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Ancient Ocean Crossings

Reconsidering the Case for Contacts with the Pre-Columbian Americas

Stephen C. Jett

Ancient Ocean Crossings paints a compelling picture of impressive pre-Columbian cultures and Old World civilizations that, contrary to many prevailing notions, were not isolated from one another, evolving independently, each in its own hemisphere. Instead, they constituted a “global ecumene,” involving a complex pattern of intermittent but numerous and profoundly consequential contacts.

In Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering the Case for Contacts with the Pre-Columbian Americas, Stephen Jett encourages readers to reevaluate the common belief that there was no significant interchange between the chiefdoms and civilizations of Eurasia and Africa and peoples who occupied the alleged terra incognita beyond the great oceans.
 
More than a hundred centuries separate the time that Ice Age hunters are conventionally thought to have crossed a land bridge from Asia into North America and the arrival of Columbus in the Bahamas in 1492. Traditional belief has long held that earth’s two hemispheres were essentially cut off from one another as a result of the post-Pleistocene meltwater-fed rising oceans that covered that bridge. The oceans, along with arctic climates and daunting terrestrial distances, formed impermeable barriers to interhemispheric communication. This viewpoint implies that the cultures of the Old World and those of the Americas developed independently.
 
Drawing on abundant and concrete evidence to support his theory for significant pre-Columbian contacts, Jett suggests that many ancient peoples had both the seafaring capabilities and the motives to cross the oceans and, in fact, did so repeatedly and with great impact. His deep and broad work synthesizes information and ideas from archaeology, geography, linguistics, climatology, oceanography, ethnobotany, genetics, medicine, and the history of navigation and seafaring, making an innovative and persuasive multidisciplinary case for a new understanding of human societies and their diffuse but interconnected development.

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Ancient Ryukyu

An Archaeological Study of Island Communities

Richard Pearson

Who are the people of the Ryukyu Islands? How could they survive and prosper on small, isolated islands? How did the independent Ryukyu Kingdom become a major player in East Asian medieval trade?

Ancient Ryukyu explores 30,000 years of human occupation in the Ryukyu Islands, from the earliest human presence in the region up to A.D. 1609 and the emergence of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It focuses on the unique geopolitical position of the islands, their environment, and the many human communities whose historical activities can be discerned. Drawing on the impressive work of dozens of local archaeologists who have brought the islands’ early history to life, Richard Pearson describes explorers and sojourners and colonists who arrived thousands of years ago, and their ancient trade links to Japan, Korea, and China. Through a case study focused on the medieval castles and palaces of the Ryukyu Kingdom, he demonstrates the vigorous trade taking place in East Asia before the arrival of the Europeans in the sixteenth century A.D. He also shows how archaeologists have sought to reconstruct monuments on Okinawa Island that were obliterated in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

Through analysis of work completed at about 120 sites described in dozens of rare Japanese government reports with limited circulation, Pearson is able to show that many modern features of the culture, politics, and economy of the Ryukyu Islands have very deep roots. The book concludes with a discussion of aspects of Ryukyu archaeology that are significant for world archaeology and the archaeology of islands. Ancient Ryukyu offers an up-to-date treatment of an unusually long span of human history in the Ryukyu Islands and will become the definitive work in English on the pre-modern era.

Richard Pearson is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia.

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Ancient Titicaca

The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia

Charles Stanish

One of the richest and most complex civilizations in ancient America evolved around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru and northern Bolivia. This book is the first comprehensive synthesis of four thousand years of prehistory for the entire Titicaca region. It is a fascinating story of the transition from hunting and gathering to early agriculture, to the formation of the Tiwanaku and Pucara civilizations, and to the double conquest of the region, first by the powerful neighboring Inca in the fifteenth century and a century later by the Spanish Crown. Based on more than fifteen years of field research in Peru and Bolivia, Charles Stanish's book brings together a wide range of ethnographic, historical, and archaeological data, including material that has not yet been published. This landmark work brings the author's intimate knowledge of the ethnography and archaeology in this region to bear on major theoretical concerns in evolutionary anthropology.

Stanish provides a broad comparative framework for evaluating how these complex societies developed. After giving an overview of the region's archaeology and cultural history, he discusses the history of archaeological research in the Titicaca Basin, as well as its geography, ecology, and ethnography. He then synthesizes the data from six archaeological periods in the Titicaca Basin within an evolutionary anthropological framework.

Titicaca Basin prehistory has long been viewed through the lens of first Inca intellectuals and the Spanish state. This book demonstrates that the ancestors of the Aymara people of the Titicaca Basin rivaled the Incas in wealth, sophistication, and cultural genius. The provocative data and interpretations of this book will also make us think anew about the rise and fall of other civilizations throughout history.

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Ancient Wine

The Search for the Origins of Viniculture

Patrick E. McGovern

The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive and up-to-date account of the earliest stages of vinicultural history and prehistory, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine and the vine by drawing upon recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the texts and art of long-forgotten peoples.

