Indians and Archaeology of Missouri

Indians and Archaeology of Missouri

Indians and Archaeology of Missouri

Indians and Archaeology of Missouri


This expanded edition of Indians and Archaeology of Missouri gives an excellent introduction to the cultural development of Missouri's Indians during the past twelve thousand years. Providing a new chapter on the Hunter Foragers of the Dalton period and substantial revision of other chapters to incorporate recent discoveries, the Chapmans present knowledge based upon decades of experience with archaeological excavations in an understandable and fascinating form.

The first edition of Indians and Archaeology of Missouri has been recognized in Missouri and nationally as one of the best books of its kind. The Missouri Historical Review called it "simply indispensable." The Plains Anthropologist added similar praise: "Clearly written and exceptionally well is the answer to the amateur's prayers." Archaeology described it as "a boon to Missouri's many amateur archaeologists, a useful source of information for professionals and interesting reading for the layman."


When Columbus discovered the West Indies in 1492, he was not well enough versed in geography to realize that he had not sailed around the world, that the islands were not along the coast of Asia, and that the people were not inhabitants of the Indies, as eastern Asia was called in his day. No one else was any better informed, so when Columbus proclaimed the natives to be Indians, the name stuck. Today, notwithstanding a concerted effort several years ago to change it to Amerind, the name Indian has won out and is here to stay.

The Indians who met the early explorers and those who welcomed numerous other European visitors prominent in our histories put on their best red paint when they greeted the strangers. The use of red for face and body painting was such a common practice that the uninitiated Europeans came to the conclusion that American Indians had red skin. This fallacy persists today.

Nearly four hundred years after the first voyage of Columbus, some Indian groups still had never been seen by Europeans, or if they had, it was not recorded. It is not known how many Indian tribes or bands were in existence in A.D. 1500, before the European invasion of America, with its introduction of fatal epidemic diseases, began to change the tribal picture. Many tribes became extinct, while others banded together or absorbed neighboring tribes, so that the picture of native life in the Americas after 1500 was one of change. In spite of the changes, a major compilation on Indians in 1910 listed more than two thousand distinct Indian tribes or organizations in North America alone.

American Indians adapted to diverse environments in a wide variety of ways. There were hunters, fishers, and gatherers, but no two groups of people were exactly alike in regard to the things they hunted, fished, or gathered nor in the way they went about the business of gaining a living. There were horticulturists and livestock raisers, but the plants and the animals differed from place to place, and few Indian people depended upon a single occupation exclusively. The vast variety in the Indian cultures indicates a long time span during which the variations developed. Culture means the lifeways of the people, including the habits and customs associated with gaining their living, organizing their social and political activities, and practicing their religious rituals and ceremonies.

Indian tribes that were most alike in their habits, customs, and pursuits have been grouped in large geographical areas called cultural areas. A cultural area also has relatively uniform geography, topography, fauna, and flora within its boundaries. The Indians who lived in a particular area were limited in cultural development by their environment.

The physical characteristics of the Indians were almost as varied as their . . .

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