"This book, a true milestone in the archaeology of the Greater Antilles, presents a bold new synthesis and interpretation of El Chorro de Ma ta, a native Cuban Indian town caught up in the political and economic domination of the early colonial world."--Vernon James Knight Jr., author of Iconographic Method in New World Prehistory"Provides a deeper and well-documented understanding of the role of the aboriginal 'Indo-Cubans' in an early colonial context that stimulated the development of a Cuban national identity."--Jos R. Oliver, author of Caciques and Cem Idols During Spanish colonization of the Greater Antilles, the islands' natives were forced into labor under the encomienda system. The indigenous people became "Indios," their language, appearance, and identity transformed by the domination imposed by a foreign model that Christianized and "civilized" them. Yet El Chorro de Ma ta retained many of its indigenous characteristics. In this volume--one of the first in English to examine and document an archaeological site in Cuba--Roberto Valc rcel Rojas analyzes the construction of colonial authority and the various attitudes and responses of natives and other ethnic groups. His pioneering study reveals the process of transculturation in which new individuals emerged--Indians, mestizos, criollos--and helps construct the vital link between the pre-Columbian world and the development of an integrated and new history.
The first people in the New World were few, their encampments fleeting. On a side of the planet no human had ever seen, different groups arrived from different directions, and not all at the same time. The land they reached was fully inhabited by megafauna--mastodons, giant bears, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, enormous bison, and sloths that stood one story tall. These Ice Age explorers, hunters, and families were wildly outnumbered and many would themselves have been prey to the much larger animals.In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs blends science and personal narrative to upend our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and ultimately thrived is a story that resonates from the Pleistocene to our modern era, and reveals how much has changed since the time of mammoth hunters, and how little. Through it, readers will see the Ice Age, and their own age, in a whole new light.
The Nasca Lines are one of the world's great enigmas. Who etched the more than 1,000 animal, human, and geometric figures that cover 400 square miles of barren pampa in southern Peru? How did the makers create lifelike images of monkeys, birds, and spiders without an aerial vantage point from which to view these giant figures that stretch across thousands of square yards? Most puzzling of all, why did the ancient Nasca lay out these lines and images in the desert? These are the questions that pioneering archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni seeks to answer in this book. Writing for a wide public audience, Aveni begins by establishing the Nasca Lines as a true wonder of the ancient world. He describes how viewers across the centuries have tried to interpret the lines and debunks the wilder theories. Then he vividly recounts his own years of exploration at Nasca in collaboration with other investigators and the discoveries that have answered many of the riddles about who made the Nasca Lines, when, and for what purposes. This fascinating overview of what the leading expert and his colleagues currently understand about the lines is required reading for everyone intrigued by ancient mysteries.
This volume offers a novel interdisciplinary approach to researching population history in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In studies that combine bioarchaeology, ethnohistory, mortuary archaeology, and dental morphology, contributors demonstrate the challenges and rewards of such integrative work when applied to large regional questions. Bioarchaeology of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica is the result of fieldwork in Honduras, Belize, and a variety of sites in Mexico and addresses two major issues: migration and mobility, and ethnicity and social identity. The former is considered in essays examining biological distances to confirm accounts of migration patterns in the Valley of Mexico, testing hypotheses about mobility in the Classic Maya city of Yaxun through strontium and isotope analysis, and examining mortuary patterns and practices among several Maya sites. The latter is studied by incorporating dental health data and burial rituals to investigate the social status of sacrificial victims during the Late Classic period. Ethnohistorical sources are combined in an examination of ancient Maya understandings of belonging and otherness, and skeletal remains are analyzed to explore the immigrant makeup of the multiethnic city of Copan. Revealing how complementary fields of study can together create a better understanding of the complex forces that impact population movements, this volume provides an inspiring picture of the exciting collaborative work currently under way among researchers in the region. Contributors: Frances F. Berdan - Jack Biggs - Andrea Cucina - Heather J. H. Edgar - Sandra Ver nica Elizalde Rodarte - Charles Golden - Stephen Houston - Amy R. Michael - Allan Ortega Mu oz - T. Douglas Price - Corey S. Ragsdale - Andrew K. Scherer - Travis W. Stanton - Shintaro Suzuki - Vera Tiesler - Cathy Willermet - Gabriel D. Wrobel A volume in the series Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives, edited by Clark Spencer Larsen
The history of the Aztecs has been haunted by the spectre of human sacrifice. Reinvesting the Aztecs with a humanity frequently denied to them, and exploring their spectacular religious violence as a comprehensible element of life, this book integrates a fresh interpretation of gender with an innovative study of the everyday life of the Aztecs.
