Archaeology of the Americas
The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology of North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. This includes the study of pre-historic/Pre-Columbian and historic indigenous American peoples, as well as historical archaeology of more recent eras; the Pre-Columbian era is the term used to encompass all period subdivisions in the history of the Americas spanning the time from the original settlement of the Americas in the Upper Paleolithic up until to the European colonization of the Americas during the early modern period. While technically referring to the era before the voyages of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1504, in practice the term includes the history of American indigenous cultures until they were conquered or influenced by Europeans if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus' initial landing; the pre-Columbian archaeological record in the Americas is conventionally divided into five large phases according to an enduring system established in Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips's 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology.
This differs from old world prehistory where the three-age system, with the Stone Age divided into Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remain in general use. Numerous regional and sub-regional divisions have since been defined to distinguish various cultures through time and space, as archaeologists recognized that these generalised stages did not adequately correspond to the cultural variation that existed in different locations in the Americas. Lithic stageDefined by the ostensible prevalence of big-game hunting. In most places, this can be dated to before 8000 BCE, starting most around 16,500 BCE. Examples include the Clovis culture and Folsom tradition groups; the Archaic stageDefined by the intensive gathering of wild resources with the decline of the big-game hunting lifestyle. Archaic cultures can be dated from 8000 to 1000 BCE. Examples include the Archaic Southwest, the Arctic small tool tradition, the Poverty Point culture, the Chan-Chan culture in southern Chile.
The Formative stageDefined as "village agriculture" based. Most of these can be dated from 1000 BCE to 500 CE. Examples include the Dorset culture, Zapotec civilization, Mimbres culture, Olmec and Mississippian cultures; the Classic stageDefined as "early civilizations", dating from 500 to 1200 CE. Willey and Phillips considered only cultures from Mesoamerica and Peru to have achieved this level of complexity. Examples include the Toltec; the Post-Classic stageDefined as "later prehispanic civilizations" and dated from 1200 CE until the advent of European colonisation. The late Maya and the Aztec cultures were Post-Classic. Today, for Meso- and Andean South America, the periods are more classified using the "Horizon" terminology, with "Early Horizon" broadly equating to the Late Formative stage. "Horizons" are periods of cultural stability and political unity, with "Intermediate periods" covering the politically fragmented transition between them. In the Andes, there are three Horizon periods, with two Intermediate periods between them.
The Horizons, their dominant cultures are: Early Horizon, Chavin. Since 1990, in the United States, physical anthropology and archaeological investigations based on the study of human remains are complicated by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which provides for the bodies of Native Americans and associated grave goods to be turned over to the recognized tribal body most affiliated with the remains. In some cases, that of Kennewick Man, these laws have been subject to close judicial scrutiny and great intellectual conflict. Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Prehistoric groups in this area are characterized by agricultural villages and large ceremonial and politico-religious capitals This culture area included some of the most complex and advanced cultures of the Americas, including the Olmec, the Maya, the Aztec.
Molecular genetics study suggests that surviving Amerindian populations derived from a theoretical single founding population from only 50 to 70 genetic contributors Preliminary research, restricted to only 9 genomic regions have shown a genetic link between original Americas and Asia populations. The study does not address the question of separate migrations for these groups, excludes other DNA data-sets; the American Journal of Human Genetics released an article in 2007 stating "Here we show, by using 86 complete mitochondrial genomes, that all Indigenous American haplogroups, including Haplogroup X, were part of a single founding population." Amerindian groups in the Bering Strait region exhibit the strongest DNA or mitochondrial DNA relations to Siberian peoples. The genetic diversity of Amerindian indigenous groups increase with distance from the assumed entry point into the Americas. Certain genetic diversity patterns from West to East suggest at least some coastal migration events. Geneticists have variously estimated that peoples of Asia and the Americas were part of the same population from 42,000 to 21,000 years ago
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, their mixtures, which are called alloys. A special type of alloy was invented in 1995, when Taiwanese scientists invented the world's first high-entropy alloys of metals that can withstand the highest temperatures and pressures for use in industrial and technological applications such as state of the art race cars, submarines, nuclear reactors, jet airplanes, nuclear weapons, long range hypersonic missiles and many other areas of technology. Metallurgy is used to separate metals from their ore. Metallurgy is the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to the production of metals, the engineering of metal components for usage in products for consumers and manufacturers; the production of metals involves the processing of ores to extract the metal they contain, the mixture of metals, sometimes with other elements, to produce alloys.
