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Ancestors of Worthy Life

Plantation Slavery and Black Heritage at Mount Clare

Presents a rich and contextualized study of the inextricably entangled lives of the enslaved, free blacks, and white landowners.

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Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands

Brett A. Houk

For more than a century researchers have studied Maya ruins, and sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá have shaped our understanding of the Maya. Yet the lowlands of Belize, which were once home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, are treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture.

Using data collected from different sites throughout the Maya lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Brett Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique monuments and discusses methods for mapping and excavating. Considering the sites through the theoretical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and how the ancient cities fell apart over time.

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Ancient Maya Political Dynamics

Antonia E. Foias

Politics dominates the public arena and always has, which is one reason it can provide great insight into the lives of ancient people. Because of the richness and complexity of Maya society, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent decades attempting to reconstruct its political systems.

In Ancient Maya Political Dynamics, Antonia Foias begins by reexamining recent scholarship, placing it within a larger anthropological framework. By taking a cross-cultural approach and bringing in relevant material from other archaeological areas around the world, she breaks new ground and demonstrates how anthropologists worldwide understand and reconstruct ancient political systems.

Foias argues that there is no single Maya political history, but multiple histories, no single Maya state, but multiple polities that need to be understood at the level of the lived experience of individuals. She explores the ways in which the dynamics of political power shaped the lives and landscape of the Maya and how this information can be used to look at other complex societies.

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Ancient Maya Pottery

Classification, Analysis, and Interpretation

Edited by James John Aimers

The ancient Maya produced a broad range of ceramics that has attracted concerted scholarly attention for over a century. Pottery sherds--the most abundant artifacts recovered from sites--reveal much about artistic expression, religious ritual, economic systems, cooking traditions, and cultural exchange in Maya society.

Today, nearly every Maya archaeologist uses the type-variety classificatory framework for studying sherd collections. This impressive volume brings together many of the archaeologists signally involved in the analysis and interpretation of ancient Maya ceramics and represents new findings and state-of-the-art thinking. The result is a book that serves both as a valuable resource for archaeologists involved in pottery classification, analysis, and interpretation and as an illuminating exploration of ancient Mayan culture.

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The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America

Bending and Breaking the Rules

Paul Valentine

"Foremost scholars of indigenous Amazonia explore the vast and interesting gap between rules and practice, demonstrating how sociocultural systems endure and even prosper due to the flexibility, creativity, and resilience of the people within them."--Jeremy M. Campbell, author of Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon "A landmark volume and a major contribution to the study of kinship and marriage in Amazonian societies, an area of the world that has been pivotal to our understanding of the biocultural dimensions of cousin marriage and polygamy."--Nancy E. Levine, author of The Dynamics of Polyandry: Kinship, Domesticity, and Population on the Tibetan Border

This volume reveals that individuals in Amazonian cultures often disregard or reinterpret the marriage rules of their societies--rules that anthropologists previously thought reflected practice. It is the first book to consider not just what the rules are but how people in these societies negotiate, manipulate, and break them in choosing whom to marry.

Using ethnographic case studies that draw on previously unpublished material from well-known indigenous cultures, The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America defies the tendency to focus only on the social structure of kinship and marriage that is so common in kinship studies. Instead, the contributors to this volume examine the people that conform to or deviate from that structure and their reasons for doing so. They look not only at deviations in kinship behavior motivated by gender, economics, politics, history, ecology, and sentimentality but also at how globalization and modernization are changing the ancestral norms and values themselves. This is a richly diverse portrayal of agency and individual choice alongside normative kinship and marriage systems in a region that has long been central to anthropological studies of indigenous life.

Paul Valentine is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of East London. Stephen Beckerman is adjunct professor at the University of Utah. Together, Valentine and Beckerman have coedited Revenge in the Cultures of Lowland South America and Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America. Catherine Alès is director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, and is the author of Yanomami, l’ire et le désir.

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Archaeological Perspectives on the French in the New World

Elizabeth M. Scott

"This book has essentially created a new field of study with a surprising range of insights on the ethnicity, class, gender, and foodways of French speakers of European and African descent adapting to life under British, Spanish, or American political regimes."--Gregory A. Waselkov, author of A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814 "Significant and intriguing. Strengthens the view that French colonists and their descendants are an important part of American heritage and that the worlds they created are significant to our understanding of modern life."--John A. Walthall, editor of French Colonial Archaeology: The Illinois Country and the Western Great Lakes

Correcting the notion that French influence in the Americas was confined mostly to Québec and New Orleans, this collection reveals a wide range of vibrant French-speaking communities both during and long after the end of French colonial rule. This volume highlights the complexity of Francophone societies, the persistence of their cultural traditions, and the innovative means they employed to cope with the cultural and environmental demands of living in the New World.

