Results by Title
25 books about Prehistoric
Results by Title
25 books about Prehistoric
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
During more than a thousand years before Europeans arrived in 1540, the native peoples of what is now the southwestern United States and northern Mexico developed an architecture of rich diversity and beauty. Vestiges of thousands of these dwellings and villages still remain, in locations ranging from Colorado in the north to Chihuahua in the south and from Nevada in the west to eastern New Mexico.
This study presents the most comprehensive architectural survey of the region currently available. Organized in five chronological sections that include 132 professionally rendered site drawings, the book examines architectural evolution from humble pit houses to sophisticated, multistory pueblos. The sections explore concurrent Mogollon, Hohokam, and Anasazi developments, as well as those in the Salado, Sinagua, Virgin River, Kayenta, and other areas, and compare their architecture to contemporary developments in parts of eastern North America and Mesoamerica. The book concludes with a discussion of changes in Native American architecture in response to European influences.
Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba presents a number of works, sixteen reproduced in color, by pre-Columbian artists from the archipelago, covering three millennia of human life in Cuba.
Living under difficult conditions, the first Cubans sculpted their emotions, fears, and hopes on stone, shell, wood, and bones. Much of their art has not previously been available either within or outside of the Caribbean. Ramon Dacal Moure and Manuel Rivero de la Calle describe and interpret the two kinds of prehistoric art found on the island: that of original settlers, the Ciboneys, and that of the Tainos, who had largely replaced the Ciboneys by the time of Columbus.
More than one hundred photographs culled for Cuban museums and collections reveal the superb artistry of the Ciboney and Taino cultures. Idols and amulets carved of stone, coral, and wood; shell masks; stone axes; petroglyphs and pictographs are among the art works never before seen outside of Cuba.
Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba is the first report of archaeological findings in Cuba since 1959 and the first synthesis of Cuban prehistoric art and archaeology since Mark Harrington’s Cuba Before Columbus, published in 1921. Since 1959, Cuban archaeologists have been isolated from research being carried out on other islands in the region, just as other scientists have been unable to work on Cuba or communicate easily with their Cuban colleagues.
While popular interest in and scholarly knowledge of prehistoric art and archaeology have grown in recent years, the Caribbean has been neglected, and Cuba especially. Through Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba, archaeologists and other professionals as well as general readers will come to admire and respect the talent visible in these examples of aboriginal art.
From prehistory to the present, the Indigenous peoples of the Andes have used a visual symbol system—that is, art—to express their sense of the sacred and its immanence in the natural world. Many visual motifs that originated prior to the Incas still appear in Andean art today, despite the onslaught of cultural disruption that native Andeans have endured over several centuries. Indeed, art has always been a unifying power through which Andeans maintain their spirituality, pride, and culture while resisting the oppression of the dominant society.
In this book, Mary Strong takes a significantly new approach to Andean art that links prehistoric to contemporary forms through an ethnographic understanding of Indigenous Andean culture. In the first part of the book, she provides a broad historical survey of Andean art that explores how Andean religious concepts have been expressed in art and how artists have responded to cultural encounters and impositions, ranging from invasion and conquest to international labor migration and the internet. In the second part, Strong looks at eight contemporary art types—the scissors dance (danza de tijeras), home altars (retablos), carved gourds (mates), ceramics (ceramica), painted boards (tablas), weavings (textiles), tinware (hojalateria), and Huamanga stone carvings (piedra de Huamanga). She includes prehistoric and historic information about each art form, its religious meaning, the natural environment and sociopolitical processes that help to shape its expression, and how it is constructed or performed by today’s artists, many of whom are quoted in the book.
The Copan Sculpture Museum in western Honduras features the extraordinary stone carvings of the ancient Maya city known as Copan. The city’s sculptors produced some of the finest and most animated buildings and temples in the Maya area, in addition to stunning monolithic statues and altars. The ruins of Copan were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, and more than 150,000 national and international tourists visit the ancient city each year.
Opened in 1996, the Copan Sculpture Museum was initiated as an international collaboration to preserve Copan’s original stone monuments. Its exhibits represent the best-known examples of building façades and sculptural achievements from the ancient kingdom of Copan. The creation of this on-site museum involved people from all walks of life: archaeologists, artists, architects, and local craftspeople. Today it fosters cultural understanding and promotes Hondurans’ identity with the past.
In The Copan Sculpture Museum, Barbara Fash—one of the principle creators of the museum—tells the inside story of conceiving, designing, and building a local museum with global significance. Along with numerous illustrations and detailed archaeological context for each exhibit in the museum, the book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history and culture of the ancient Maya and a model for working with local communities to preserve cultural heritage.
