Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms

Author: F. Kent Reilly, III
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 0292774400
Release Date: 2010-01-01
Genre: Social Science

Between AD 900-1600, the native peoples of the Mississippi River Valley and other areas of the Eastern Woodlands of the United States conceived and executed one of the greatest artistic traditions of the Precolumbian Americas. Created in the media of copper, shell, stone, clay, and wood, and incised or carved with a complex set of symbols and motifs, this seven-hundred-year-old artistic tradition functioned within a multiethnic landscape centered on communities dominated by earthen mounds and plazas. Previous researchers have referred to this material as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC). This groundbreaking volume brings together ten essays by leading anthropologists, archaeologists, and art historians, who analyze the iconography of Mississippian art in order to reconstruct the ritual activities, cosmological vision, and ideology of these ancient precursors to several groups of contemporary Native Americans. Significantly, the authors correlate archaeological, ethnographic, and art historical data that illustrate the stylistic differences within Mississippian art as well as the numerous changes that occur through time. The research also demonstrates the inadequacy of the SECC label, since Mississippian art is not limited to the Southeast and reflects stylistic changes over time among several linked but distinct religious traditions. The term Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere (MIIS) more adequately describes the corpus of this Mississippian art. Most important, the authors illustrate the overarching nature of the ancient Native American religious system, as a creation unique to the native American cultures of the eastern United States.

Visualizing the Sacred

Author: George E. Lankford
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9780292723085
Release Date: 2011-01-15
Genre: Social Science

The prehistoric native peoples of the Mississippi River Valley and other areas of the Eastern Woodlands of the United States shared a complex set of symbols and motifs that constituted one of the greatest artistic traditions of the pre-Columbian Americas. Traditionally known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, these artifacts of copper, shell, stone, clay, and wood were the subject of the groundbreaking 2007 book Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography, which presented a major reconstruction of the rituals, cosmology, ideology, and political structures of the Mississippian peoples. Visualizing the Sacred advances the study of Mississippian iconography by delving into the regional variations within what is now known as the Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere (MIIS). Bringing archaeological, ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and iconographic perspectives to the analysis of Mississippian art, contributors from several disciplines discuss variations in symbols and motifs among major sites and regions across a wide span of time and also consider what visual symbols reveal about elite status in diverse political environments. These findings represent the first formal identification of style regions within the Mississippian Iconographic Interaction Sphere and call for a new understanding of the MIIS as a network of localized, yet interrelated religious systems that experienced both continuity and change over time.

Picture Cave

Author: Carol Diaz-Granados
Publisher: Linda Schele Series in Maya an
ISBN: STANFORD:36105213027654
Release Date: 2015-06-15
Genre: History

A millennia ago, Native Americans entered the dark recesses of a cave in eastern Missouri and painted an astonishing array of human, animal, and supernatural creatures on its walls. Known as Picture Cave, it was a hallowed site for sacred rituals and rites of passage, for explaining the multi-layered cosmos, for vision quests, for communing with spirits in the "other world," and for burying the dead. The number, variety, and complexity of images make Picture Cave one of the most significant prehistoric sites in North America, similar in importance to Cahokia and Chaco Canyon. Indeed, scholars will be able to use it to reconstruct much of the Native American symbolism of the early Western Mississippian world. The Picture Cave Interdisciplinary Project brought together specialists in American Indian art and iconography, two artists, Osage Indian elders, a museum curator, a folklorist, and an internationally renowned cave archaeologist to produce the first complete documentation of the pictographs on the cave walls and the first interpretations of their meanings and significance. This extensively illustrated volume presents the Project's findings, including an introduction to Picture Cave and prehistoric cave art and technical analyses of pigments, radiocarbon dating, spatial order, and archaeological remains. Interpretations of the cave's imagery, from individual motifs to complex panels; the responses of contemporary artists; and interviews with Osage elders (descendants of the people who made the art), describing what Picture Cave means to them today, are also included. A visual glossary of all the images in Picture Cave as well as panoramic views complete this pathfinding volume.

Hero Hawk and Open Hand

Author: Richard F. Townsend
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300106015
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Art

Along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers, the archaeological remains of earthen pyramids, plazas, large communities, and works of art and artifacts testify to Native American civilizations that thrived there between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1500. This fascinating book presents exciting new information on the art and cultures of these ancient peoples and features hundreds of gorgeous photographs of important artworks, artifacts, and ritual objects excavated from Amerindian archaeological sites. Drawing on excavation findings and extensive research, the contributors to the book document a succession of distinct ancient populations in the pre-Columbian world of the American Midwest and Southeast. A team of interdisciplinary scholars examines the connections between archaeological remains of different regions and the themes, forms, and rituals that continue in specific tribes of today. The book also includes the personal reflections of contemporary Native Americans who discuss their perspectives on the significance of the fascinating and beautiful prehistoric artifacts as well as their own cultural practices today.

