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The Ancient Cerén Village in Central America
On an August evening around AD 600, residents of the Cerén village in the Zapotitán Valley of what is now El Salvador were sitting down to their nightly meal when ground tremors and loud steam emissions warned of an impending volcanic eruption. The villagers fled, leaving their town to be buried under five meters of volcanic ash and forgotten until a bulldozer uncovered evidence of the extraordinarily preserved town in 1976. The most intact Precolumbian village in Latin America, Cerén has been called the "Pompeii of the New World." This book and its accompanying CD-ROM and website (ceren.colorado.edu) present complete and detailed reports of the excavations carried out at Cerén since 1978 by a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, ethnographers, volcanologists, geophysicists, botanists, conservators, and others. The book is divided into sections that discuss the physical environment and resources, household structures and economy, special buildings and their uses, artifact analysis, and topical and theoretical issues. As the authors present and analyze Cerén’s houses and their goods, workshops, civic and religious buildings, kitchen gardens, planted fields, and garbage dumps, a new and much clearer picture of how commoners lived during the Maya Classic Period emerges. These findings constitute landmark contributions to the anthropology and archaeology of Central America.
An Interpretive Guide
The Archaeology of Academia
As a discipline, archaeology often provides amazing insights into the past. But it can also illuminate the present, especially when investigations are undertaken to better examine the history of institutions such as colleges and universities.
In Beneath the Ivory Tower, contributors offer a series of case studies to reveal the ways archaeology can offer a more objective view of changes and transformations that have taken place on America's college campuses. From the tennis courts of William and Mary to the "iconic paths, lawns, and well-ordered brick buildings" of Harvard, this volume will change the ways readers look at their alma maters--and at archaeology. Also included are studies of Michigan State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois, North Carolina, Washington & Lee, Santa Clara, California, and Stanford.
From Neglected Relic to Ancient Treasure, An Archaeological Detective Story
This book explores the provenance of the so-called Berkeley Herm of Plato, a sculptural portrait that Stephen G. Miller first encountered over thirty years ago in a university storage basement. The head, languishing since its arrival in 1902, had become detached from the body, or herm, and had been labeled a fake. In 2002, while preparing another book, Miller—now an experienced archaeologist—needed an illustration of Plato, remembered this piece, and took another look. The marble, he recognized immediately, was from the Greek islands, the inscription appeared ancient, and the ribbons visible on the head were typical of those in Greek athletic scenes. The Berkeley Plato, rich in scientific, archaeological, and historical detail, tells the fascinating story of how Miller was able to authenticate this long-dismissed treasure. His conclusion, that it is an ancient Roman copy possibly dating from the time of Hadrian, is further supported by art conservation scientist John Twilley, whose essay appears as an appendix. Miller's discovery makes a significant contribution to the worlds of art history, philosophy, archaeology, and sports history and will serve as a starting point for new research in the back rooms of museums.
Archaeological Perspectives on the Protohistoric Southeast
This collection of essays brings together diverse approaches to the analysis of Native American culture in the protohistoric period.
For most Native American peoples of the Southeast, almost two centuries passed between first contact with European explorers in the 16th century and colonization by whites in the 18th century—a temporal span commonly referred to as the Protohistoric period. A recent flurry of interest in this period by archaeologists armed with an improved understanding of the complexity of culture contact situations and important new theoretical paradigms has illuminated a formerly dark time frame.
This volume pulls together the current work of archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists to demonstrate a diversity of approaches to studying protohistory. Contributors address different aspects of political economy, cultural warfare, architecture, sedentism, subsistence, foods, prestige goods, disease, and trade. From examination of early documents by René Laudonnière and William Bartram to a study of burial goods distribution patterns; and from an analysis of Caddoan research in Arkansas and Louisiana to an interesting comparison of Apalachee and Powhatan elites, this volume ranges broadly in subject matter. What emerges is a tantalizingly clear view of the protohistoric period in North America.