Analyzing artifacts including clay pipes, colonoware, and food remains alongside a rich body of historical records, contributors focus on how French descendants impacted North America, the Caribbean, and South America even after 1763. Taken together, the essays argue that communities do not need to be located in French colonies or contain French artifacts to be considered Francophone, and they show that many Francophone groups were composed of a mix of ethnic French, Métis, Native Americans, and African Americans. The contributors emphasize the important roles that French colonists and their descendants have played in New World histories.

Elizabeth M. Scott, former associate professor of anthropology at Illinois State University, is the editor of Those of Little Note: Gender, Race, and Class in Historical Archaeology.

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Archaeologies of Slavery and Freedom in the Caribbean

Exploring the Spaces in Between

Lynsey A. Bates

"We are reminded that the Caribbean was a more complicated place than we usually imagine."--Kenneth G. Kelly, coeditor of French Colonial Archaeology in the Southeast and Caribbean "These thirteen lucidly written case studies examine diverse communities, histories, and landscapes, demonstrating that the Caribbean offers historical archaeology a great deal more than the study of sugar and slavery."--Theresa A. Singleton, author of Slavery behind the Wall: An Archaeology of a Cuban Coffee Plantation

Caribbean plantations and the forces that shaped them--slavery, sugar, capitalism, and the tropical, sometimes deadly environment--have been studied extensively. This volume brings together alternate stories of sites that fall outside the large cash-crop estates. Employing innovative research tools and integrating data from Dominica, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados, Nevis, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands, the contributors investigate the oft-overlooked interstitial spaces where enslaved Africans sought to maintain their own identities inside and outside the fixed borders of colonialism.

Despite grueling work regimes and social and economic restrictions, people held in bondage carved out places of their own at the margins of slavery's reach. These essays reveal a complex world within and between sprawling plantations--a world of caves, gullies, provision grounds, field houses, fields, and the areas beyond them, where the enslaved networked, interacted, and exchanged goods and information.

The volume also explores the lives of poor whites, Afro-descendant members of military garrisons, and free people of color, demonstrating that binary models of black slaves and white planters do not fully encompass the diversity of Caribbean identities before and after emancipation. Together, the analyses of marginal spaces and postemancipation communities provide a more nuanced understanding of the experiences of those who lived in the historic Caribbean, and who created, nurtured, and ultimately cut the roots of empire.

Lynsey A. Bates is an archaeological analyst for the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). John M. Chenoweth is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. James A. Delle, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Shippensburg University, is the editor of The Limits of Tyranny. A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series

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The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small Scale Economies

Most research into humans' impact on the environment has focused on large-scale societies; a corollary assumption has been that small scale economies are sustainable and in harmony with nature. The contributors to this volume challenge this notion, revealing how such communities shaped their environment--and not always in a positive way.

Offering case studies from around the world--from Brazil to Japan, Denmark to the Rocky Mountains--the chapters empirically demonstrate the substantial transformations of the surrounding landscape made by hunter-gatherer and limited horticultural societies. Summarizing previous research as well as presenting new data, this book shows that the environmental impact and legacy of societies are not always proportional their size.

Understanding that our species leaves a footprint wherever it has been leads to both a better understanding of our prehistoric past and to deeper implications for our future relationship to the world around us.

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Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Edited by Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel, Christina Luke, and Kathryn Walker Tubb

Archaeological artifacts have become a traded commodity in large part because the global reach of Western society allows easy access to the world's archaeological heritage. Acquired by the world's leading museums and private collectors, antiquities have been removed from archaeological sites, monuments, or cultural institutions and illegally traded. This collection of essays by world-recognized experts investigates the ways that com-modifying artifacts fuels the destruction of archaeological heritage and considers what can be done to protect it. Despite growing national and international legislation to protect cultural heritage, increasing numbers of archaeological sites--among them, war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq--are subject to pillage as the monetary value of artifacts rises. Offering comprehensive examinations of archaeological site looting, the antiquities trade, the ruin of cultural heritage resources, and the international efforts to combat their destruction, the authors argue that the antiquities market impacts cultural heritage around the world and is a burgeoning global crisis.

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The Archaeology of Ancestors

Death, Memory, and Veneration

Hill/Hageman

Contributors to this landmark volume demonstrate that ancestor veneration was about much more than claiming property rights: the spirits of the dead were central to domestic disputes, displays of wealth, and power and status relationships. Case studies from China, Africa, Europe, and Mesoamerica use the evidence of art, architecture, ritual, and burial practices to explore the complex roles of ancestors in the past. Including a comprehensive overview of nearly two hundred years of anthropological research, The Archaeology of Ancestors reveals how and why societies remember and revere the dead. Through analyses of human remains, ritual deposits, and historical documents, contributors explain how ancestors were woven into the social fabric of the living.

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