In Hidden Thunder, renowned watercolor artist Geri Schrab and archaeologist Robert "Ernie" Boszhardt give readers an up-close-and-personal look at rock art. With an eye toward preservation, Schrab and Boszhardt take you with them as they research, document, and interpret at the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs made my Native Americans in past millennia. In addition to publicly accessible sites such as Wisconsin’s Roche-a-Cri State Park and Minnesota’s Jeffers Petroglyphs, Hidden Thunder covers the artistic treasures found at several remote and inaccessible rock art sites—revealing the ancient stories through words, full-color photographs, and artistic renditions.
Offering the duo perspectives of scientist and artist, Boszhardt shares the facts that archaeologists have been able to establish about these important artifacts of our early history, while Schrab offers the artist's experience, describing her emotional and creative response upon encountering and painting these sites. Viewpoints by members of the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Ojibwe, and other Native nations offer additional insight on the historic and cultural significance of these sites. Together these myriad voices reveal layers of meaning and cultural context that emphasize why these fragile resources—often marred by human graffiti and mishandling or damage from the elements—need to be preserved.
Around 1542, descendants of the Aztec rulers of Mexico created accounts of the pre-Hispanic history of the city of Tetzcoco, Mexico, one of the imperial capitals of the Aztec Empire. Painted in iconic script ("picture writing"), the Codex Xolotl, the Quinatzin Map, and the Tlohtzin Map appear to retain and emphasize both pre-Hispanic content and also pre-Hispanic form, despite being produced almost a generation after the Aztecs surrendered to Hernán Cortés in 1521. Yet, as this pioneering study makes plain, the reality is far more complex.
Eduardo de J. Douglas offers a detailed critical analysis and historical contextualization of the manuscripts to argue that colonial economic, political, and social concerns affected both the content of the three Tetzcocan pictorial histories and their archaizing pictorial form. As documents composed by indigenous people to assert their standing as legitimate heirs of the Aztec rulers as well as loyal subjects of the Spanish Crown and good Catholics, the Tetzcocan manuscripts qualify as subtle yet shrewd negotiations between indigenous and Spanish systems of signification and between indigenous and Spanish concepts of real property and political rights. By reading the Tetzcocan manuscripts as calculated responses to the changes and challenges posed by Spanish colonization and Christian evangelization, Douglas's study significantly contributes to and expands upon the scholarship on central Mexican manuscript painting and recent critical investigations of art and political ideology in colonial Latin America.
Shamanism—the practice of entering a trance state to experience visions of a reality beyond the ordinary and to gain esoteric knowledge—has been an important part of life for indigenous societies throughout the Americas from prehistoric times until the present. Much has been written about shamanism in both scholarly and popular literature, but few authors have linked it to another significant visual realm—art. In this pioneering study, Rebecca R. Stone considers how deep familiarity with, and profound respect for, the extra-ordinary visionary experiences of shamanism profoundly affected the artistic output of indigenous cultures in Central and South America before the European invasions of the sixteenth century.
Using ethnographic accounts of shamanic trance experiences, Stone defines a core set of trance vision characteristics, including enhanced senses, ego dissolution, bodily distortions, flying, spinning and undulating sensations, synaesthesia, and physical transformation from the human self into animal and other states of being. Stone then traces these visionary characteristics in ancient artworks from Costa Rica and Peru. She makes a convincing case that these works, especially those of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance state or else convey the perceptual experience of visions by creating deliberately chaotic and distorted conglomerations of partial, inverted, and incoherent images.
Mexico’s streams give forth cool green jade and rich gold; its shores provide coral and dainty pearls. Its brown hills yield silver and copper and gems whose colors form a dazzling palette for the jeweler. And Mexico has never lacked the artists to mold its abundant jewels into finished pieces of beauty.
In this enjoyable volume, Mary L. Davis and Greta Pack show us the splendors of Mexican jewelry. After briefly tracing the history of the jewelry of Mexico, they describe the various types and explain the basic techniques used in handling the metals of Mexican jewelry and in displaying the gems. Finally, they examine the creative accomplishments of some influential twentieth-century jewelry makers.
A favorite among travelers, coilectors, and jewelry makers, Mexican Jewelry has become a classic introduction to the richness and variety of this Mexican folk art.
Images on rocks depicting birds, serpents, deer, and other designs are haunting reminders of prehistoric peoples. This book documents Missouri's rich array of petroglyphs and pictographs, analyzing the many aspects of these rock carvings and paintings to show how such representations of ritual activities can enhance our understanding of Native American culture.Missouri is a particularly important site for rock art because it straddles the Plains, the Ozarks, and the Southeast. Carol Diaz-Granados and James Duncan have established a model for analyzing this rock art as archaeological data and have mapped the patterning of fifty-eight major motifs across the state. Of particular importance is their analysis of motifs from Mississippi River Valley sites, including Cahokia.