Metallurgy is distinguished from the craft of metalworking, although metalworking relies on metallurgy, as medicine relies on medical science, for technical advancement. The science of metallurgy is subdivided into physical metallurgy. Metallurgy is subdivided into ferrous metallurgy and non-ferrous metallurgy. Ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on iron while non-ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on other metals; the production of ferrous metals accounts for 95 percent of world metal production. The roots of metallurgy derive from Ancient Greek: μεταλλουργός, metallourgós, "worker in metal", from μέταλλον, métallon, "metal" + ἔργον, érgon, "work"; the word was an alchemist's term for the extraction of metals from minerals, the ending -urgy signifying a process manufacturing: it was discussed in this sense in the 1797 Encyclopædia Britannica. In the late 19th century it was extended to the more general scientific study of metals and related processes. In English, the pronunciation is the more common one in the Commonwealth.
The pronunciation is the more common one in the USA, is the first-listed variant in various American dictionaries. The earliest recorded metal employed by humans appears to be gold, which can be found free or "native". Small amounts of natural gold have been found in Spanish caves used during the late Paleolithic period, c. 40,000 BC. Silver, copper and meteoric iron can be found in native form, allowing a limited amount of metalworking in early cultures. Egyptian weapons made from meteoric iron in about 3000 BC were prized as "daggers from heaven". Certain metals, notably tin and copper, can be recovered from their ores by heating the rocks in a fire or blast furnace, a process known as smelting; the first evidence of this extractive metallurgy, dating from the 5th and 6th millennia BC, has been found at archaeological sites in Majdanpek and Plocnik, in present-day Serbia. To date, the earliest evidence of copper smelting is found at the Belovode site near Plocnik; this site produced a copper axe from 5500 BC.
The earliest use of lead is documented from the late neolithic settlement of Yarim Tepe in Iraq, "The earliest lead finds in the ancient Near East are a 6th millennium BC bangle from Yarim Tepe in northern Iraq and a later conical lead piece from Halaf period Arpachiyah, near Mosul. As native lead is rare, such artifacts raise the possibility that lead smelting may have begun before copper smelting." Copper smelting is documented at this site at about the same time period, although the use of lead seems to precede copper smelting. Early metallurgy is documented at the nearby site of Tell Maghzaliyah, which seems to be dated earlier, lacks pottery. Other signs of early metals are found from the third millennium BC in places like Palmela, Los Millares, Stonehenge. However, the ultimate beginnings cannot be ascertained and new discoveries are both continuous and ongoing. In the Near East, about 3500 BC, it was discovered that by combining copper and tin, a superior metal could be made, an alloy called bronze.
This represented a major technological shift known as the Bronze Age. The extraction of iron from its ore into a workable metal is much more difficult than for copper or tin; the process appears to have been invented by the Hittites in about 1200 BC. The secret of extracting and working iron was a key factor in the success of the Philistines. Historical developments in ferrous metallurgy can be found in a wide variety of past cultures and civilizations; this includes the ancient and medieval kingdoms and empires of the Middle East and Near East, ancient Iran, ancient Egypt, ancient Nubia, Anatolia, Ancient Nok, the Greeks and Romans of ancient Europe, medieval Europe and medieval China and medieval India and medieval Japan, amongst others. Many applications and devices associated or involved in metallurgy were established in ancient China, such as the innovation of the blast furnace, cast iron, hydraulic-powered trip hammers, double acting piston bellows. A 16th century book by Georg Agricola called De re metallica describes the developed and complex processes of mining metal ores, metal extraction and metallurgy of the time.
Agricola has been described as the "father of metallurgy". Extractive metallurgy is the practice of removing valuable metals from an ore and refining the extracted
Caddoan Mississippian culture
The Caddoan Mississippian culture was a prehistoric Native American culture considered by archaeologists as a variant of the Mississippian culture. The Caddoan Mississippians covered a large territory, including what is now Eastern Oklahoma, Western Arkansas, Northeast Texas, Northwest Louisiana. Archaeological evidence that the cultural continuity is unbroken from prehistory to the present; the Caddoan Mississippians are thought to be an descendants of Woodland period groups, the Fourche Maline culture and Mossy Grove culture peoples who were living in the area around 200 BCE to 800 CE. They were linked to other peoples across much of the Eastern Woodlands through trade networks; this time period saw the introduction of pottery making from peoples to their east, by 500 CE the bow and arrow from the Southwest. By 800 CE early Caddoan society began to coalesce into one of the earlier Mississippian cultures; some villages began to gain prominence as ritual centers, with elite residences and temple mound constructions.