This revolutionary archeological synthesis argues an alternative model of the earliest human population of North America. E. James Dixon dispels the stereotype of big-game hunters following mammoths across the Bering Land Bridge and paints a vivid picture of marine mammal hunters, fishers, and general foragers colonizing the New World. Applying contemporary scientific methods and drawing on new archeological discoveries, he advances evidence indicating that humans first reached the Americas using water craft along the deglaciated Northwest Coast about 13,500 years ago, some 2,000 years before the first Clovis hunters. Dixon's rigorous evaluation of the oldest North American archeological sites and human remains offers well-reasoned hypotheses about the physical characteristics, lives, and relationships of the First Americans. His crisply written analysis of scientific exploration is essential reading for scholars, students, and general readers.
About one thousand years ago, Native Americans built hundreds of earthen platform mounds, plazas, residential areas, and other types of monuments in the vicinity of present-day St. Louis. This sprawling complex, known to archaeologists as Cahokia, was the dominant cultural, ceremonial, and trade center north of Mexico for centuries. This stimulating collection of essays casts new light on the remarkable accomplishments of Cahokia. Timothy R. Pauketat, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is the author of The Ascent of Chiefs: Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America. Thomas E. Emerson is director of the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is coeditor of Late Woodland Societies: Tradition and Transformation across the Midcontinent.
In this first comprehensive analysis of several recently uncovered sites in the American Bottom region, Mehrer focuses on household archaeology to shed light on the daily lives of the Mississippian people. He examines the objects of daily use--domestic and ceremonial buildings, storage and processing pits, mundane and exotic artifacts--to reconstruct the framework of everyday life and to show how the routines of early native people changed with time. New findings reveal the changing roles of households in their communities, exposing a social order more complex than previously thought.Mehrer examines seven sites in the American Bottom region--the Robert Schneider, BBB Motor, Turner-DeManger, Florence Street, Julien, Range, and Carbon Dioxide sites--and integrates his findings with new information from the large Cahokia mound center. Analyzing patterns of debris distribution, pit morphology and arrangement, and household organization, he reveals much about the social and cultural developments in the region. While illuminating the daily lives of Cahokians, Mehrer develops an analytical approach to archaeological site data that can be applied in other parts of the world. The Cahokia region is of special interest because the Cahokia site is the largest mound center in North America and because the Mississippian society there rose and fell long before Europeans arrived. Although archaeologists have previously focused on Cahokia's elite population, until now little has been known about its rural residents.
Prehistoric farmers in Mexico invented irrigation, developed it into a science, and used it widely. Indeed, many of the canal systems still in use in Mexico today were originally begun well before the discovery of the New World. In this comprehensive study, William E. Doolittle synthesizes and extensively analyzes all that is currently known about the development and use of irrigation technology in prehistoric Mexico from about 1200 B.C. until the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century A.D. Unlike authors of previous studies who have focused on the political, economic, and social implications of irrigation, Doolittle considers it in a developmental context. He examines virtually all the known systems, from small canals that diverted runoff from ephemeral mountain streams to elaborate networks that involved numerous large canals to irrigate broad valley floors with water from perennial rivers. Throughout the discussion, he gives special emphasis to the technological elaborations that distinguish each system from its predecessors. He also traces the spread of canal technology into and through different ecological settings. This research substantially clarifies the relationship between irrigation technology in Mexico and the American Southwest and argues persuasively that much of the technology that has been attributed to the Spaniards was actually developed in Mexico by indigenous people. These findings will be important not only for archaeologists working in this area but also for geographers, historians, and engineers interested in agriculture, technology, and arid lands.