Handbook of South American Archaeology

ISBN 13: 9780387752280

Handbook of South American Archaeology

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9780387752280: Handbook of South American Archaeology

Perhaps the contributions of South American archaeology to the larger field of world archaeology have been inadequately recognized. If so, this is probably because there have been relatively few archaeologists working in South America outside of Peru and recent advances in knowledge in other parts of the continent are only beginning to enter larger archaeological discourse. Many ideas of and about South American archaeology held by scholars from outside the area are going to change irrevocably with the appearance of the present volume. Not only does the Handbook of South American Archaeology (HSAA) provide immense and broad information about ancient South America, the volume also showcases the contributions made by South Americans to social theory. Moreover, one of the merits of this volume is that about half the authors (30) are South Americans, and the bibliographies in their chapters will be especially useful guides to Spanish and Portuguese literature as well as to the latest research. It is inevitable that the HSAA will be compared with the multi-volume Handbook of South American Indians (HSAI), with its detailed descriptions of indigenous peoples of South America, that was organized and edited by Julian Steward. Although there are heroic archaeological essays in the HSAI, by the likes of Junius Bird, Gordon Willey, John Rowe, and John Murra, Steward states frankly in his introduction to Volume Two that “arch- ology is included by way of background” to the ethnographic chapters.

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From the Back Cover:

Handbook of South American Archaeology
Edited by
Helaine Silverman
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

and

William H. Isbell
State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, USA

The Handbook of South American Archaeology has been created as a major reference work for archaeologists working in South America, professors and their upper-division undergraduate and graduate students in South American archaeology courses including areal courses (Central Andes, North Andes, tropical lowlands), archaeologists working elsewhere in the world who want to learn about South American prehistory in a single volume. 

The contributions of this seminal handbook have been commissioned from leading local and global authorities on South America. Authors present the dynamic evolutionary processes of the ancient societies and principal geographical regions of the continent and consider issues such as environmental setting and ecological adaptations, social equality/inequality, identity formation, long-distance/intercultural interaction, religious systems and their material manifestations, ideological orientations, and political and economic organization as these developed over time.

The volume is organized thematically to promote and facilitate geographical comparisons, notably between the Andes and greater Amazonia. The bibliography section of each chapter is a valuable research tool in itself for readers wishing to delve deeper into the particular topics under consideration. Of particular merit and originality is the final section dealing with the ethics and practice of archaeology in South America today with each contribution written by a local scholar.

This edited work presents long-term research results while simultaneously highlighting the most exciting new research and greatest archaeological problems recently resolved or still awaiting solution. Chapters are written in accessible language and each contribution includes maps and many other figures and photographs to illustrate the text.

Handbook of South American Archaeology belongs on the bookshelf of every archaeologists working or living in South American but also will be of interest to those who study larger anthropological issues - such as cultural adaptation and state formation - in the prehistoric and historic periods.

Review:

Aus den Rezensionen: “Mit dem vorliegenden Handbuch (HSAA) bekommt der Leser nicht nur ein besonders umfangreiches und schweres Werk in die Hand. Auch inhaltlich hat das Buch eine Menge zu bieten. ... Eine umfangreiche Bibliografie am Ende jedes Beitrages zeigt dem Leser, wo er weitere und ausführliche Informationen finden kann. ... Ziel ist eine fundierte archäologische Information für ausgewählte Gesellschaften und Regionen. ... Die einzelnen Beiträge selbst sind sehr informativ, bieten einen aktuellen Forschungsstand und weisen zahlreiche Abbildungen, Karten und Fotos ...“ (in: Amerindian Research, 2009, Vol. 474, Issue 14, S. 258 f.)

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