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Farming, Hunting, and Fishing in the Olmec World (The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies) Hardcover – April 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292709803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292709805
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,438,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Amber M. Vanderwarker is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Kfouri on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you consider carefully the title of the book, you will see that the author developed more or less what she said it would.It's a sort of a monography on the subject, and very condensed by the data from two sites that the author presents. But this is very positive in a sense: she gives a restricted but detailed explanation of the evolution of conditions and practices in the tuxtla area, without playing the "big explanation game" that less precise minds like to peer into, specially non professionals.In a few words: it's an extended scientific article on the subject. But I was also deceived by that last part of the title "..Olmec World..".Two archaeological sites will never be a "World".If the title were "Farming,Hunting,...at La Joya and Bezuapan sites" a nice 5 stars the book could also receive..as the author receives anyway.
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I expected a different type of study on food in the Olmec world, however, the approach here was not totally beyond my needs. In general I found the research extremely limited in comparison to what might have been accomplished had other factors been considered at all, or considered thoroughly - e.g. stela and buildings, to glean information about the place of food in the public display (artifacts)- and of the labor capacity needed to build the various mounds and monuments to determine what food demands - labor and surplus - were placed on the villages. The work did not effectively, if at all, address the type of political makeup of the society besides looking for `elites' and their demands from the outside. That the people united to engage in intensive farming, build villages (including housing), engage in crafts, trade and purchases indicates some lever of social-organization for which some examination and analysis would have been helpful.

The author presented theories, hers and of others, that were ill-suited to understanding the Olmec - e.g. there was the presumption that control of the population meant there must have been `domination of the population' - a structure rooted in conflict. Yet, the presumption was contradicted by the author with evidence to show that the people were, and remained, `egalitarian'.

Having limited the scope of research to the Olmec society as completely indigenous marred almost to a fault the outcome of this study. For example, no qualitative answer as to why the people began `intensive farming' was provided, nor the mechanism for organizing a village, or united villages.
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