The Archaeological Northeast

The Archaeological Northeast

The Archaeological Northeast

The Archaeological Northeast

Synopsis

Despite the advances made in archaeology over the past generation, the Northeast remains the most misunderstood of all the archaeological regions of North America. With a complex environmental history shaped by ice sheets from the last glaciation, and highly acidic soils characteristic of the area, the kinds of organic artifacts found in other areas have been destroyed in the Northeast. The result is a sometimes evasive, particularly complicated, and always fragmentary archaeological record. As the chapters in this volume demonstrate, the Northeast is a region that inspires the development of innovative research designs and thoughtful and relevant questions. Each author has been a graduate student of Dena Dincauze, who has done much to foster understanding of the prehistory of Northeastern North America.

Excerpt

The Archaeological Northeast, edited by Mary Ann Levine, Kenneth E. Sassaman , and Michael S. Nassaney, is one of the first books in Bergin and Garvey's new series Native Peoples of the Americas. This series will cover indigenous people in North, Middle, and South America. Each volume will explore the history and cultural survival of native peoples by telling their unique stories. Some volumes will focus on competing ethnicities and the struggle for resources; other volumes will illuminate the archaeology and ethnohistory of particular regions; and still others will explore gender relations, warfare, and native cosmologies and ethnobotanies. Yet despite the particular foci or theoretical frameworks of the editor and his or her contributors, all volumes will reveal the rich cultural tapestry of the American continents. Together they will chronicle a common historical theme: despite the invasion of foreign explorers, traders, militia, missionaries, and colonists beginning in the late sixteenth century; despite rapid native depopulation because of disease and overt Anglo policies of ethnocide; despite the penetration of a capitalist market system into tribal economies, native peoples have survived.

The Archaeological Northeast specifically looks at the broad development of native peoples up until and including the Contact period, when European cultures invaded New England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The editors have also included a chapter specifically about historical archaeology at a seventeenth century colonial site. This volume will prove to be a very timely and useful contribution to New England studies. Few books, since Dean Snow's landmark 1980 publication, The Archaeology of New England, have looked at the culture history of the whole region of New England. Further, this volume is thorough in its analyses of the complexity of Northeastern prehistory. Each of the contributors looks at some of the unique problems faced by those wishing to understand New England's past. Environments can change overnight . . .

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