The authors include interpretive discussions on iconography and ideology, drawing on years of research in the ethnographic records and literature of Native Americans linguistically related to earlier peoples. Their distribution maps show how motifs provide clues to patterns of movement among prehistoric peoples and to the range of belief systems. Rock art is an aspect of the archaeological record that has received little attention, and the art is particularly subject to the ravages of time. By documenting these fragile images, this book makes a major contribution to rock art research in North America.
Showcases the wealth of new research on sacred imagery found in twelve states and four Canadian provinces
In archaeology, rock-art—any long-lasting marking made on a natural surface—is similar to material culture (pottery and tools) because it provides a record of human activity and ideology at that site. Petroglyphs, pictographs, and dendroglyphs (tree carvings) have been discovered and recorded throughout the eastern woodlands of North America on boulders, bluffs, and trees, in caves and in rock shelters. These cultural remnants scattered on the landscape can tell us much about the belief systems of the inhabitants that left them behind.
The Rock-Art of Eastern North America brings together 20 papers from recent research at sites in eastern North America, where humidity and the actions of weather, including acid rain, can be very damaging over time. Contributors to this volume range from professional archaeologists and art historians to avocational archaeologists, including a surgeon, a lawyer, two photographers, and an aerospace engineer. They present information, drawings, and photographs of sites ranging from the Seven Sacred Stones in Iowa to the Bald Friar Petroglyphs of Maryland and from the Lincoln Rise Site in Tennessee to the Nisula Site in Quebec.
Discussions of the significance of artist gender, the relationship of rock-art to mortuary caves, and the suggestive link to the peopling of the continent are particularly notable contributions. Discussions include the history, ethnography, recording methods, dating, and analysis of the subject sites and integrate these with the known archaeological data.
Making a foundational contribution to Mesoamerican studies, this book explores Aztec painted manuscripts and sculptures, as well as indigenous and colonial Spanish texts, to offer the first integrated study of food and ritual in Aztec art.
Aztec painted manuscripts and sculptural works, as well as indigenous and Spanish sixteenth-century texts, were filled with images of foodstuffs and food processing and consumption. Both gods and humans were depicted feasting, and food and eating clearly played a pervasive, integral role in Aztec rituals. Basic foods were transformed into sacred elements within particular rituals, while food in turn gave meaning to the ritual performance.
This pioneering book offers the first integrated study of food and ritual in Aztec art. Elizabeth Morán asserts that while feasting and consumption are often seen as a secondary aspect of ritual performance, a close examination of images of food rites in Aztec ceremonies demonstrates that the presence—or, in some cases, the absence—of food in the rituals gave them significance. She traces the ritual use of food from the beginning of Aztec mythic history through contact with Europeans, demonstrating how food and ritual activity, the everyday and the sacred, blended in ceremonies that ranged from observances of births, marriages, and deaths to sacrificial offerings of human hearts and blood to feed the gods and maintain the cosmic order. Morán also briefly considers continuities in the use of pre-Hispanic foods in the daily life and ritual practices of contemporary Mexico. Bringing together two domains that have previously been studied in isolation, Sacred Consumption promises to be a foundational work in Mesoamerican studies.
San rock paintings, scattered over the range of southern Africa, are considered by many to be the very earliest examples of representational art. There are as many as 15,000 known rock art sites, created over the course of thousands of years up until the nineteenth century. There are possibly just as many still awaiting discovery.
Taking as his starting point the magnificent Linton panel in the Iziko-South African Museum in Cape Town, J. D. Lewis-Williams examines the artistic and cultural significance of rock art and how this art sheds light on how San image-makers conceived their world. It also details the European encounter with rock art as well as the contentious European interaction with the artists’ descendants, the contemporary San people.
A great metropolis of the ancient world, “golden” Sardis was the place where legendary Croesus ruled, where coinage was invented. Since 1958 an archaeological team has been working at the site to retrieve evidence of the rich Lydian culture as well as of the prehistoric Anatolian settlement and the Hellenistic and Roman civilizations that followed the Lydian kingdom. Here is a comprehensive and fully illustrated account of what the team has learned, presented by the eminent archaeologist who led the expedition.
George Hanfmann and his collaborators survey the environment of Sardis, the crops and animal life, the mineral resources, the industries for which the city was famed, and the pattern of settlement. The history of Sardis is then reconstructed, from the early Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. Archaeologists who have done the excavating contribute descriptions of shops and houses, graves, the precinct and Altar of Artemis, the Acropolis, gold-working installations and techniques, the bath and gymnasium complex, and the Synagogue. The material finds are studied in the context of other evidence, and there emerges an overall picture of the Lydian society, culture, and religion, the Greek and subsequently the Roman impact, the Jewish community, and the Christianization of Sardis. Historians of the ancient world will find this account invaluable.