The mounds were arranged around open plazas, which were kept swept clean and were used for ceremonial occasions. As complex religious and social ideas developed, some people and family lineages gained prominence over others; this hierarchical structure is marked in the archaeological record by the appearance of large tombs with exotic grave offerings of obvious symbols of authority and prestige. By 1000 CE a society now known as "Caddoan" had emerged; this included the increased prominence of ritual centers and the development of a more stratified social hierarchy with some lineage and kin groups exerting more control over the community. This is evidenced by the tomb burials of people thought to be leaders, accompanied by elaborate grave goods and sacrificial retainer burials of family members and followers. Major sites such as Spiro and the Battle Mound Site are in the Arkansas River Valley and the Red River Valley these valleys being the largest and most fertile areas in the Caddoan region, where maize agriculture would have been the most productive.
The Caddoans had developed a distinct type of pottery making described by the de Soto expedition as some of the finest they had seen in their European homeland. By 1200, the numerous villages and farmsteads established throughout the Caddo world had begun extensive maize agriculture. Recent excavations have revealed more cultural diversity within the region than had been expected by scholars in sites along the Arkansas River. Caddoan Mississippian towns had a more irregular layout of earthen mounds and associated villages than did towns in the Middle Mississippian heartland to the east, they lacked the wooden palisade fortifications found in the major Middle Mississippian towns. Living on the western edge of the Mississippian world, the Caddoans may have faced fewer military threats from their neighbors, their societies may have had a somewhat lower level of social stratification. The location of the western edge of the Eastern Woodlands may account for these differences; the climate west of the woodlands was drier, hindering maize production, the lower population on the plains to the west may have meant fewer neighboring chiefdoms with whom to compete and contend.
However, around 1400 CE, Caddoan populations had peaked. After this point many ritual centers begin to decline in population. A more dispersed settlement system developed, with the bulk of the people living on scattered homesteads and small farms rather than in large villages. By this time the earlier broad cultural unity of the area began to break down, with many distinct local variations developing. Caddoan Mississippian peoples were connected to the larger Mississippian world to the east and other cultures to the southwest by trade networks which spanned the North American continent. Artifacts found in "The Great Mortuary" at the Spiro site included wood, conch shell, basketry, woven fabric, fur and carved stone statues; some artifacts came from as far away as Cahokia in Illinois and Ocmulgee in Georgia, Moundville in Alabama. Many featured the elaborate symbolism of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, a multiregional and pan-linguistic trade and religious network. Exotic material from other regions found at Caddoan Mississippian sites included colored flint from New Mexico, copper from the Great Lakes, conch shells from the Gulf Coast, mica from the Carolinas.
The Spiro site is the only Mississippian site. This is a piece of black obsidian from Mexico reaching this site through Caddoan Mississippian trade with peoples to the southwest. Using these valued materials, Mississippian artists created exquisite works of art expressing their cultural identity and their complex spiritual beliefs; the Caddoan Mississippians were speakers of many Caddoan languages. The Caddoan languages once had a broad geographic distribution; the modern languages in the Caddoan family include Pawnee. Both are now spoken by tribal elders; when the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led an expedition into what is now the southeastern United States in the 1540s, they encountered Native American groups recorded as the Naguatex, Nishone and Nondacao. They are now believed to be Caddo villages, it is estimated that in 1520, the many tribes of people numbered about 250,000. Over the next 250 years the population of these Caddoan-speaking peoples was reduced by epidemics of diseases inadvertently brought
Mogollon culture is an archaeological culture of Native American peoples from Southern New Mexico and Arizona, Northern Sonora and Chihuahua, Western Texas, a region known as Oasisamerica. The Mogollon culture is one of the major prehistoric Southwestern cultural divisions of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico; the culture flourished from the archaic period, c. 200 CE, to either 1450 or 1540 CE, when the Spanish arrived. The name Mogollon comes from the Mogollon Mountains, which were named after Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, Spanish Governor of New Spain from 1712 to 1715; the name was defined in 1936 by archaeologist Emil W. Haury; the distinct facets of Mogollon culture were recorded by Emil Haury, based on his excavations in 1931, 1933, 1934 at the Harris Village in Mimbres, New Mexico, the Mogollon Village on the upper San Francisco River in New Mexico Haury recognized differences between architecture and artifacts from these sites as compared with sites in the Hohokam archaeological culture area and the Ancestral Pueblo archaeological culture area.