Sun Circles and Human Hands

Author: Emma Lila Fundaburk
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 9780817310776
Release Date: 2001-02-22
Genre: History

From utilitarian arrowheads to beautiful stone effigy pipes to ornately-carved shell disks, the photographs and drawings in Sun Circles and Human Hands present the archaeological record of the art and native crafts of the prehistoric southeastern Indians, painstakingly compiled in the 1950s by two sisters who traveled the eastern United States interviewing archaeologists and collectors and visiting the major repositories. Although research over the last 50 years has disproven many of the early theories reported in the text—which were not the editors' theories but those of the archaeologists of the day—the excellent illustrations of objects no longer available for examination have more than validated the lasting worth of this popular book.

Star gods of the Maya

Author: Susan Milbrath
Publisher: Univ of Texas Pr
ISBN: UOM:39015047729846
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit

Observations of the sun, moon, planets, and stars played a central role in ancient Maya lifeways, as they do today among contemporary Maya who maintain the traditional ways. This pathfinding book reconstructs ancient Maya astronomy and cosmology through the astronomical information encoded in Precolumbian Maya art and confirmed by the current practices of living Maya peoples. Susan Milbrath opens the book with a discussion of modern Maya beliefs about astronomy, along with essential information on naked-eye observation. She devotes subsequent chapters to Precolumbian astronomical imagery, which she traces back through time, starting from the Colonial and Postclassic eras. She delves into many aspects of the Maya astronomical images, including the major astronomical gods and their associated glyphs, astronomical almanacs in the Maya codices [painted books], and changes in the imagery of the heavens over time. This investigation yields new data and a new synthesis of information about the specific astronomical events and cycles recorded in Maya art and architecture. Indeed, it constitutes the first major study of the relationship between art and astronomy in ancient Maya culture.

Ancient Complex Societies

Author: Jennifer C. Ross
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781315305615
Release Date: 2017-01-06
Genre: Social Science

Ancient Complex Societies examines the archaeological evidence for the rise and functioning of politically and socially “complex” cultures in antiquity. Particular focus is given to civilizations exhibiting positions of leadership, social and administrative hierarchies, emerging and already developed complex religious systems, and economic differentiation. Case studies are drawn from around the globe, including Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the American continents. Using case studies from Africa, Polynesia, and North America, discussion is dedicated to identifying what “complex” means and when it should be applied to ancient systems. Each chapter attempts to not only explore the sociopolitical and economic elements of ancient civilizations, but to also present an overview of what life was like for the later population within each system, sometimes drilling down to individual people living their daily lives. Throughout the chapters, the authors address problems with the idea of complexity, the incomparability of cultures, and the inconsistency of archaeological and historical evidence in reconstructing ancient cultures.

An Archaeology of the Soul

Author: Robert L. Hall
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 0252066022
Release Date: 1997-01-01
Genre: Social Science

Looking beyond regional barriers, An Archaeology Of The Soul offers new depths of insight into American Indian ethnography. Hall uncovers the lineage and kinship shared by Native North Americans through the perspectives of history, archaeology, archaeoastronomy, biological anthropology, linguistics, and mythology.

Art and Architecture of the World s Religions Judaism

Author: Leslie Ross
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 0313342903
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Art

"Beginning with faiths in the ancient worlds of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, this set examines the major religions and their art and architecture from countries and continents all over the globe. Sixteen chapters present basic religions and their beliefs, as well as specific examples of how art/architecture reflects each religion's values. The major focus of each chapter, however, is on the temples, churches, religious buildings, statues, paintings, and other works of art and architecture created by believers. Each is examined in terms of its history, materials, symbols, colors, and patterns, explaining its significance to the reader. The set contains approximately 200 illustrations. Topics covered include: stained glass windows in Gothic cathedrals; ancient Egyptian tombs; diversity of Jewish synagogues; Zen Buddhist garden and temple design; sculptural programs on Hindu temples; Mesoamerican pyramid-temple complexes; and, African masks used in ceremonial performance." --Publisher.

