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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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Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism

An Archive

Hala Halim

Interrogating how Alexandria became enshrined as the exemplary cosmopolitan space in the Middle East, this book mounts a radical critique of Eurocentric conceptions of cosmopolitanism. The dominant account of Alexandrian cosmopolitanism elevates things European in the city's culture and simultaneously places things Egyptian under the sign of decline. The book goes beyond this civilization/barbarism binary to trace other modes of intercultural solidarity. Halim presents a comparative study of literary representations, addressing poetry, fiction, guidebooks, and operettas, among other genres. She reappraises three writers--C. P. Cavafy, E. M. Forster, and Lawrence Durrell-- whom she maintains have been cast as the canon of Alexandria. Attending to issues of genre, gender, ethnicity, and class, she refutes the view that these writers' representations are largely congruent and uncovers a variety of positions ranging from Orientalist to anti-colonial. The book then turns to Bernard de Zogheb, a virtually unpublished writer, and elicits his Camp parodies of elite Levantine mores in operettas one of which centers on Cavafy. Drawing on Arabic critical and historical texts, as well as contemporary writers' and filmmakers' engagement with the canonical triumvirate, Halim orchestrates an Egyptian dialogue with the European representations.

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Alliance and Landscape on Perry Mesa in the Fourteenth Century

About forty miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, Perry Mesa is today part of Agua Fria National Monument, but during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, this windswept arid landscape became the site of numerous farming communities. This book explores why people moved to Perry Mesa at that time. Analyses of Perry Mesa contrast with those of the iconic large-scale migrations in the prehistoric Southwest such as the Kayenta diaspora and the gathering of the clans at Hopi. Unlike those long-distance movements into occupied regions, the Perry Mesa case is one of relatively localized aggregation on a largely vacant landscape. But, as was discovered with the iconic migrations, ethnogenesis (the creation of new identities) took hold on Perry Mesa, making it an extremely interesting counterpoint to the better-known migrations of the period.
     Contributors to this volume examine the migration process under two explanatory frameworks: alliance and landscape. These frameworks are used to explore competing hypotheses, positing either a rapid colonization associated with an alliance organized for warfare at a regional scale, or a more protracted migration as this landscape became comparatively more attractive for migrating farmers in the late thirteenth century.
     As the first major publication on the archaeology of Perry Mesa, this volume contributes to theoretical perspectives on migration and ethnogenesis, the study of warfare in the prehistoric Southwest, the study of intensive agricultural practices in a marginal environment, and the cultural history of a little studied and largely unknown portion of the ancient Southwest. It not only documents the migration but also the ensuing birth of a new ethnic identity that arose from the coalescence of diverse groups atop Perry Mesa.

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Alternative Leadership Strategies in the Prehispanic Southwest

In considerations of societal change, the application of classic evolutionary schemes to prehistoric southwestern peoples has always been problematic for scholars. Because recent theoretical developments point toward more variation in the scale, hierarchy, and degree of centralization of complex societies, this book takes a fresh look at southwestern prehistory with these new ideas in mind.

This is the first book-length work to apply new theories of social organization and leadership strategies to the prehispanic Southwest. It examines leadership strategies in a number of archaeological contexts—from Chaco Canyon to Casas Grandes, from Hohokam to Zuni—to show striking differences in the way that leadership was constructed across the region.

These case studies provide ample evidence for alternative models of leadership in middle-range societies. By illustrating complementary approaches in the study of political organization, they offer new insight into power and inequality. They also provide important models of how today's archaeologists are linking data to theory, providing a basis for comparative analysis with other regions.

CONTENTS
Alternative Models, Alternative Strategies: Leadership in the Prehispanic Southwest / Barbara J. Mills
Political Leadership and the Construction of Chacoan Great Houses, A.D. 1020-1140 / W. H. Wills
Leadership, Long-Distance Exchange, and Feasting in the Protohistoric Rio Grande / William M. Graves and Katherine A. Spielmann
Ritual as a Power Resource in the American Southwest / James M. Potter and Elizabeth M. Perry
Ceramic Decoration as Power: Late Prehistoric Design Change in East-Central Arizona / Scott Van Keuren
Leadership Strategies in Protohistoric Zuni Towns / Keith W. Kintigh
Organizational Variability in Platform Mound-Building Groups of the American Southwest / Mark D. Elson and David R. Abbott
Leadership Strategies among the Classic Period Hohokam: A Case Study / Karen G. Harry and James M. Bayman
The Institutional Contexts of Hohokam Complexity and Inequality / Suzanne K. Fish and Paul R. Fish
Leadership at Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico / Michael E. Whalen and Paul E. Minnis
Reciprocity and Its Limits: Considerations for a Study of the Prehispanic Pueblo World / Timothy A. Kohler, Matthew W. Van Pelt, and Lorene Y. L. Yap
Dual-Processual Theory and Social Formations in the Southwest / Gary M. Feinman

