Along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers, the archaeological remains of earthen pyramids, plazas, large communities, and works of art and artifacts testify to Native American civilizations that thrived there between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1500. This fascinating book presents exciting new information on the art and cultures of these ancient peoples and features hundreds of gorgeous photographs of important artworks, artifacts, and ritual objects excavated from Amerindian archaeological sites.
Drawing on excavation findings and extensive research, the contributors to the book document a succession of distinct ancient populations in the pre-Columbian world of the American Midwest and Southeast. A team of interdisciplinary scholars examines the connections between archaeological remains of different regions and the themes, forms, and rituals that continue in specific tribes of today. The book also includes the personal reflections of contemporary Native Americans who discuss their perspectives on the significance of the fascinating and beautiful prehistoric artifacts as well as their own cultural practices today.
The streamlined ''birdstones'' and ''boatstones'' (weights for spear throwers) from the Archaic period (circa 6000-500 B.C.) would have delighted Brancusi. Among the Hopewell artifacts cut from sheets of mica during the ''Woodland'' period (1000 B.C. to A.D. 1000) are a heartstopping talon of a bird of prey and an outstretched hand with bent thumb and elongated fingers. In such luminous objects there is, as the book notes, ''a suggestion of communication between the human community and the world of spirits beyond.''