Robert W. Park
In the Arctic, people experience some of the most profound seasonal changes anywhere on earth: the temperature and amount of daylight differ tremendously between summer and winter, the nature and extent of the usable landscape varies enormously with the annual formation and dissolution of the sea ice, and the composition and abundance of the fauna changes dramatically due to most species' annual migrations. Moreover, because the sea ice environment melts every summer, all direct traces of human use of that landscape are lost annually. Therefore, to a greater extent than in most archaeological situations, our understanding of the history of human use of the sea ice part of the coastal environment must be inferential.
Kurt Anschuetz, Eileen L. Camilli, and Christopher D. Banet
The discussion in this chapter is based on the premise that agricultural landscapes are the foundations of the economies, social organizations, and cultural identities of farming communities. It reviews selected archaeological districts between Sonora and the northern Rio Grande in which technologically diverse agricultural features, including trincheras, terraces, rock-bordered grids, gravel mulches, and canals, are well documented. This examination shows that large-scale field complexes, including those dependent on canal irrigation, are widespread throughout the pre-colonial North American Southwest, with some dating to the Late Archaic. Consideration of the Tewa Basin of north-central New Mexico as a case study introduces the idea that shrines are other essential agricultural landscape features, which possess the potential to contribute toward fuller understandings of farming settlement dynamics.
Debra Corbett and Michael Yarborough
Archaeological research in the last 35 years has greatly increased our understanding of the complexity and dynamism of prehistoric Aleutian cultures. The traditional view of a uniform and unchanging culture spanning 1,000 miles and 4,000 years has collapsed under this new research. This chapter brings together for the first time recent scholarship on archipelago-wide cultural change through time and across space. The role of cultural influences from elsewhere in Alaska is explored, demolishing the paradigm of cultural isolation. This was instead a population of highly specialized maritime hunter-gatherers who undertook voyages of trade and warfare, sometimes covering distances of hundreds of kilometers, as well as inland movements to discover abundant resources.
Justin Tackney, Joan Coltrain, Jennifer Raff, and Dennis O'Rourke
Genetic diversity in modern Arctic communities provides a baseline from which to assess population history. This is augmented by documenting patterns of genetic variation in prehistoric populations using ancient DNA methods, and inferring dietary resource information and adaptive strategies derived from stable isotope analyses. This chapter uses this multidisciplinary approach to examine population history and colonization events in the Aleutians of South Alaska, and the origin and population history of Paleoeskimo and Neoeskimo populations of the North American Arctic. The power to identify past demographic events relies on knowledge of both genetic and isotopic signatures of demographic events, and on acquisition of securely dated and well provenienced samples for analysis.
Elizabeth J. Reitz
Data from three early European-sponsored colonies in North America indicate that changes in animal use occurred quickly. Over half of the meat from vertebrate sources in a Spanish assemblage associated with the first permanent European settlement on the Atlantic coast (Florida) and a French assemblage from the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile (Alabama) are from local, wild animals. The English assemblage associated with Charles Towne (South Carolina) reflects the rapid development of a short-lived cattle industry. Early colonists by and large practised a strategy that combined similar arrays of local wild meat sources with pork or beef regardless of the national affiliation of the colony, the ethnicity of the colonists, or the century in which colonization occurred.
Karen Gust Schollmeyer and Katherine A. Spielmann
Studies of animals in Southwest archaeology have been particularly successful in addressing the social-environmental context of human use of fauna. Two aspects of this topic form the focus of this chapter: understanding anthropogenic effects on landscapes, and human ritual engagement with animals. Studies of fauna and anthropogenic landscape change have centered on topics including garden hunting, anthropogenic vegetation changes, and human impacts on artiodactyls. Investigations of human ritual engagement with animals have primarily included analyses of room and site function (particularly examining ceremonial centers), studies of the emergence of new ritual regimes, and analyses focused on birds in religion. Emerging directions for Southwest zooarchaeology include synthetic analyses, archaeological chemistry, and variation in religious belief over time and space.
Kevin Conti and William Walker
This chapter explores the performance of light and shadows in two ancestral Pueblo rock art sites in southeast Utah. These sites possess anthropomorphic rock faces and modified features to create both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic images that we argue derive from mythological traditions of Pueblo peoples. Specifically, light/shadow patterns at these sites produce and interact with Bear and War Twin imagery on prominent dates of the solar calendar. Traditionally such imagery would be approached through rock art studies in terms of motifs and symbolic interpretations. The celestial component would be addressed by archaeoastronomers. Using object agency theory, we seek to contextualize these data as places where people communicated with their Bear and War Twin deities.
Christopher I. Roos
It has been suggested that anthropogenic burning may have altered Southwest landscapes at a large scale. Southwestern biomes vary in their propensity for and their susceptibility to anthropogenic burning practices. Anthropogenic burning to enhance the productivity of wild plant foraging or agriculture was probably limited in scale; on the other hand, fire use in hunting, religious practice, and warfare may have impacted larger scales, though at lower intensity. Middle-elevation forests, woodlands, and grasslands were the biotic zones most likely to be impacted by anthropogenic burning, but sophisticated mimicry of natural fire regimes means that the evidence of such impact is ambiguous.
Applied Archaeology in the Americas: Evaluating Archaeological Solutions to the Impacts of Global Environmental Change
Jago Cooper and Lindsay Duncan
This chapter considers the role of archaeology in creating solutions for coping with the impacts of global environmental change, illustrated by cases from Latin America. Past examples of the practical application of pre-Columbian innovations and techniques are considered, and the key themes of social practice and community engagement discussed. These principles are then applied to the islands of the Caribbean where archaeology can play an important role in accessing and illuminating pre-Columbian lifeways in the region. The comparative resilience of past and present lifeways to the hazards created by extreme weather events, precipitation variability, and sea level changes are discussed, and the role of archaeology as a means of engaging the public, stimulating discussion, and informing debate is considered.
This article discusses the full range of Arawak and closely related groups. It addresses four primary aspects of the diaspora: histories of studies on the Arawak; language groupings and history; archaeological evidence; and theoretical implications. The idea of an Arawak diaspora reflects a place in the Western imagination concerning the tropics, Amazonia, indigenous people, and their histories in the “Global South.” In other words, it is a model of long-term, large-scale sociohistorical phenomena and how they change through time. The Arawak diaspora is similar in age and scope to other early tropical diaspora, namely the Austronesian diaspora in the Pacific and the Bantu in Africa, which also reflect the movements and interactions of early root- and tree-crop agriculture, hierarchical systems of social value, and regional political integration.