Published on August 15, 2013 by Carol
Book title: Native Americans Before 1492: The Moundbuilding Centers of the Eastern Woodlands (Sources & Studies in World History)
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Author: Lynda Norene Shaffer
Foreword: Kevin Reilly
While the book’s title suggests a return to 19th-century archaeology and a rehashing of outdated romantic speculation about the mysterious Mound Builders, Shaffer instead offers a factually sound summary of current archaeological knowledge. Although using the practice of mound building to classify an entire group of people is potentially demeaning, the author convincingly argues that the chronology and distribution of earthen burial and platform mounds and geometric enclosures is still an effective way of organizing information. The book is the most deftly crafted introduction to the prehistory of the eastern United States now available. Especially rewarding is the concluding chapter, in which the author looks at the last 500 years from a global perspective and offers sobering observations on the expansion of Western European culture into the Americas. Highly recommended for the general reader.