Where did Native Americans come from and when did they first arrive? Several lines of evidence, most recently genetic, have firmly established that all Native American populations originated in eastern Siberia.
It was about 13,000 years ago that the First Americans, people who came from Asia, worked their way past the melting glaciers of the last Ice Age and began spreading across North, Central, and South America - lands previously unscarred by humans and teeming with mammoths, giant bison, saber-toothed tigers, and beavers the size of a cow. But it's only recently that scientists have pieced together the elusive, compelling saga of that epic migration. And the more we learn about them, the more we must marvel at the courage, adaptability, enterprise, and enduring resilience of the First Americans. Most of us know little about the early Americans and the wonders they achieved. Some of them learned to hunt forty-ton whales from dugout canoes; others built a vast system of canals that irrigated crops on tens of thousands of acres. Fully a thousand years before the pyramids at Giza went up, people on the Mississippi River were constructing even larger pyramidal earthworks, and later, a thousand miles to the north, others built a city that would remain the largest in North America until after the Revolutionary War. In the cradle of civilization that evolved in Central America, the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs built complex cultures and dazzling cities whose monumental structures and works of art still have the power to awe and inspire. This book describes the peopling of North and Central America and examine their amazing societies - the farmers and cliff-dwellers of the Southwest United States, the mound-builders of the Midwest, the Northwest Coast whale-hunters with their potlatches and totem poles, and the mighty, gods-driven cultures of Mesoamerica. It is a saga as breathtaking as it is surprising.
Glory, Trouble, and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology chronicles the seminal contributions, tumultuous history, and recent renaissance of the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology (RSPM). The only archaeology museum that is part of an American high school, it also did cutting-edge research from the 1930s through the 1970s, ultimately returning to its core mission of teaching and learning in the twenty-first century. Essays explore the early history and notable contributions of the museum’s directors and curators, including a tour de force chapter by James Richardson and J. M. Adovasio that interweaves the history of research at the museum with the intriguing story of the peopling of the Americas. Other chapters tackle the challenges of the 1990s, including shrinking financial resources, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and relationships with American Indian tribes, and the need to revisit the original mission of the museum, namely, to educate high school students. Like many cultural institutions, the RSPM has faced a host of challenges throughout its history. The contributors to this book describe the creative responses to those challenges and the reinvention of a museum with an unusual past, present, and future.
The Idea of the Pacific in Western Thought : an Anthology
Author: Richard Lansdown
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Long before Magellan entered the Pacific in 1521 Westerners entertained ideas of undiscovered oceans, mighty continents, and paradisal islands at the far ends of the earth-such ideas would have a long life and a deep impact in both the Pacific and the West. With the discovery of Tahiti in 1767 another powerful myth was added to this collection: the noble savage. For the first time Westerners were confronted by a people who seemed happier than themselves. This revolution in the human sciences was accompanied by one in the natural sciences after Darwin's momentous visit to the Galapagos Islands. The Pacific produced other challenges for nineteenth-century researchers on race and culture, and for those intent on exporting their religions to this immense quarter of the globe. As the century wore on, the region presented opportunities and dilemmas for the imperial powers, a process was accelerated by the Pacific War between 1941 and 1945. Strangers in the South Seas recounts and illustrates this story using a wealth of primary texts. It includes generous excerpts from the work of explorers, soldiers, naturalists, anthropologists, artists, and writers--some famous, some obscure. It shows how "the Great South Sea" has been an irreplaceable "distant mirror" of the West and its intellectual obsessions since the Renaissance.
In the first general history of colonial New England to be published in over twenty-five years, Joseph A. Conforti synthesizes current and classic scholarship to explore how Puritan saints and "strangers" to Puritanism participated in the making of colonial New England. Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop's famous description of New England as a "city upon a hill" has tended to reduce the region's history to an exclusively Pilgrim-Puritan drama, a world of narrow-minded founders, the First Thanksgiving, steepled churches, and the Salem witchcraft trials. In a concise volume aimed at general readers and college students as well as historians, Conforti shows that New England was neither as Puritan nor as insular as most familiar stories imply. As the region evolved into British America's preeminent maritime region, the Atlantic Ocean served as a highway of commercial and cultural encounter, connecting white English settlers to different races and religious communities of the transatlantic world. The Puritan elect—but also Natives, African slaves, and non-Puritan white settlers—became active participants in the creation of colonial New England. Conforti discusses how these subcommunities of white, red, and black strangers to Protestant piety retained their own cultures, coexisted, and even thrived within and beyond the domains of Puritan settlement, creating tensions and pressure points in the later development of early America.