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Archaeology of Native North America, CourseSmart eTextbook

By Dean R Snow

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Dec 18, 2009

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This comprehensive text is intended for the junior-senior level course in North American Archaeology. 


Written by accomplished scholar Dean Snow, this new text approaches native North America from the perspective of evolutionary ecology. Succinct, streamlined chapters present an extensive groundwork for supplementary material, or serve as a core text.The narrative covers all of Mesoamerica, and explicates the links between the part of North America covered by the United States and Canada and the portions covered by Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and the Greater Antilles. Additionally, book is extensively illustrated with the author’s own research and findings.

Table of Contents


1.      Introduction                 

Why it Matters                  

Archaeological Science                  

Coping with Incomplete Information                       

The Use and Misuse of Evidence               

Mistakes and Fakes                       

The Difference Between Biological and Cultural Evolution               

Basic Concepts for the Study of Cultural Evolution             

Ecological Approaches                  

North America and Human Potential                      

Geography and Basic Terms                      

The Special Place of Rock Art                   

Oral Tradition                    


Further Reading     


2.      Eurasian Origins                       


The Evolution of Modern Humans              

Out of Africa                     

The Expansion of Modern Humans            

Lines of Evidence from Living American Indians                 

Crossing Beringia               

Traveling Companions                   

Archaeological Traces in Siberia                

Swan Point            

The Nenana Complex                    

The First Americans                       


Further Reading    


3.      The Peopling of America                      


Was Clovis Culture First?              

Dubious Claims for Pre-Clovis Sites                       

More Likely Claims for Pre-Clovis Sites                

The Paleoindian Period                  

Tracking Paleoindians from Beringia                       

The Nenana Complex Revisited                 

The Mesa Site                   

Accommodating the Monte Verde Site                   

Sites on the California Coast                      

Clovis Culture                    

The Atlantic Alternative                  

The Great Extinction                      

Paleoindian Skeletal Evidence                    

The End of the Paleoindian Period              


Further Reading         


4.      Archaic Adaptations                


Holocene Adaptations                   

The Roots of Domestication                       

The Luck of Good Location                       

Humanizing Environments               


The Humanized Forest                   

Consequences for Human Adaptation                    

Hallmarks in Stone             

Major Adaptive Trends in the Holocene                 

Insights from Ethnography              

Managing Mobility             

The Magic Number 500 and the Redefinition of Sharing                 

The Great Basin Laboratory                       

The Northeastern Archaic              

Other Archaic Cultures                  

Evolving Technology                      

Centers of Plant Domestication                  


Further Reading   


5.      The Moundbuilders                  

The Environment of the Eastern Woodlands                       

First Impressions               

The Roots of Mound Building in the Eastern Woodlands                 

Adena Culture                   

Hopewell Culture               

Later Burial Moundbuilders            

The Beginnings of Platform Mounds                       


Further Reading    


6.      The Greater Southwest            


The First Farmers              

Language Families             

Regional Ecology               



Ancestral Pueblo               



The Contraction of Greater Southwest Cultures                  

Later Ancestral Pueblo and Modern Descendants              

Arrival of the Athapaskans             


Further Reading


7.      Mesoamerican Civilization                    


Mesoamerican Geography             

The Consequences of Plant Domestication             

Mesoamerican Chronology            

The Olmecs                       

Olmec Polities                   

Olmec Centers                  

Highland Mexico               



Competing City-States                   


Maya Civilization               

Major Maya City-States                

The Maya Collapse                       

The Mesoamerican Ball Game                   

The Rest of Mesoamerica              


Further Reading       


8.      Postclassic Mesoamerica                     


The Postclassic Period                   

The Toltecs                       

The Rise of the Aztecs                   

Aztec Society and Empire              

Aztec Religion                   


Aztec Calendar and Math              

Native Books                    

The Aztec Imperial Economy                     

The End of Native Empires            

The Rest of Mexico                       

The Postclassic Maya                    

Highland Central America              


Further Reading     


9.      The Mississippians                   


Mississippians and Mesoamericans            

The Rise of Maize Farming            

Middle Mississippian                     

South Appalachian Mississippian                

Plaquemine Mississippian               

Caddoan Mississippian Societies                


Further Reading                 


10.  The Northeastern Forests                    


The Rise of Farming Cultures in the Northern Woodlands               

The Descendants of Hopewell                    

The Algonquian Expansion             

Wild Rice Gathering                       

Algonquian Rock Art                     

Later Eastern Algonqians               

Northern Iroquoians                      

The Formation of Confederacies                

The Workings of the League of the Iroquois                       

Demographic Change and Adaptation                    

The Central Algonquians and Siouans                     

Other Northerners and Other Adjustments             

Epidemics and Depopulation                      


Further Reading    


11.  The Gulf Rim               


The Gulf Environment                    

Early Mound Building                    

Troyville-Coles Creek Culture                   

Weeden Island, Fort Walton, and Safety Harbor Cultures              

Southern Florida                

The Northern Gulf Coast               

The Antilles                       

The Mexican Gulf Coast                


Further Reading    


12.  The Interior West                    


The Great Plains                

Northern Plains Hunter-Gatherers              

Southern Plains Hunter-Gatherers              

Plains Woodland Cultures              

Plains Village Cultures                    

The Great Basin                 

The Plateau                       

The Horse Nomads                       


Further Reading      


13.  The West Coast                      


The Northwest Coast                    

Historic Northwest Coast Cultures             

The Roots of Northwest Coast Culture                  

Southern Northwest Coast             


The Man Called Ishi                      

Baja California                   


Further Reading      


14.  The Arctic and Subarctic                     

The Arctic Environment                 

Arctic Stage 1: The Earliest Evidence                     

Arctic Stage 2: Finding Solutions                

Arctic Stage 3: The Arctic Small Tool Tradition                  

Arctic Stage 4: Kachemak, Choris, Norton, Ipiutak, Dorset, and Old Bering Sea    

Arctic Stage 5: Thule Culture                     

The Norse             

The Subarctic                    


Further Reading   


15.  Worlds in Collision                  


The Columbian Exchange               

American Indian Populations                      

The Development of Archaeology              

The Rise of Professional Archaeology                    

Archaeology and American Indians            

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act                    



Further Reading          



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Archaeology of Native North America, CourseSmart eTextbook
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$38.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-69149-4