Key differences included brown-paste, coil-and-scrape pottery excavated semi-subterranean pit-houses and different ceremonial architecture. Eight decades of subsequent research have confirmed Haury's initial findings. Today, the distinctiveness of the Mogollon pottery manufacture, architectural construction, ground-stone tool design and customs of residence location, mortuary treatment is recognized; the earliest Mogollon pithouses were deep and either oval-shaped. Over time, Mogollon people not as deep, their villages had kivas, or round, semi-subterranean ceremonial structures. Mogollon origins remain a matter of speculation. One model holds that the Mogollon emerged from a preceding Desert Archaic tradition that links Mogollon ancestry with the first prehistoric human occupations of the area. In this model, cultural distinctions emerged in the larger region when populations grew great enough to establish villages and larger communities. An alternative possibility holds that the Mogollon were descendants of early farmers who migrated from farming regions in central Mexico around 3500 BCE, who displaced descendants of the antecedent Desert Archaic peoples.
A third view is that at the time of the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture the Cochise culture had been immigrants into the area about 5000 BCE, were not linked to the earlier inhabitants, but were receptive to cultural dissemination from the farmers of Central Mexico. The Mogollon were foragers who augmented their subsistence efforts by farming. Through the first millennium CE, dependence on farming increased. Water control features are common among Mimbres branch sites from the 10th through 12th centuries CE; the nature and density of Mogollon residential villages changed through time. The earliest Mogollon villages are small hamlets composed of several pithouses. Village sizes increased by the 11th century surface pueblos became common. Cliff-dwellings became common during 14th centuries. Research on Mogollon culture has led to the recognition of regional variants, of which the most recognized in popular media is the Mimbres culture. Others include the Jornada, Reserve, Point of Pines, San Simon, Upper Gila branches.
Although the Mimbres culture is the most well-known subset of the Mogollon archaeological culture-area, the entire Mogollon occupation spans a greater interval of time and a vastly larger area than is encompassed by the Mimbres culture. Mogollon culture is divided into five periods proposed by Joe Ben Wheat in 1955: Mogollon 1: Pine Lawn, Penasco, Circle Prairie, Hilltop phases Mogollon 2: San Lorenzo, Dos Cabezas, Circle Prairie, Cottonwood phases Mogollon 3: San Francisco, Galiuro and San Marcial phases Mogollon 4: Three Circle, Corduroy and Capitan phases Mogollon 5, including the Classic Mimbres phrase: Mangus, Encinas, Tularosa, Dona Anna, Three Rivers, El Paso, San Anders phases. An alternate way of viewing Mogollon culture is through three periods of housing types: Early Pithouse Late Pithouse Mogollon Pueblo. Archaeological sites attributed to the Mogollon culture are found in the Gila Wilderness, Mimbres River Valley, along the Upper Gila river and Hueco Tanks, an area of low mountains between the Franklin Mountains to the west and the Hueco Mountains to the east.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in southwestern New Mexico was established as a National Monument on 16 November 1907. It contains several archaeological sites attributed to the Mimbres branch. At the headwaters of the Gila, Mimbres populations adjoined another more northern branch of the Mogollon culture; the TJ Ruin, for example, is a Classic Mimbres phase pueblo, however the cliff dwellings are Tularosa phase. The Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is 32 mi northeast of El Paso, Texas. Mimbres may, depending on its context, refer to a tradition within a subregion of the Mogollon culture area or to an interva
Chichimeca was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples who were established in present-day Bajio region of Mexico. Chichimeca carried the same sense as the Roman term "barbarian" to describe Germanic tribes; the name, with its pejorative sense, was adopted by the Spanish Empire. For the Spanish, in the words of scholar Charlotte M. Gradie, "the Chichimecas were a wild, nomadic people who lived north of the Valley of Mexico, they had no fixed dwelling places, lived by hunting, wore little clothes and fiercely resisted foreign intrusion into their territory, which happened to contain silver mines the Spanish wished to exploit."In modern times, only one ethnic group is customarily referred to as Chichimecs, namely the Chichimeca Jonaz, a few thousand of whom live in the state of Guanajuato. The Chichimeca people consisted of eight nations; as the Spaniards worked towards consolidating the rule of New Spain over the indigenous peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Chichimecan nations resisted fiercely, although a number of native groups of the region allied with the Spanish.
