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PreColumbian Archaeology of North America

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Title: PreColumbian Archaeology of North America


1
Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America
  • Week 2
  • History of Archaeology in North America
  • Pre-Twentieth Century

2
Critical concepts
  • Archaeology as political
  • Nationalist vs. colonialist archaeologies
  • Nationalist archaeology
  • Germany (Gustaf Kossinna), Mexico, China, Israel
  • Colonial archaeologies
  • Africa (Great Zimbabwe), the United States,
    Australia
  • Key works
  • Nationalism and Archaeology On the
    Constructions of Nations and the Reconstructions
    of the Remote past by Philip L. Kohl in Annual
    Review of Anthropology, Vol. 27. (1998), pp.
    223-246.
  • Alternative Archaeologies Nationalist,
    Colonialist, Imperialist by Bruce G. Trigger in
    Man, New Series, Vol. 19, No. 3. (Sep., 1984),
    pp. 355-370.
  • Paradigm problems for Europeans in the 16th
    century
  • Biblical knowledge and absence of references to
    Indians (Noah and the Great Flood)
  • Incompatibility of European preconceptions with
    reality
  • Monumental architecture
  • Perceived savagery and technological
    backwardness (wheel, etc.)

N
3
Great Zimbabwe (Africa)
4
Great Zimbabwe (Africa)
5
Teotihuacan Pyramids of the Sun and Moonc. 100
A.D.
6
Spanish Impacts
  • Destruction of much of the written culture of
    Central American Indians
  • Aztec and Maya Codices
  • Hernando De Soto
  • Entrada across the southeast
  • 1539-42
  • Towns with mounds still occupied
  • José de Acosta, Historia Natural y Moral de las
    Indias (1589)
  • First to hypothesize about the origins of Indians
  • proposed land crossing without knowledge of
    Bering Straits (only discovered in 1788)

7
The Beginnings in the United States
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Author of Declaration of Independence (1776),
    third president of the United States (1801-1809),
    founder of University of Virginia
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (1787)
  • Query XI A description of the Indians
    established in that State
  • Challenged views
  • First systematic excavation in North America
  • Considered to be the father of American
    archaeology

8
The Nineteenth Century
  • Hundreds of earthen mounds found throughout
    eastern North America
  • Temple Mounds
  • Flat-top mounds with structures on summit
  • Zoomorphic mounds
  • Mounds in the shape of animals, most commonly
    reptiles (snakes) and birds
  • Geometric Mounds
  • Rectilinear and circular/oval forms, usually
    quite low. Function unclear

9
Cahokia (Illinois)
  • c. 1000 A.D.
  • Complex of 10 large population centers and
    numerous farming villages
  • Several hundred mounds, 45 major mounds
  • Monks Mound largest

10
Cahokia - Reconstruction
11
Monks Mound304x220x30m base covers 6.4
havolume 63,000 cubic meters
12
Great Serpent Mound (Ohio)
  • 405 meters long, avg. 1 meter high

13
Newark Mounds (Ohio)
  • Overall length 4 km, area 10.3 sq. km
  • Largest circle diameter 358 m, max. 4 m
    divergence

14
Explanations for moundbuilders
  • Caleb Atwater (early 1800s)
  • Non-Indian, pre-Flood
  • Dr. James H. McColloh Researches in North
    America (1817-1829)
  • Indians could have built mounds
  • Dr. Samuel George Morton Crania Americana (1839)
  • Earlier, more civilized Indians (Toltecans) were
    responsible. Contemporary Indians (Barbarous)
    could not have built the mounds

15
The Classificatory-Descriptive Period (1840-1914)
  • Ephraim Squire and Edwin Hamilton Davis
  • 1848
  • Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley
  • First publication of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Moundbuilders of a different race
  • Indians lacked sophistication to build mounds
  • Samuel Haven
  • 1856
  • Librarian of American Antiquarian Society
  • Evidence inconsistent with lost race

16
New Institutions and Theories
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • 1846
  • Peabody Museum
  • Harvard University
  • 1868-75
  • Charles Lyell
  • Principles of Geology (1840)
  • Charles Darwin
  • On the Origin of Species (1859)

17
Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology
  • Lead by John Wesley Powell
  • First American to travel Colorado River,
    discoverer of Grand Canyon
  • Cyrus Thomas
  • 1894
  • Dismantles lost moundbuilder race theory
  • William Henry Holmes
  • Strong background in geology
  • First ceramic typologies (for eastern North
    America)

18
Beginnings of Important Regional Research
  • Adolf Bandelier
  • 1892
  • Develops chronology of Rio Grand region (Pueblo
    Cultures)
  • Max Uhle
  • Works with ethnologist Alfred Kroeber (University
    of California)
  • 1907
  • Investigates cultural change in San Francisco Bay
    Area (Emeryville shellmound - midden)

N
19
Bandelier National MonumentTyuonyi Pueblo
20
Emeryville Shellmoundsalvage operations in 1924
21
The Czech Connection
  • Ale Hrdlicka
  • Dominant figure in physical anthropology in North
    America in first half of 20th century
  • 1903 joins what is now the American Museum of
    Natural History (New York)
  • Rejected early (Pleistocene) arrival of Indians
    in North America
  • Earliest arrival c. 4000 BP
  • Eventually 10,000 BP might be demonstrated
  • Introduced demand for rigorous research methods
    impacted all branches of anthropological and
    archaeological research in North America

22
Week 2 Sites (East)
  • De Soto
  • Monticello
  • Cahokia
  • Serpent
  • Newark

23
Week 2 Sites (West)
  • Grand Canyon
  • Bandelier
  • Emeryville
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