International conference organized by the French national institute for preventive archaeological research and the Quai Branly Museum 

January18th and19th 2011 

Last modified
20 January 2017

How anthropologists addresses the past of the "tribal” societies they study? How do these societies represent their history and how can archaeology serve to expand it? What does archaeology bring to our understanding of these "timeless" societies? What historical and archaeological perspectives should we assign to these societies? In return, can the anthropology and archaeology of non-European societies provide new perspectives for "Western” archaeologists to follow? 

By bringing together archaeologists and anthropologists working on non-Western cultures, this conference intends to provide an overview of recent advances in research focusing on non-Western prehistory. General summaries and case studies will help us take stock of the diversity of the fields and the geographical areas treated during the conference. 

Claude Lévi-Strauss Theatre 
Free entrance


Anne-Christine Taylor, musée du quai Branly 
Paul Salmona et Nathan Schlanger, Inrap 

Partnership : Le Monde, Sciences et Avenir, Le Journal des Arts et France Culture

Tuesday January 18th



Stéphane Martin, Quai Branly Museum 
Jean-Paul Jacob, Inrap 

Archaeology and social anthropology

In English-speaking countries archaeology is considered to be a field of anthropology while in France the discipline is associated with history and the history of art. This contrast provides us with an additional source of analysis and interpretation in our endeavour to apprehend "Other Prehistories”. 
Chaired by Anne-Christine Taylor, Quai Branly Museum 

10 00 
The Prehistory of the Others: from deny to challenge 
Alain Testart, cnrs, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale 

Only Apes have our so-called Human Nature 
Marshall Sahlins, The University of Chicago 

Kernels of imagination and symbolic dimensions of human relationships 
Maurice Godelier, ehess 
Lascaux or the birth of "non occidental” art 
Margaret Conkey, University of California Berkeley 

12 00 
Ceramic traditions and social identity in Africa: a different history or straight History? 
Olivier Gosselain, Centre d’anthropologie culturelle , Université libre de Bruxelles 


Societies in their natural environment

Providing meat and raw materials for hunter-gatherers, the natural environment gives populations certain stability. With the domestication of plants and animals, accompanied by sedentarization and urbanization, the exploitation of the environment increases–as do the risks and the upheavals. 
Chaired by Danièle Lavallée, cnrs 

A long-term perspective on the co-evolution of humans and their natural environment” 
Sander Van der Leuuw, Arizona State University, Tempe 

What part did agricuture really play in the social and political structure of early Amazonia ? 
Eduardo Góes Neves, Universidade de São Paulo 

Little Foot at Sterkfontein (South Africa): geoarcheology of a "hunted hunter” 
Laurent Bruxelles, Inrap, umr 5608 

The Early ceramic complexes of Saint-Louis on the Lower Maroni River, French Guiana 
Martijn Van den Bel, Inrap 

The use of shells among pre-Columbian societies of the Lesser Antilles: elements of the technical, social and cultural systems 
Nathalie Serrand, Inrap,  umr 7209 

The a-temporal figure of the "steppe nomad” in inner Asia 
Carole Ferret, cnrs, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale 


Wednesday January19th

Societies and their objects

Traditionally considered to be a simple marker of time or an indication of "progress”, material culture has in the last thirty years been given a central place in both anthropological and archaeological disciplines. Through the study of "operational sequences”, material culture provides us with an insight into the technological, economic and social aspects of the past. 
Chaired by Pascal Depaepe, Inrap 

Pincevent between archeology and anthropology 
Claudine Karlin, cnrs, umr 7041 

Soft hammer percussion in the East African Acheulean industries 
Sophie Clément, Inrap, umr 7055 

Lithic experimentation in Blombos Cave (South Africa) and operational sequences 
Vincent Mourre, Inrap, Laboratoire traces, umr 5608 

Understanding the megaliths of Senegambia: genealogy of the explanatory models 
Augustin Holl, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago 

The cultural unification of the Nile Valley during the 4th millennium 
Nathalie Buchez, Inrap, Laboratoire traces, umr 5608 

To access the past of a region : The material culture of Neolithic and Protohistoric sites in dunes context in Senegal 
Sandrine Deschamps, Inrap, umr 7041 

The ideal and the material

With their funerary practices and feasts, as well as their agricultural techniques and architecture, human groups integrate their symbolic activities into their everyday lives. Power, cohesion, difference, identity... a multitude of abstract qualities and conditions are expressed in the material and ideal dimensions of societies past and present. 
Chaired by Maurice Godelier, ehess 

Objects for thinking what cannot be said. Converging theories of material culture studies 
Pierre Lemonnier, Credo, université de Provence 

Hamlets shared by the living and the dead:  funerary practices of the first sedentary societies in the Middle East 
Fanny Bocquentin, cnrs, umr 7041 

Material culture and symbol-objects : the question of nomadism in the steppes at the beginning of the 1st millennium 
Guilhem André, musée Guimet and Hélène Martin, Inrap 

Funerary rites among the Chachapoyas of the Peruvian Andes 
Sonia Guillén, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima 

A marine sanctuary in Neolithic Arabia 
Vincent Charpentier, Inrap and Sophie Méry, cnrs 

Decorated ignams among the Abelams of Papua New Guinea. The Operational sequence of a "total social object” 
Ludovic Coupaye, University College London 

Michaël Rowlands, University College London