The most long-lasting of these conflicts was the Chichimeca War, resulting in the defeat of the Spanish Empire and a decisive victory for the Chichimeca Confederation. Many of the peoples known broadly as Chichimeca are unknown today. For example nothing is known about the peoples referred to as the Guachichil, Zacateco, Tecuexe, or Guamare. Others, such as the Opata or Eudeve, extinct as a people. Still other Chichimec peoples maintain separate identities into the present day, such as the Otomi, Chichimeca Jonaz, Huichol, Yaqui, Mayo, O'odham and the Tepehuan peoples; the Nahuatl name Chīchīmēcah means "inhabitants of Chichiman," Chichiman meaning "area of milk." It is sometimes said to be related to chichi "dog", but the is in chichi are both short while those in Chīchīmēcah are long, which changes the meaning as vowel length is phonemic in Nahuatl. The Nahua used the word "Chichimeca" to refer to their own ancient history as a nomadic hunter-gatherer group, in contrast to their more urban culture, which they identified as Toltecatl.
In modern Mexico, the word "Chichimeca" can have pejorative connotations such as "primitive," "savage," "uneducated," and "native." The first descriptions of "Chichimecs" are from the early colonization period. In 1526, Hernán Cortés wrote a letter about the northern Chichimec tribes, who were not as "civilized" to him as the Aztecs, he commented that they might be used to work in the mines. The Chicimec and other indigenous people of Northern Mexico fought against Spanish military forces, such as Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, when they began trying to enslave them, their fight against Spanish military forces became known as the Mixtón Rebellion. In the late sixteenth century, Gonzalo de las Casas wrote about the Chichimec, he had received an encomienda near Durango and fought in the wars against the Chichimec peoples: the Pame, the Guachichile, the Guamari and the Zacateco, who lived in the area known at the time as "La Gran Chichimeca." Las Casas' account was called Report of the Chichimeca and the Justness of the War Against Them.
He described the people. He wrote, he mentioned, in order to prove their supposed barbarity, that Chichimec women, having given birth, continued traveling on the same day without stopping to recover. While las Casas recognized that the Chichimecan tribes spoke different languages, he considered their culture to be uniform. In the late 16th century the Chichimeca did not worship deities as did many of the surrounding indigenous peoples and in the eyes of the Franciscan priest Alonso Ponce this was an indication that the Chicimeca had a barbarous nature. Bernardino de Sahagún's Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España provides a fuller account: he describes some Chichimec people, such as the Otomi, as knowing agriculture, living in settled communities, having a religion devoted to the worship of the moon. Early sources was typical of the era in their efforts to spread propaganda that the natives were "savages" - accomplished at war and hunting, but with no established society or morals, prone to fighting among themselves.
This stereotype became more prevalent during the course of the Chichimec wars, acting as a justification for the wars. The first description of a modern objective ethnography of the peoples inhabiting La Gran Chichimeca was done by Norwegian naturalist and explorer Carl Sofus Lumholtz in 1890 when he traveled on muleback through northwestern Mexico, meeting the indigenous peoples on friendly terms. With his descriptions of the rich and different cultures of the various "uncivilized" tribes, the picture of the uniform Chichimec barbarians was changed – although in Mexican Spanish the word "Chichimeca" remains connected to an image of "savagery"; the historian Paul Kirchhoff, in his work The Hunting-Gathering People of North Mexico, described the Chichimecas as sharing a hunter-gatherer culture, based on the gathering of mesquite and tunas, with others using acorns and seeds. In some areas, the Chichimeca cultivated calabash. From the mesquite, the Chichamecs made white wine. Many Chichimec tribes used the juice of the agave as a substitute for water when it was in short s