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American Antiquities

Revisiting the Origins of American Archaeology

Terry A. Barnhart

Writing the history of American archaeology, especially concerning eighteenth and nineteenth-century arguments, is not always as straightforward or simple as it might seem.  Archaeology’s trajectory from an avocation, to a semi-profession, to a specialized, self-conscious profession was anything but a linear progression. The development of American archaeology was an organic and untidy process, which emerged from the intellectual tradition of antiquarianism and closely allied itself with the natural sciences throughout the nineteenth century—especially geology and the debate about the origins and identity of indigenous mound-building cultures of the eastern United States.

 

Terry A. Barnhart examines how American archaeology developed within an eclectic set of interests and equally varied settings.  He argues that fundamental problems are deeply embedded in secondary literature relating to the nineteenth-century debate about “Mound Builders” and “American Indians.”  Some issues are perceptual, others contextual, and still others basic errors of fact.  Adding to the problem are semantic and contextual considerations arising from the accommodating, indiscriminate, and problematic use of the term “race” as a synonym for tribe, nation, and race proper—a concept and construct that does not, in all instances, translate into current understandings and usages.  American Antiquities uses this early discourse on the mounds to frame perennial anthropological problems relating to human origins and antiquity in North America.

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American Indians and the Market Economy, 1775-1850

Edited by Lance Greene and Mark R. Plane, foreword by Timothy K. Perttula

The last quarter of the 18th century was a period of extensive political, economic, and social change in North America, as the continent-wide struggle between European superpowers waned. Native groups found themselves enmeshed in the market economy and new state forms of control, among other new threats to their cultural survival. Native populations throughout North America actively engaged the expanding marketplace in a variety of economic and social forms. These actions, often driven by and expressed through changes in material culture, were supported by a desire to maintain distinctive ethnic identities.
 

Illustrating the diversity of Native adaptations in an increasingly hostile and marginalized world, this volume is continental in scope—ranging from Connecticut to the Carolinas, and westward through Texas and Colorado. Calling on various theoretical perspectives, the authors provide nuanced perspectives on material culture use as a manipulation of the market economy. A thorough examination of artifacts used by Native Americans, whether of Euro-American or Native origin, this volume provides a clear view of the realities of the economic and social interactions between Native groups and the expanding Euro-American population and the engagement of these Native groups in determining their own fate.

 

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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 Borinquen

Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Native Puerto Rico

Edited by Peter E. Siegel, with contributions from Peter G. Roe, Peter E. Siegel

Native American cultures of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1493.


A book on the prehistory of a modern geopolitical entity is artificial. It is unlikely that prehistoric occupants recognized the same boundaries and responded to the same political forces that operated in the formation of current nations, states, or cities. Yet, archaeologists traditionally have produced such volumes and they generally represent anchors for ongoing research in a specific region, in this case the island of Puerto Rico, its immediate neighbors, and the wider Caribbean basin.  

To varying degrees, this work addresses issues and draws data from beyond the boundaries of Puerto Rico because in prehistoric times the water between islands likely was not viewed as a boundary in our modern sense of the term. The last few decades have witnessed a growth of intense archaeological research on the island, from material culture in the form of lithics, ceramics, and rock art; to nutritional, architecture, and environmental studies; to rituals and social patterns; to the aftermath of Conquest.  

Ancient Borinquen provides a comprehensive overview of recent thinking, new data, syntheses, and insights into current Puerto Rican archaeology, and it reflects and illuminates similar concerns elsewhere in the West Indies, lowland South America, and Central America.

 

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Ancient Households of the Americas

Conceptualizing What Households Do

Edited by John G. Douglass and Nancy Gonlin

In Ancient Households of the Americas archaeologists investigate the fundamental role of household production in ancient, colonial, and contemporary households. Several different cultures—Iroquois, Coosa, Anasazi, Hohokam, San Agustín, Wankarani, Formative Gulf Coast Mexico, and Formative, Classic, Colonial, and contemporary Maya—are analyzed through the lens of household archaeology in concrete, data-driven case studies. The text is divided into three sections: Section I examines the spatial and social organization and context of household production; Section II looks at the role and results of households as primary producers; and Section III investigates the role of, and interplay among, households in their greater political and socioeconomic communities. In the past few decades, household archaeology has made substantial contributions to our understanding and explanation of the past through the documentation of the household as a social unit—whether small or large, rural or urban, commoner or elite. These case studies from a broad swath of the Americas make Ancient Households of the Americas extremely valuable for continuing the comparative interdisciplinary study of households.

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