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At its height the Moundville ceremonial center was a densely occupied town of approximately 1,000 residents, with at least 29 earthen mounds surrounding a central plaza. Today, Moundville is not only one the largest and best-preserved Mississippian sites in the United States, but also one of the most intensively studied. This volume brings together nine Moundville specialists who trace the site’s evolution and eventual decline.
Explorations of the Sacred in the Pre-Columbian Andes
In this edited volume, Andean wak'as—idols, statues, sacred places, images, and oratories—play a central role in understanding Andean social philosophies, cosmologies, materialities, temporalities, and constructions of personhood. Top Andean scholars from a variety of disciplines cross regional, theoretical, and material boundaries in their chapters, offering innovative methods and theoretical frameworks for interpreting the cultural particulars of Andean ontologies and notions of the sacred.
Wak'as were understood as agentive, nonhuman persons within many Andean communities and were fundamental to conceptions of place, alimentation, fertility, identity, and memory and the political construction of ecology and life cycles. The ethnohistoric record indicates that wak'as were thought to speak, hear, and communicate, both among themselves and with humans. In their capacity as nonhuman persons, they shared familial relations with members of the community, for instance, young women were wed to local wak'as made of stone and wak'as had sons and daughters who were identified as the mummified remains of the community's revered ancestors.
Integrating linguistic, ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and archaeological data, The Archaeology of Wak'as advances our understanding of the nature and culture of wak'as and contributes to the larger theoretical discussions on the meaning and role of–"the sacred” in ancient contexts.
Contact, Commerce, and Change in the U.S. Southwest and Northwestern Mexico
Archaeology without Borders presents new research by leading U.S. and Mexican scholars and explores the impacts on archaeology of the border between the United States and Mexico. Including data previously not readily available to English-speaking readers, the twenty-four essays discuss early agricultural adaptations in the region and groundbreaking archaeological research on social identity and cultural landscapes, as well as economic and social interactions within the area now encompassed by northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Contributors examining early agriculture offer models for understanding the transition to agriculture, explore relationships between the spread of agriculture and Uto-Aztecan migrations, and present data from Arizona, New Mexico, and Chihuahua. Contributors focusing on social identity discuss migration, enculturation, social boundaries, and ethnic identities. They draw on case studies that include diverse artifact classes - rock art, lithics, architecture, murals, ceramics, cordage, sandals, baskets, faunal remains, and oral histories. Mexican scholars present data from Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Michoacan, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon. They address topics including Spanish-indigenous conflicts, archaeological history, cultural landscapes, and interactions among Mesoamerica, northern Mexico, and the U.S. Southwest.
Current Approaches and New Perspectives
Presenting the latest in archaeometallurgical research in a Mesoamerican context, Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica brings together up-to-date research from the most notable scholars in the field. These contributors analyze data from a variety of sites, examining current approaches to the study of archaeometallurgy in the region as well as new perspectives on the significance metallurgy and metal objects had in the lives of its ancient peoples.
The chapters are organized following the cyclical nature of metals—beginning with extracting and mining ore, moving to smelting and casting of finished objects, and ending with recycling and deterioration back to the original state once the object is no longer in use. Data obtained from archaeological investigations, ethnohistoric sources, ethnographic studies, along with materials science analyses, are brought to bear on questions related to the integration of metallurgy into local and regional economies, the sacred connotations of copper objects, metallurgy as specialized crafting, and the nature of mining, alloy technology, and metal fabrication.
Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
A premier mound site offers a wealth of primary data on mortuary practices in the Mississippian Period.The largest prehistoric mound site in Georgia is located in modern-day Macon and is known as Ocmulgee. It was first recorded in August 1739 by General James Oglethorpe’s rangers during an expedition to the territory of the Lower Creeks. The botanist William Bartram wrote extensively of the ecology of the area during his visit in 1773, but the 1873 volume by Charles C. Jones, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes, was the first to treat the archaeological significance of the site.
Professional excavations began at Ocmulgee in 1933 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, using Civil Works Administration labor. Investigations continued under a variety of sponsorships until December 1936, when the locality was formally named a national monument. Excavation of the mounds, village sites, earth lodge, and funeral mound revealed an occupation of the Macon Plateau spanning more than 7,000 years. The funeral mound was found to contain log tombs, bundles of disarticulated bones, flexed burials, and cremations. Grave goods included uniquely patterned copper sun disks that were found at only one other site in the Southeast—the Bessemer site in Alabama—so the two ceremonial centers were established as contemporaries.
In this classic work of archaeological research and analysis, Charles Fairbanks has not only offered a full treatment of the cultural development and lifeways of the builders of Ocmulgee but has also related them effectively to other known cultures of the prehistoric Southeast.
A Guide to Understanding Cultural Artifacts
The Native American tribes of what is now the Southeastern United States left intriguing relics of their ancient cultural life. Arrowheads, spearpoints, stone tools, and other artifacts are found in newly plowed fields, on hillsides after a fresh rain, or in washed-out creekbeds. These are tangible clues to the anthropology of the Paleo-Indians, and the highly developed Mississippian peoples.This indispensable guide to identifying and understanding such finds is for conscientious amateur archeologists who make their discoveries in surface terrain. Many are eager to understand the culture that produced the artifact, what kind of people created it, how it was made, how old it is, and what its purpose was.Here is a handbook that seeks identification through the clues of cultural history. In discussing materials used, the process of manufacture, and the relationship between the artifacts and the environments, it reveals ancient discoveries to be not merely interesting trinkets but by-products from the once vital societies in areas that are now Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas, as well as in southeastern Texas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana.The text is documented by more than a hundred drawings in the actual size of the artifacts, as well as by a glossary of archeological terms and a helpful list of state and regional archeological societies.
An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast
Renowned for their monumental architecture and rich visual culture, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period (AD 100–800). Archaeological discoveries over the past century and the dissemination of Moche artifacts to museums around the world have given rise to a widespread and continually increasing fascination with this complex culture, which expressed its beliefs about the human and supernatural worlds through finely crafted ceramic and metal objects of striking realism and visual sophistication. In this standard-setting work, an international, multidisciplinary team of scholars who are at the forefront of Moche research present a state-of-the-art overview of Moche culture. The contributors address various issues of Moche society, religion, and material culture based on multiple lines of evidence and methodologies, including iconographic studies, archaeological investigations, and forensic analyses. Some of the articles present the results of long-term studies of major issues in Moche iconography, while others focus on more specifically defined topics such as site studies, the influence of El Niño/Southern Oscillation on Moche society, the nature of Moche warfare and sacrifice, and the role of Moche visual culture in decoding social and political frameworks.
Tikal Report 27B
Occupied continuously for 1,500 years, Tikal was the most important demographic, economic, administrative, and ritual center of its region. The collection of materials recovered at Tikal is the largest and most diverse known from the Lowlands.
This book provides a major body of primary data. The artifacts, represented by such raw materials as chert and shell are classified by type, number, condition, possible ancient use, form, material, size, and such secondary modifications as decoration and reworking, as well as by spatial distribution, occurrence in the various types of structure groups, recovery context, and date. The same format, with the exception of typology, is used for unworked materials such as mineral pigments and vertebrate remains.
While few artifact reports go beyond a catalog of objects organized by type or raw material, this report puts the materials into their past cultural contexts and thus is of interest to a wide range of scholars.