Facts on File, 1986. — 240 p. — (Cultural atlas series). — ISBN 0-8160-1199-0.In the 15th and 16th centuries European explorers "discovered" the native populations of the Americas. The encounter provoked inquiry and debate. Who were these peoples? Did they have souls? Where had they come from? In succeeding centuries an astounding range of cultures came to light—some extinct, some surviving — from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. Interest developed from a concern for the souls of the natives to fascination with their achievements. Theories based on deductions from biblical history gave way to sustained research by archaeologists, anthropologists and art historians. Thanks to recently developed techniques for dating works of art and a new vigor in the study of glyphs and symbols, ancient America now has a history appreciated in depth. It is presented here in the form of an atlas comprising maps, text and pictures. The subject is treated in six parts. Part One (The New World) describes the geography and environments of the Americas, and charts the fate of the native populations under European impact and the subsequent growth of interest in the native heritage. Part Two (The First Americans) tells the early history of the native Americans, from the earliest migrations from "Beringia" to the end of the last Ice Age. Parts Three, Four and Five (respectively North America, Mesoamerica and South America) survey the major local cultures that flourished after Paleo-Indian groups had adapted to new local ecologies—for example, the Eskimos of the Arctic, the Adena people of the Eastern Woodlands, the Maya and Aztec of Mesoamerica, the Muisca of Colombia and the Inca of Peru. Part Six (The Living Heritage) offers some examples of the two-fold surviving inheritance from ancient America: first, native groups that have kept their way of life intact; secondly, the wider influence of native beliefs and practices on those of today, such as the influence of native religion on Latin American Catholicism. The atlas integrates maps based on original research, artwork reconstructions of individual settlements and over 250 photographs together with a running text, extensive captions and features on numerous sites (e.g. Mesa Verde, Teotihuacan, Chavin de Huantar) and on subjects of outstanding interest (e.g. The Southern Cult, The Mesoamerican Ballgame, Sacred Stone). The value of the atlas is enhanced by a chronological table, bibliography, gazetteer and index.
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