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North American Archaeology- Mesoamerica - Essay Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date North American Archaeology – Mesoamerica Introduction David Hurst Thomas was the main curator of North American Archaeology, which was in the division of Anthropology. He did his work concerning archaeology at the museum of National History and Adjunct Professor in one of the prominent universities known as Columbia University and University of New York…
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North American Archaeology – Mesoamerica Introduction David Hurst Thomas was the main curator of North American Archaeology, which was in the division of Anthropology. He did his work concerning archaeology at the museum of National History and Adjunct Professor in one of the prominent universities known as Columbia University and University of New York. He had many interests, which focused on the aspects of Americanist archaeology (Adams 25). He worked to understand human adaptations to the harsh Great basin area of Western U.S, mainly concentrating on the state of Nevada and temporarily on Holocene post-glacial period. Recently he explored the main implications of the new paleoenvironmental evidence, which suggested that two principal droughts that struck the Western area of U.S in millennium. Mesoamerica is a geographical and cultural area extending from central Mexico down through Central America. In this essay, information concerning the archaeological sector in North America and the contact between North America and Mesoamerica will be given. Mesoamerica has several prehistoric sites characterized by agricultural villages and ceremonial and politico-religious capitals. The cultural sector includes some of the complex and advanced cultures of the Americans (Joyce 10). The human occupation history in Mesoamerica is divided in to a number of stages or periods. The stages have a slight variation depending on the religion. They are Paleo-Indian, the Archaic, the classic, and the Post classic. By mentioning the North American Archaeology, the investigators usually mean the different native cultures of the United States and Canada respectively. Mexico being geographically included in North America is recognized as Mesoamerica’s culture area. The region bordering the United States and Mexico did not exist before. It is the transitional area between Southwest and the northern part of the desert tradition of Northwestern Mexico. The regions are further divided in to sub-areas that correspond to distribution of one or many cultural traits like artifact typologies, settlement area, or tool assemblage (Adams 75). North America is bounded by a large mountain chain of the Rocky Mountains and runs from the North to the South. There is a lower mountain system known as the Appalachians that u runs along the eastern. Between the two chains, there is a Central Lowland where the North is occupied by the Canadian Shield and the north Arctic territories. The southeastern side is occupied by the coastal plain. There was trade, which took place between the southwest and the Mesoamerica during the late pre-historic period. The trade existed due to the presence of raw materials between the Southwest and the Mesoamerica. An important mineral by the name turquoise, and mined from Cerrillos Hills in the Galisteo Basin, led to trade between Southwest and Mesoamerica (Pauketat 43). Mines were dug mainly to extract the precious ore. They consisted of small cut in to the turquoise veins and dated in the early A.D. 900. Other minerals like lead, malachite, fibrolite, and azurite were historically mined in the same area. Ceramics made from clay deposits and tempering materials can be identified and provide pertinent information concerning the trade activity. From A.D. 1000 to 1175, the Mesoamerica had a low population density, and the people interacted equally with those populations residing in the Chaco Canyon region. They also interacted with Mogollon peoples located further in the south. After A.D. 1175, the local population density increased which led to expansion and intensification of exchanging activities with their surrounding populations (Hall 51). Various types of clay and other tempering materials were used in the manufacture of ceramics that were widely used in the trading activity throughout the Colorado plateau. The exchange network in the region that involved the movement of commodities along north/south lines with limited interaction occurring with the Anasazi located in the southern province. Due to the manufacture of palettes and grooved axes and the shell goods at the Mogollan region was a key factor, which led to extensive interaction between Mogollon and Mimbres. Most people of North America practiced economic and cultural values. Trade was the crucial factor linking the people of North America. North America practiced long-distance where goods like marine shell, ceramics, and copper materials, galena, obsidian, and other types of exotic stone. Mesoamerica and North America were in a relationship with each other due to the presence of mining grounds, which improved the civilization (Adams 102). They defined the culture area in the 20th century and was based in three areas, agriculture, ceramics, and rectangular houses. The growth of Southwest and Mesoamerica has led to analytical and political subdivisions. This was more prominent in practice of archaeology and influenced research at a higher percentage. Due to increase in number of the archaeologists in the area grew due to proliferation and solidification of sub units with less interaction across the cultural area. The government increased funding and the boundaries became more influential in the process of structuring the archaeological communities and research field. The contacts between the North America and the Mesoamerica improved the life of the inhabitants. The North Americans were able to get essential things for the better upkeep of the people. The two parties were able to get ideas, and views, which helped them their day-to-day activities (Hall 73). Conclusion One of the problems concerning the concept of culture area is that it is a static concept. The idea came into existence only to organize museum collections and summaries of the indigenous cultures. North America and Mesoamerica are termed by archaeologists as areas that have historical development but the main problem is that they lack histories of their own. The standard texts on North America and Mesoamerica treat them as regions that existed in the early human occupation of the continent. The earliest villages and pottery bearing settlements in Southwest appears to be the northernmost extension of similar patterns found in Mesoamerica. At the continental scale, the Southwest and Mesoamerica stand out as a distinct region but, at the regional scale, the distinctiveness becomes fuzzy. Work Cited Adams, Richard E. W. Prehistoric Mesoamerica. Norman: University of Oklahoma press, 2005. Print. Joyce, Rosemary A. Gender and Power in Prehispanic Mesoamerica. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 2000. Print. Pauketat, Timothy R. The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology. Oxford [etc.: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print. Hall, Robert L. An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Indian Belief and Ritual. Urbana [u.a.: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997. Print. Read More
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