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Brian Fagan was born in England and studied archaeology at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was Keeper of Prehistory at the Livingstone Museum, Zambia, from 1959-1965. During six years in Zambia and one in East Africa, he was deeply involved in fieldwork on multidisciplinary African history and in monuments conservation. He came to the United States in 1966 and was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1967 to 2004, when he became Emeritus. Since coming to Santa Barbara, Brian has specialized in communicating archaeology to general audiences through lecturing, writing, and other media. He is regarded as one of the world's leading archaeological and historical writers and is widely respected popular lecturer about the past. His many books include three volumes for the National Geographic Society, including the bestselling Adventure of Archaeology. Other works include The Rape of the Nile, a classic history of archaeologists and tourists along the Nile, and four books on ancient climate change and human societies, Floods, Famines, and Emperors (on El Niños), The Little Ice Age, and The Long Summer, an account of warming and humanity since the Great Ice Age. His most recent climatic work describes the Medieval Warm Period: The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. His other books include Chaco Canyon: Archaeologists Explore the Lives of an Ancient Society and Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World and Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age gave birth to the First Modern Humans. His recently published Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind extends his climatic research to the most vital of all resources for humanity. Brian has been sailing since he was eight years old and learnt his cruising in the English Channel and North Sea. He has sailed thousands of miles in European waters, across the Atlantic, and in the Pacific. He is author of the Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California, which has been a widely used set of sailing directions since 1979. An ardent bicyclist, he lives in Santa Barbara with his life Lesley and daughter Ana.
"Ancient North America" by Brian Fagan is not the book for everyone interested in the topic. Specifically it is not for the casual reader. This is very definitely a textbook on the archaeology and anthropology of North America. The author assumes a basic knowledge of archaeology: its focus, terminology, techniques, and history, and therefore gives only a cursory explanation of topics like "culture," "horizon," and "tradition," etc.
In the first few chapters Dr. Fagan discusses the issue of first colonization of the continent, describing the limiting factors and the likely time constraints involved. He goes into the various competing theories of the great migration which have changed very little since the 1960s beause there remains a dearth of unquestioned evidence with which to resolve the issue. Thereafter he discusses the various regional and ecological artifact assemblies and what they indicate about the evolution of life-ways after the initial arrival of human settlers. Make no mistake; this is heavily into discussions of lithic technologies and what they have to say about cultural diversity and spread. Where other, more substantial remains occur--mounds in the southeast and pueblos in the southwest, for instance--or where post-contact life-ways are described, more complete descriptions of life in the past is presented. For the individual who is very much into archaeology and/or what it has to say about life of the indigenous people in North America, the book will be a pure delight.Read more ›
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I find this book difficult to read as time wise it jumps all over the place. Not only that, but the print is so small I am constantly having to pull out my magnifying glass to read areas, in particular the captions on the pictures.
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