Recreating Hopewell

Author: Douglas K. Charles
Publisher:
ISBN: 0813028981
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Social Science

Two thousand years ago, the Hopewell culture dominated much of eastern North America and left behind earthworks and other artifacts that continue to fascinate archaeologists. Recreating Hopewell--the first comprehensive overview of Hopewell archaeology published in a generation--represents more than two decades of new research into the vast world of the moundbuilders. This book includes contributions from scholars working at sites in the Hopewell "core" region of Ohio as well as archaeologists based in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia. Their results are based on cultural resource management excavations and new analytical techniques, such as the remote sensing of unexcavated sites and chemical sourcing of raw materials. While providing new insights from each Hopewell region's lithic, ceramic, faunal, and botanical data, this new research clearly shows the extent to which the Hopewell cultures differed across the midcontinent. Giving Hopewell a broader context than previously understood, the authors tie prehistory to historic Indian activities, beliefs, and customs. Scholars interested in the archaeology of eastern North America, especially those working on the juncture of ceremony and settlement, will welcome this important volume.

Death and the Classic Maya Kings

Author: James L. Fitzsimmons
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9780292781986
Release Date: 2010-01-01
Genre: Social Science

Like their regal counterparts in societies around the globe, ancient Maya rulers departed this world with elaborate burial ceremonies and lavish grave goods, which often included ceramics, red pigments, earflares, stingray spines, jades, pearls, obsidian blades, and mosaics. Archaeological investigation of these burials, as well as the decipherment of inscriptions that record Maya rulers' funerary rites, have opened a fascinating window on how the ancient Maya envisaged the ruler's passage from the world of the living to the realm of the ancestors. Focusing on the Classic Period (AD 250-900), James Fitzsimmons examines and compares textual and archaeological evidence for rites of death and burial in the Maya lowlands, from which he creates models of royal Maya funerary behavior. Exploring ancient Maya attitudes toward death expressed at well-known sites such as Tikal, Guatemala, and Copan, Honduras, as well as less-explored archaeological locations, Fitzsimmons reconstructs royal mortuary rites and expands our understanding of key Maya concepts including the afterlife and ancestor veneration.

A Companion to Dental Anthropology

Author: Joel D. Irish
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118845370
Release Date: 2015-10-21
Genre: Social Science

Companion to Dental Anthropology presents a collection of original readings addressing all aspects and sub-disciplines of the field of dental anthropology—from its origins and evolution through to the latest scientific research. Represents the most comprehensive coverage of all sub-disciplines of dental anthropology available today Features individual chapters written by experts in their specific area of dental research Includes authors who also present results from their research through case studies or voiced opinions about their work Offers extensive coverage of topics relating to dental evolution, morphometric variation, and pathology

The Moundbuilders

Author: George R. Milner
Publisher: London : Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 0500284687
Release Date: 2005
Genre: History

Hailed by Bruce D. Smith, Curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution, as without question the best available book on the pre-Columbian Indian societies of eastern North America, this wide-ranging and copiously illustrated volume covers the entire sweep of Eastern Woodlands prehistory, with an emphasis on how these societies developed from hunter-gatherers to village farmers and town-dwellers.

Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest

Author: Matthew Restall
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198036434
Release Date: 2004-10-28
Genre: History

Here is an intriguing exploration of the ways in which the history of the Spanish Conquest has been misread and passed down to become popular knowledge of these events. The book offers a fresh account of the activities of the best-known conquistadors and explorers, including Columbus, Cortés, and Pizarro. Using a wide array of sources, historian Matthew Restall highlights seven key myths, uncovering the source of the inaccuracies and exploding the fallacies and misconceptions behind each myth. This vividly written and authoritative book shows, for instance, that native Americans did not take the conquistadors for gods and that small numbers of vastly outnumbered Spaniards did not bring down great empires with stunning rapidity. We discover that Columbus was correctly seen in his lifetime--and for decades after--as a briefly fortunate but unexceptional participant in efforts involving many southern Europeans. It was only much later that Columbus was portrayed as a great man who fought against the ignorance of his age to discover the new world. Another popular misconception--that the Conquistadors worked alone--is shattered by the revelation that vast numbers of black and native allies joined them in a conflict that pitted native Americans against each other. This and other factors, not the supposed superiority of the Spaniards, made conquests possible. The Conquest, Restall shows, was more complex--and more fascinating--than conventional histories have portrayed it. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest offers a richer and more nuanced account of a key event in the history of the Americas.