Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



American Indian Culture and Research Journal (1993) 17(1): 279-283.


Copyright 1993, UCLA American Indian Studies Center. Used by permission.



Following a brief review of the "environmentalist's" (e. g., Ratzel, de Candolle, Childe, Braidwood, and Flannery) and the "materialist's" (e. g., Marx, Vavilov, D. Harris, Binford, and Cohen) accounts, MacNeish presents his "trilinear theory." It consists of "three hypothetical models and three hypotheticaI sets of causes" for the development of plant domestication and sedentism. This "trilinear theory" is a world culture history similar to the multilinear developmental frameworks proposed "by Julian Steward (The Theory of Culture Chtange: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution, 1955). MacNeish's multilinear scheme is cross-cut by three developmental stages, i. e., food collectors, transitional foragers, and food producers, and incorporates culture histories associated with both centers and noncenters of domestication. He arrays numerous archaeological sequences along primary, secondary, and tertiary courses from hunting-collecting bands to agricultural villagers. These three developmental lines, in turn, involve ten developmental systems (e.g., [A] hunting-collecting bands, [B] destitute foraging bands; ... [E] agricultural villagers) and seventeen developmental routes. MacNeish also presents mutually exclusive sets of necessary (requisite) and sufficient (causal) conditions for each of the three developmental courses toward village agricultural life.