Patrick McGovern takes us on a personal odyssey back to the beginnings of this consequential beverage when early hominids probably enjoyed a wild grape wine. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating the Eurasian vine and learning how to make and preserve wine some 7,000 years ago. Early winemakers must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. From success to success, viniculture stretched out its tentacles and entwined itself with one culture after another (whether Egyptian, Iranian, Israelite, or Greek) and laid the foundation for civilization itself. As medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society. As an evocative symbol of blood, it was used in temple ceremonies and occupies the heart of the Eucharist. Kings celebrated their victories with wine and made certain that they had plenty for the afterlife. (Among the colorful examples in the book is McGovern's famous chemical reconstruction of the funerary feast--and mixed beverage--of "King Midas.") Some peoples truly became "wine cultures."

When we sip a glass of wine today, we recapitulate this dynamic history in which a single grape species was harnessed to yield an almost infinite range of tastes and bouquets. Ancient Wine is a book that wine lovers and archaeological sleuths alike will raise their glasses to.

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Andean Entrepreneurs

Otavalo Merchants and Musicians in the Global Arena

By Lynn A. Meisch

Native to a high valley in the Andes of Ecuador, the Otavalos are an indigenous people whose handcrafted textiles and traditional music are now sold in countries around the globe. Known as weavers and merchants since pre-Inca times, Otavalos today live and work in over thirty countries on six continents, while hosting more than 145,000 tourists annually at their Saturday market. In this ethnography of the globalization process, Lynn A. Meisch looks at how participation in the global economy has affected Otavalo identity and culture since the 1970s. Drawing on nearly thirty years of fieldwork, she covers many areas of Otavalo life, including the development of weaving and music as business enterprises, the increase in tourism to Otavalo, the diaspora of Otavalo merchants and musicians around the world, changing social relations at home, the growth of indigenous political power, and current debates within the Otavalo community over preserving cultural identity in the face of globalization and transnational migration. Refuting the belief that contact with the wider world inevitably destroys indigenous societies, Meisch demonstrates that Otavalos are preserving many features of their culture while adopting and adapting modern technologies and practices they find useful.

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Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs - The Trilogy

Gina Marchetti

In this book, Gina Marchetti explores the way this example of Hong Kong's cinematic eclecticism has crossed borders as a story, a commercial product and a work of art; and has had an undeniable impact on current Hong Kong cinema.

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Animals as Domesticates

A World View through History

Juliet Clutton-Brock

Drawing on the latest research in archaeozoology, archaeology, and molecular biology, Animals as Domesticates traces the history of the domestication of animals around the world. From the llamas of South America and the turkeys of North America, to the cattle of India and the Australian dingo, this fascinating book explores the history of the complex relationships between humans and their domestic animals. With expert insight into the biological and cultural processes of domestication, Clutton-Brock suggests how the human instinct for nurturing may have transformed relationships between predator and prey, and she explains how animals have become companions, livestock, and laborers. The changing face of domestication is traced from the spread of the earliest livestock around the Neolithic Old World through ancient Egypt, the Greek and Roman empires, South East Asia, and up to the modern industrial age.

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Animals as Neighbors

The Past and Present of Commensal Animals

Terry O'Connor

In this fascinating book, Terry O’Connor explores a distinction that is deeply ingrained in much of the language that we use in zoology, human-animal studies, and archaeology—the difference between wild and domestic. For thousands of years, humans have categorized animals in simple terms, often according to the degree of control that we have over them, and have tended to see the long story of human-animal relations as one of increasing control and management for human benefit. And yet, around the world, species have adapted to our homes, our towns, and our artificial landscapes, finding ways to gain benefit from our activities and so becoming an important part of our everyday lives. These commensal animals remind us that other species are not passive elements in the world around us but intelligent and adaptable creatures. Animals as Neighbors shows how a blend of adaptation and opportunism has enabled many species to benefit from our often destructive footprint on the world. O’Connor investigates the history of this relationship, working back through archaeological records. By requiring us to take a multifaceted view of human-animal relations, commensal animals encourage a more nuanced understanding of those relations, both today and throughout the prehistory of our species.

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Ann Hui’s Song of the Exile

Audrey Yue

The resolutely independent filmmaker Ann On-wah Hui continues to inspire critical acclaim for her sensitive portrayals of numerous Hong Kong tragedies and marginalized populations. In a pioneering career spanning three decades, Hui has been director, producer, writer and actress for more than 30 films. In this work, Audrey Yue analyses a 1990 film considered by many to be one of Hui’s most haunting and poignant works, Song of the Exile. The semi-autobiographical film depicts a daughter’s coming to terms with her mother’s Japanese identity. Themes of cross-cultural alienation, divided loyalties and generational reconciliation resonate strongly amid the migration and displacement pressures surrounding Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Even now, more than a decade after the 1997 Handover, the film is a perennial favourite among returning Hong Kong emigrants and international cinema students. This book examines how Hui challenges the myth of the original home as singular, familial and romantic, and constructs the second home as a new space for Hong Kong modernity. Yue also discusses the teaching of the film in the diaspora, demonstrating its potential as an affective and performative text of transcultural literacy and diasporic negotiations in the cross-cultural classroom.

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Annihilating Difference

The Anthropology of Genocide

Alexander Laban Hinton

Genocide is one of the most pressing issues that confronts us today. Its death toll is staggering: over one hundred million dead. Because of their intimate experience in the communities where genocide takes place, anthropologists are uniquely positioned to explain how and why this mass annihilation occurs and the types of devastation genocide causes. This ground breaking book, the first collection of original essays on genocide to be published in anthropology, explores a wide range of cases, including Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Bosnia.

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