Illustrated with more than 160 color images, this book describes the recent scientific findings about the mosaics in detail, revealing them to be rich repositories of information about ancient Mexico. The materials used to construct the mosaics demonstrate their makers’ deep knowledge of the natural world and its resources. The effort that would have been involved in procuring the materials testifies to the mosaics’ value and significance in a society imbued with myths and religious beliefs. The British Museum’s analyses have provided evidence of the way that the materials were prepared and assembled, the tools used, and the choices that were made by artisans. In addition, by drawing on historical accounts including early codices, as well as recent archaeological discoveries, specialists have learned more about the place of the mosaics in ancient Mexican culture.
Filled with information about the religion, art, and natural and cultural history as well as the extraordinary ability of modern science to enable detailed insight into past eras, Turquoise Mosaics from Mexico offers an overview of the production, utilization, and eventual fate of these beautiful and mysterious objects.
Jade, stone tools, honey and wax, ceramics, rum, land. What gave these commodities value in the Maya world, and how were those values determined? What factors influenced the rise and fall of a commodity’s value? The Value of Things examines the social and ritual value of commodities in Mesoamerica, providing a new and dynamic temporal view of the roles of trade of commodities and elite goods from the prehistoric Maya to the present.
Editors Jennifer P. Mathews and Thomas H. Guderjan begin the volume with a review of the theoretical literature related to the “value of things.” Throughout the volume, well-known scholars offer chapters that examine the value of specific commodities in a broad time frame—from prehistoric, colonial, and historic times to the present. Using cases from the Maya world on both the local level and the macro-regional, contributors look at jade, agricultural products (ancient and contemporary), stone tools, salt, cacao (chocolate), honey and wax, henequen, sugarcane and rum, land, ceramic (ancient and contemporary), and contemporary tourist handicrafts.
Each chapter author looks into what made their specific commodity valuable to ancient, historic, and contemporary peoples in the Maya region. Often a commodity’s worth goes far beyond its financial value; indeed, in some cases, it may not even be viewed as something that can be sold. Other themes include the rise and fall in commodity values based on perceived need, rarity or overproduction, and change in available raw materials; the domestic labor side of commodities, including daily life of the laborers; and relationships between elites and nonelites in production.
Examining, explaining, and theorizing how people ascribe value to what they trade, this scholarly volume provides a rich look at local and regional Maya case studies through centuries of time.
Rani T. Alexander
Dean E. Arnold
Tiffany C. Cain
Scott L. Fedick
Thomas H. Guderjan
Joshua J. Kwoka
Richard M. Leventhal
Jennifer P. Mathews
Allan D. Meyers
Mary Katherine Scott
E. Cory Sills
As archaeologists peel away the jungle covering that has both obscured and preserved the ancient Maya cities of Mexico and Central America, other scholars have only a limited time to study and understand the sites before the jungle, weather, and human encroachment efface them again, perhaps forever. This urgency underlies Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, Carolyn Tate's comprehensive catalog and analysis of all the city's extant buildings and sculptures.
During a year of field work, Tate fully documented the appearance of the site as of 1987. For each sculpture and building, she records its discovery, present location, condition, measurements, and astronomical orientation and reconstructs its Long Counts and Julian dates from Calendar Rounds. Line drawings and photographs provide a visual document of the art and architecture of Yaxchilan.
More than mere documentation, however, the book explores the phenomenon of art within Maya society. Tate establishes a general framework of cultural practices, spiritual beliefs, and knowledge likely to have been shared by eighth-century Maya people. The process of making public art is considered in relation to other modes of aesthetic expression, such as oral tradition and ritual. This kind of analysis is new in Maya studies and offers fresh insight into the function of these magnificent cities and the powerful role public art and architecture play in establishing cultural norms, in education in a semiliterate society, and in developing the personal and community identities of individuals.
Several chapters cover the specifics of art and iconography at Yaxchilan as a basis for examining the creation of the city in the Late Classic period. Individual sculptures are attributed to the hands of single artists and workshops, thus aiding in dating several of the monuments. The significance of headdresses, backracks, and other costume elements seen on monuments is tied to specific rituals and fashions, and influence from other sites is traced. These analyses lead to a history of the design of the city under the reigns of Shield Jaguar (A.D. 681-741) and Bird Jaguar IV (A.D. 752-772).
In Tate's view, Yaxchilan and other Maya cities were designed as both a theater for ritual activities and a nexus of public art and social structures that were crucial in defining the self within Maya society.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press