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A  Holocene Prehistoric Sequence in the Egyptian Red Sea Area: The Tree Shelter Cover

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A  Holocene Prehistoric Sequence in the Egyptian Red Sea Area: The Tree Shelter

Pierre M. Vermeersch (ed.)

The prehistory of the Eastern Desert of Egypt is not well understood. A Holocene Prehistoric Sequence in the Egyptian Red Sea Area: The Tree Shelter is an important contribution to our knowledge of the Epi-Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Predynastic occupation of the area. It presents the results of an excavation of a small rock shelter near Quseir, Egypt, which is one of the rare stratified sites in the Eastern Egyptian desert. The stratigraphic sequence starts around 8000 bp and continues until about 5000 bp. The archaeological material attests clear connections with the Nile Valley and the Western Desert during the wet Holocene period. Topics covered in the book include the site’s lithics and ceramics, microwear analysis of the lithic artefacts, and the woody vegetation of the Neolithic period.

The Aborigines of Puerto Rico and Neighboring Islands Cover

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The Aborigines of Puerto Rico and Neighboring Islands

A valuable recounting of the first formal archaeological excavations in Puerto Rico.

Originally published as the Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1907, this book was praised in an article in American Anthropologist as doing "more than any other to give a comprehensive idea of the archaeology of the West Indies."

Until that time, for mainly political reasons, little scientific research had been conducted by Americans on any of the Caribbean islands. Dr. Fewkes' unique skills of observation and experience served him well in the quest to understand Caribbean prehistory and culture. This volume, the result of his careful fieldwork in Puerto Rico in 1902-04, is magnificently illustrated by 93 plates and 43 line drawings of specimens from both public and private collections of the islands.

A 1907 article in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland described the volume as "a most valuable contribution to ethnographical science."


 

Acorns and Bitter Roots Cover

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Acorns and Bitter Roots

Starch Grain Research in the Prehistoric Eastern Woodlands

Written by Timothy C. Messner

People regularly use plants for a wide range of utilitarian, spiritual, pharmacological, and dietary purposes throughout the world. Scholarly understanding of the nature of these uses in prehistory is particularly limited by the poor preservation of plant resources in the archaeological record. In the last two decades, researchers in the South Pacific and in Central and South America have developed microscopic starch grain analysis, a technique for overcoming the limitations of poorly preserved plant material.
 
In Acorns and Bitter Roots, Timothy C. Messner establishes starch grain analysis in the temperate climates of eastern North America using the Delaware River Watershed as a case study for furthering scholarly understanding of the relationship between native people and their biophysical environment in the Woodland Period. Messner’s analysis is based on extensive reviews of the literature on early historic and prehistoric native plant use and the collation of all available archaeobotanical data, a review of which also guided the author in selecting contemporary botanical specimens to identify and in interpreting starch residues recovered from ancient plant-processing technologies. The evidence presented here sheds light on many local ecological and cultural developments as ancient people shifted their subsistence focus from estuarine to riverine settings. These archaeobotanical datasets, Messner argues, illuminate both the conscious and unintentional translocal movement of ideas and ecologies throughout the Eastern Woodlands.

The Acquisition and Exhibition of Classical Antiquities Cover

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The Acquisition and Exhibition of Classical Antiquities

Professional, Legal, and Ethical Perspectives

Edited by Robin F. Rhodes

Cultural property and its stewardship have long been concerns of museums, archaeologists, art historians, and nations, but recently the legal and political consequences of collecting antiquities have also attracted broad media attention. This has been the result, in part, of several high-profile trials, as well as demands by various governments for the return of antiquities to their countries of origin. These circumstances call out for public discussion that moves beyond the rather clear-cut moral response to looting, to consider the implications of buying, selling, and exhibiting antiquities. To whom should they belong? What constitutes legal ownership of antiquities? What laws govern their importation into the United States, for instance? What circumstances, if any, demand the return of those antiquities to their countries of origin? Is there a consensus among archaeologists and museum directors about these issues? These and other pertinent issues are addressed in the essays and responses collected in this volume. Delivered at a 2007 symposium by eminent museum directors and curators, legal scholars, archaeologists, and historians and practitioners of art and architecture, these papers comprise a rich and nuanced reference work.

Across a Great Divide Cover

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Across a Great Divide

Edited by Laura L. Scheiber, Mark D. Mitchell, and K. G. Tregonning

Archaeological research is uniquely positioned to show how native history and native culture affected the course of colonial interaction, but to do so it must transcend colonialist ideas about Native American technological and social change. This book applies that insight to five hundred years of native history. Using data from a wide variety of geographical, temporal, and cultural settings, the contributors examine economic, social, and political stability and transformation in indigenous societies before and after the advent of Europeans and document the diversity of native colonial experiences. The book’s case studies range widely, from sixteenth-century Florida, to the Great Plains, to nineteenth-century coastal Alaska.

The contributors address a series of interlocking themes. Several consider the role of indigenous agency in the processes of colonial interaction, paying particular attention to gender and status. Others examine the ways long-standing native political economies affected, and were in turn affected by, colonial interaction. A third group explores colonial-period ethnogenesis, emphasizing the emergence of new native social identities and relations after 1500. The book also highlights tensions between the detailed study of local cases and the search for global processes, a recurrent theme in postcolonial research.