Between Contacts and Colonies reveals how the knowledgeable use of historical documents, innovative archaeological research, and emerging theory in anthropology can be integrated to arrive at a better understanding of this crucial period. It will be valuable for scholars and students of archaeology and anthropology, cultural historians, and academic librarians.
Cameron B. Wesson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mark A. Rees is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Plains Archaeology and the Postprocessual Critique
This volume presents a series of essays, written by Plains scholars of diverse research interests and backgrounds, that apply postprocessual approaches to the solution of current problems in Plains archaeology. Postprocessual archaeology is seen as a potential vehicle for integrating culture-historical, processual, and postmodernist approaches to solve specific archaeological problems.
The contributors address specific interpretive problems in all the major regions of the North American Plains, investigate different Plains societies (including hunter-gatherers and farmers and their associated archaeological records), and examine the political content of archaeology in such fields as gender studies and cultural resource management. They avoid a programmatic adherence to a single paradigm, arguing instead that a mature archaeology will use different theories, methods, and techniques to solve specific empirical problems. By avoiding excessive infatuation with the correct scientific method, this volume addresses questions that have often been categorized as beyond archaeological investigations.
Contributors inlcude: Philip Duke, Michael C. Wilson, Alice B. Kehoe, Larry J. Zimmerman, Mary K. Whelan, Patricia J. O'Brien, Monica Bargielski Weimer, David W. Benn, Richard A. Krause, James F. Brooks, Neil A. Mirau, Miranda Warburton, Melissa A. Connor, and Ian Hodder
Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda
Using innovative research strategies from fieldwork to historical linguistics, Kodesh produces a vision of the Ganda past that emphasizes decentralized institutions of "public healing" and supplants the royalist perspective of European documentary sources and histories based on them.
Regional Perspectives on Middle Horizon Peru
The scholars whose work is assembled here attempt to better understand the nature of Wari by examining its impact beyond Wari walls. By studying Wari from a village in Cuzco, a water shrine in Huamachuco, or a compound on the Central Coast, these authors provide us with information that cannot be gleaned from either digs around the city of Huari or work at the major Wari installations in the periphery. This book provides no definitive answers to the Wari phenomena, but it contributes to broader debates about interregional influences and interaction during the emergence of early cities and states throughout the world.
The People of the Ancient Near East
While mortuary ruins have long fascinated archaeologists and art historians interested in the cultures of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean, the human skeletal remains contained in the tombs of this region have garnered less attention. In Bioarchaeology and Behavior, Megan Perry presents a collection of essays that aim a spotlight on the investigation of the ancient inhabitants of the circum-Mediterranean area.
Composed of eight diverse papers, this volume synthesizes recent research on human skeletal remains and their archaeological and historical contexts in this region. Utilizing an environmental, social, and political framework, the contributors present scholarly case studies on such topics as the region's mortuary archaeology, genetic investigations of migration patterns, and the ancient populations' health, disease, and diet.
Other key anthropological issues addressed in this volume include the effects of the domestication of plants and animals, the rise of state-level formations, and the role of religion in society. Ultimately, this collection will provide anthropologists, archaeologists, and bioarchaeologists with an important foundation for future research in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean.
A View from South Asian Prehistory
In the context of current debates about global warming, archaeology contributes important insights for understanding environmental changes in prehistory, and the consequences and responses of past populations to them.
In Indian archaeology, climate change and monsoon variability are often invoked to explain major demographic transitions, cultural changes, and migrations of prehistoric populations. During the late Holocene (1400-700 B.C.), agricultural communities flourished in a semiarid region of the Indian subcontinent, until they precipitously collapsed. Gwen Robbins Schug integrates the most recent paleoclimate reconstructions with an innovative analysis of skeletal remains from one of the last abandoned villages to provide a new interpretation of the archaeological record of this period.
Robbins Schug’s biocultural synthesis provides us with a new way of looking at the adaptive, social, and cultural transformations that took place in this region during the first and second millennia B.C. Her work clearly and compellingly usurps the climate change paradigm, demonstrating the complexity of human-environmental transformations. This original and significant contribution to bioarchaeological research and methodology enriches our understanding of both global climate change and South Asian prehistory.