Washington: Smithsonian Books, 1986. — 288 p. — ISBN 0-89599-018-0.The Indians of North America peopled a continent and filled its earth, sea and sky with a pantheon of spirits before the Bronze Age had even dawned, half a world away. Today, for the first time, archaeologists from the Smithsonian and other institutions are reconstructing a picture of Pre-Columbian American life that is more accurate — and more exciting —than any information previously available. It is on this rich and complex realm that this important book focuses. Before the coming of the Europeans, North America had perhaps 20 million inhabitants, speaking more than 200 distinct languages, many living in substantial villages and towns —even cities — in a multitude of cultures as rich and varied as those found anywhere else on earth. The Smithsonian Book of North American Indians goes back into prehistory, exploring the continent from Point Barrow, Alaska, to the Yucatan Peninsula, from Newfoundland to California. It recreates the cultures of the ancestors of today's Indian peoples — their religions, customs, tools, weapons, arts, architecture and scientific knowledge—on the basis of evidence from archaeological sites both large and small, bringing to life the North America of ages previously relegated to a kind of historical limbo. - Across the Arctic, hunters sought great sea mammals with beautifully decorated, superbly designed and crafted weapons and implements. - In the Subarctic, diverse peoples all across the vast expanse of spruce forest and tundra followed herds of caribou in summer and lived in settled villages in winter. - In the Midwest and South, powerful civilizations were organized around great ceremonial centers characterized by huge earthen mounds. - In the Northeast, many populous hunting-gathering and agricultural tribes practiced sophisticated forest and wildlife management from their palisaded villages of longhouses. - In the arid Southwest, the builders of the pueblos and cliff dwellings lived by raising hardy strains of corn in irrigated soil. - Along the Pacific Coast, the peoples of the Northwest fashioned their great log vessels and splendid carved-wood art. - In Mexico lived the mighty Aztecs and the descendants of the equally magnificent Maya. This exciting new book, by examining the results of the most modern archaeological techniques, brings before us the very first Americans and all the richness and diversity of their cultures and environments.
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