1964) and
ogy begin to emerge only as the social Wace and Thompson ( 1914) refer to them as
and cultural context of local communi- the Koutsovlach. Nandris (1990) identifies
ties vis-a-visthe modern nation-state be- the Aroumani as Vlahs, but prefers to use the
comes apparent. The role that the EEC nonpejorative term of Aromani. Contempo-
funds play in the individual decision- rary Greek folklorists and ethnographers re-
fer to this ethnic group as Koutsovlach (Fotini
making processes of transhumant herd-
Tsibiridou, personal communication, 1991).
ers and village herders is essential for So as to minimize confusion between Greek
understanding the links between local and Western anthropologists, I have decided
upland communities and lowland urban to use the term Koutsorlarh.
centers. In these regional and national 2. Sheep, goats, and beefeattle are herded
contexts, transhumance as a mobility separately. When sheep and goats are herded
strategy also embodies a cultural ideol- together, usually a small number of goats ( 15
ogy of Koutsovlach identity. Data and head) are lead animals for sheep flocks. A
analysis support the hypothesis that pas- herder may own both cattle and sheep, but
toral transhumance is realized through a each species is herded separately.
set of structural relationships between 3. The definition of pastoral transhu-
local communities and regional and na- mance in anthropology and historical litera-
tional contexts. As a consequence, the ture on animal husbandry has led to
considerable confusion. The single most
process by which the modern Greek na- problematic point is that of categorizing pas-
tion-state incorpontes the Koutsovlachs toral transhumance, a mobility strategy based
through economic and political policies on two or more seasonal localities and fixed
can be contrasted to the processes of residences as pastoral nomadism (cf. Ingold
incorporation implemented in Sweden 1987). According to Ingold (1987), pastoral

transhumanceis different from nomadism scapes.Jacqueline Rossignol and LuAnn

becausetranshumanceoccursbetweenfixed Wandsnider, eds. Pp. 6989. New York:
summerand winterresidences,whereas no- Plenum Press.
madicmobilityexhibitsresidentialflexibility Chang, Claudia, and Perry A. Tourtellotte
and a high degree of territorialmobilityover 1993 The Ethnoarchaeological Suxweyof
space and through time. In this regard, I Pastoral Transhumant Sites in the Gre-
follow Ingold's (1987) distinction between vena Prefecture of Greece. Journal of
pastoraltranshumanceand nomadism. Field Archaeology, in press.
4. Klidonasis a termderivedfrom ancient Chapman,John C.
Greekused to describeSt.John the Diviner 1982 bThe Secondary Products Revolu-
(Megas 1963:131). This women's ritual is tion" and the Limitations of the Neo-
used to divine whether a girl will become lithic. Bulletin of the Institute of
engaged. Archaeology 19:107-122.
5. This ritualof eating meat as a form of Cribb, Roger
male solidarityhas been discussed in great 1990 Nomads and Archaeology. Cam-
detail for Cretan shepherds by Herzfeld bridge: Cambridge University Press.
(1985:141).In easternCrete,shepherdswho Digard,J. P.
stealsheep oftenlike to publiclyconsumethe 1981 Techniques des nomades baxtyari
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Greenfield, HaskelJ.
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7. Chiftlikland was redistributedamong 593.
Greeksso that parcelsof winterpasturewere
Halstead, Paul
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European Social Science

in Transition- Assessment and Outlook
Meinolf DIerkes and Bernd Biervert, edItors
Major SubjectInterests:SocZology,
he social sciences in Europeare in a maJorphase of translton, not merelycaused by the social
j - and politlcal challenges emanatlng from the current transformationsIn both Western and
Eastern Europe, but also stemmlng from eplstemological, conceptuaJ and methodological
reorientations.The obJectiveof this book Is to argue that the social sclences have passed througha
period In which fundamentalissues of a sclence of society were consldered solved, and have now
entereda new era of self-reflectionand self-doubt.
The issue Is approachedfromfourdlfferentangles: I) The relationof the soclal sclences to the natural
sciences Is reassessed agalnst the backgroundof recent theoreticalInnovationsIn the latterones. 2)
The major social science dSsclpllnes are analyzed In terms of the present theoretical and
methodological state. 3) Selected thematic flelds dlscussed In the social sclences durlng the last
decade (politicalparticlpation,soclal Inequallty,economic Instablllty)are evaluated in terms of thelr
academic achievement and practicalrelevance. 4) Emergingareas of concentrationfor futuresocial
science research (time, nature and technology,world economy) thelr conceptual basls and funlre
researchpotentIals are outllned and explored.
Ae volume concludes with two contrlbutlonson the role of comparatlveresearchIn the development
of social sclence in Europe,as well as on the generaloutlook forsocial science researchInthe future.
Nov. 1992;640 pp. (tables, flgures,notes, bibllo);0-8133-16294, $64.50; A Campus Verlag Book
Westview Press . 5500 CentralAve. * Boulder,CO80301 * (303) 444-3351 * FAX (303) 449-3356
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