For much of the twentieth century, Mesopotamia was thought to he the singular "Cradle of Civilization;" and the agents of change that brought it about were thought to be demographic, ecological, and technological. Bronze Age Mesopotamian accomplishments were believed to have diffused outward, influencing the development of civilization in the rest of the world. Part of this Mesopocentric view was revised as archaeological evidence revealed that other unique civilizations had existed in both the Old and New Worlds, but the traditional Near Eastern pattern of development continued to serve as a model.
In the mid-1980s, however, Harvard’s Kwang-chih Chang proposed in Symbols--a publication of Harvard’s Peabody Museum and Department of Anthropology--that China’s first civilization did not evolve according to the conventional Mesopotamian model and argued instead for a new paradigm for understanding the origins of civilization in ancient China and the New World.
In this collection of subsequent Symbols articles and other essays, Maya and Near Eastern studies specialists engage in a stimulating debate of Chang’s thesis, also presented here.
"A monumental achievement"—American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Anthropology at Harvard recounts the rich and complex history of anthropology at America’s oldest university, beginning with the earliest precursors of the discipline within the study of natural history. The story unfolds through fascinating vignettes about the many individuals—famous and obscure alike—who helped shape the discipline at Harvard College and the Peabody Museum. Lively anecdotes provide in-depth portraits of dozens of key individuals, including Louis and Alexander Agassiz, Frederic Ward Putnam, Mary Hemenway, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Sylvanus Morley, A. V. Kidder, and Antonio Apache. The text also throws new light on longstanding puzzles and debates, such as Franz Boas’s censure by the American Anthropological Association and the involvement of Harvard archaeologists in espionage work for the U.S. government during World War I.
The authors take a “cohort” perspective, looking beyond the big names to the larger network of colleagues that formed the dynamic backdrop to the development of ideas. The significant contributions of amateurs and private funders to the early growth of the field are highlighted, as is the active participation of women and of students and scholars of diverse ethnic backgrounds. A monumental achievement, Anthropology at Harvard makes an important contribution to the history of Americanist anthropology.
"Overall, Anthropology at Harvard provides a comprehensive view of the East Coast development of the discipline and handles a prodigious amount of data remarkably well."—Donald McVicker, Isis >> read the full review
"Anthropology at Harvard will serve as an important, though limited, work of reference for historians of archaeology and anthropology."—Vincent Crapanzano, "Natives," The Times Literary Supplement >> read the full review
Winner, 2008 New England Book Show (General Trade, Cover)
Gold Medal, 2009 IPPY Awards (West Mountain - Best Regional Non-Fiction)
Remembering Awatovi is the engaging story of a major archaeological expedition on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. Centered on the large Pueblo village of Awatovi, with its Spanish mission church and beautiful kiva murals, the excavations are renowned not only for the data they uncovered but also for the interdisciplinary nature of the investigations. In archaeological lore they are also remembered for the diverse, fun-loving, and distinguished cast of characters who participated in or visited the dig.
Hester Davis’s lively account—part history of archaeology, part social history—is told largely in the words of the participants, among whom were two of Davis’s siblings, artist Penny Davis Worman and archaeologist Mott Davis. Life in the remote field camp abounded with delightful storytelling, delicious food, and good-natured high-jinks. Baths were taken in a stock tank, beloved camp automobiles were given personal names, and a double bed had to be trucked across the desert and up a mesa to celebrate a memorable wedding.
Remembering Awatovi is illustrated with over 160 portraits and photographs of camp life. Essays by Eric Polingyouma and Brian Fagan enrich the presentation.
The 1968 excavation of the Neville Site in Manchester, New Hampshire, was a major event in the archaeological history of New England. Analysis of the site extended the known duration of continuous occupation in the region by some 3,000 years and demonstrated early connections between the New England area and the Southeast. The Neville Site was first occupied nearly 8,000 years ago, when the Eastern coastal plain from North Carolina to New Hampshire was essentially a single cultural province. Current excavations in Manchester have reinvigorated interest in the archaeology of New Hampshire and created a demand for this facsimile edition of the original 1976 publication.
With style and depth, Lorna Marshall leads the reader through the intricacies, ambiguities, and silences of !Kung beliefs. Her narrative, based on fieldwork among the Bushmen of the Kalahari in the early 1950s, brings into focus a way of life that appears to have existed for millennia. She presents the culture, beliefs, and spirituality of one of the last true hunting-and-gathering peoples by focusing on members of different bands as they reveal their own views. This account, with photography by John Marshall, presents a system of beliefs, one in which personified deities and unpersonifled supernatural forces (n!ow and n/um) interact with man and the natural world. The !Kung believe that this interaction accounts for much of the mystery of life and the vicissitudes of the good and evil that befall mankind. The book also depicts an egalitarian lifestyle based on sharing and group awareness, a lifestyle that has not survived intact the increasing integration of the Bushmen into the modern world.
A companion volume to her 1976 work, The !Kung of Nyae Nyae, this book was published to mark the one-hundredth birthday of Lorna Marshall (1898 – 2002).