If archaeologists are to bridge the artificial divide separating history from prehistory, they must overturn a whole range of colonial ideas about American Indians and their history. This book shows that empirical archaeological research can help replace long-standing models of indigenous culture change rooted in colonialist narratives with more nuanced, multilinear models of change—and play a major role in decolonizing knowledge about native peoples.

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Adela Breton

A Victorian Artist Amid Mexico's Ruins

Mary F. McVicker

Mary McVicker writes of Adela Breton, her independence from the strictures of Victorian life, her career as a pioneering artist-archaeologist, and the enduring significance of her work.

After Collapse Cover

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After Collapse

The Regeneration of Complex Societies

Glenn M. Schwartz

From the Euphrates Valley to the southern Peruvian Andes, early complex societies have risen and fallen, but in some cases they have also been reborn. Prior archaeological investigation of these societies has focused primarily on emergence and collapse. This is the first book-length work to examine the question of how and why early complex urban societies have reappeared after periods of decentralization and collapse. Ranging widely across the Near East, the Aegean, East Asia, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, these cross-cultural studies expand our understanding of social evolution by examining how societies were transformed during the period of radical change now termed “collapse.” They seek to discover how societal complexity reemerged, how second-generation states formed, and how these re-emergent states resembled or differed from the complex societies that preceded them. The contributors draw on material culture as well as textual and ethnohistoric data to consider such factors as preexistent institutions, structures, and ideologies that are influential in regeneration; economic and political resilience; the role of social mobility, marginal groups, and peripheries; and ethnic change. In addition to presenting a number of theoretical viewpoints, the contributors also propose reasons why regeneration sometimes does not occur after collapse. A concluding contribution by Norman Yoffee provides a critical exegesis of “collapse” and highlights important patterns found in the case histories related to peripheral regions and secondary elites, and to the ideology of statecraft. After Collapse blazes new research trails in both archaeology and the study of social change, demonstrating that the archaeological record often offers more clues to the “dark ages” that precede regeneration than do text-based studies. It opens up a new window on the past by shifting the focus away from the rise and fall of ancient civilizations to their often more telling fall and rise.

CONTRIBUTORS
Bennet Bronson, Arlen F. Chase, Diane Z. Chase, Christina A. Conlee, Lisa Cooper, Timothy S. Hare, Alan L. Kolata, Marilyn A. Masson, Gordon F. McEwan, Ellen Morris, Ian Morris, Carlos Peraza Lope, Kenny Sims, Miriam T. Stark, Jill A. Weber, Norman Yoffee

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Agency in Ancient Writing

Edited by Joshua Englehardt

Individual agents are frequently evident in early writing and notational systems, yet these systems have rarely been subjected to the concept of agency as it is traceable in archeology. Agency in Ancient Writing addresses this oversight, allowing archeologists to identify and discuss real, observable actors and actions in the archaeological record.

Embracing myriad ways in which agency can be interpreted, ancient writing systems from Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, China, and Greece are examined from a textual perspective as both archaeological objects and nascent historical documents. This allows for distinction among intentions, consequences, meanings, and motivations, increasing understanding and aiding interpretation of the subjectivity of social actors. Chapters focusing on acts of writing and public recitation overlap with those addressing the materiality of texts, interweaving archaeology, epigraphy, and the study of visual symbol systems.

Agency in Ancient Writing leads to a more thorough and meaningful discussion of agency as an archaeological concept and will be of interest to anyone interested in ancient texts, including archaeologists, historians, linguists, epigraphers, and art historians, as well as scholars studying agency and structuration theory.

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Aksum and Nubia

Warfare, Commerce, and Political Fictions in Ancient Northeast Africa

George Hatke

Aksum and Nubia assembles and analyzes the textual and archaeological evidence of interaction between Nubia and the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum, focusing primarily on the fourth century CE. Although ancient Nubia and Ethiopia have been the subject of a growing number of studies in recent years, little attention has been given to contact between these two regions. Hatke argues that ancient Northeast Africa cannot be treated as a unified area politically, economically, or culturally. Rather, Nubia and Ethiopia developed within very different regional spheres of interaction, as a result of which the Nubian kingdom of Kush came to focus its energies on the Nile Valley, relying on this as its main route of contact with the outside world, while Aksum was oriented towards the Red Sea and Arabia. In this way Aksum and Kush coexisted in peace for most of their history, and such contact as they maintained with each other was limited to small-scale commerce. Only in the fourth century CE did Aksum take up arms against Kush, and even then the conflict seems to have been related mainly to security issues on Aksum’s western frontier.
 
Although Aksum never managed to hold onto Kush for long, much less dealt the final death-blow to the Nubian kingdom, as is often believed, claims to Kush continued to play a role in Aksumite royal ideology as late as the sixth century. Aksum and Nubia critically examines the extent to which relations between two ancient African states were influenced by warfare, commerce, and political fictions.

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Alabama and the Borderlands

From Prehistory To Statehood

Edited by Reid Badger and Lawrence A. Clayton, with contributions from Marvin T.

Born of a concern with Alabama's past and the need to explore and explain that legacy, this book brings together the nation's leading scholars on the prehistory and early history of Alabama and the southeastern U.S. Covering topics ranging from the Mississippian Period in archaeology and the de Soto expedition (and other early European explorations and settlements of Alabama) to the 1780 Siege of Mobile, this is a comprehensive and readable collection of scholarship on early Alabama.

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