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The Northern World, AD 900-1400 (Anthropology of Pacific North America) Hardcover – June 30, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0874809558 ISBN-10: 087480955X Edition: 1st Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Anthropology of Pacific North America
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of Utah Press; 1st Edition edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087480955X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874809558
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,818,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Herbert Maschner is research professor of anthropology at Idaho State University; director of the Center for Archaeology, Materials, and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS); senior scientist at the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC); associate editor of the Journal of World Prehistory; and an executive director of the Foundation for Archaeological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES).

Owen K. Mason is editor of the Alaska Journal of Anthropology and a board member of the Alaska Anthropological Association. He is currently a research affiliate with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado and manages his own consulting firm, Geoarch Alaska, in Anchorage.

Robert McGhee is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Arctic Institute of North America, past president of the Canadian Archaeological Association, and has been awarded the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is currently curator emeritus at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

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"The Northern World AD 900-1400" is a superb collection of scholarly essays exploring population changes in the North American Arctic during the last period of major climate disruption before the present, in which the Arctic ice cap is said to be melting away. As an anthropology textbook, this collection is excellent, diligently exploring the multiple aspects and thin evidence of a difficult question. The general reader may find it tough sledding without some background knowledge on the topic.

The essays follow three competing populations: the Dorset Paleo-Eskimo culture, present across the North American Arctic at the start of the period; the Norse explorers, traders, and settlers who entered the region from the North Atlantic; and the Thule Inuit who apparently came from Siberia and ended migrating all the way to the eastern Arctic. The rough thesis is that climate change and cultural competition triggered population movements and changed the human geography of the region. To give away the ending, the Dorset culture apparently disappeared, although the reasons remain contentious. The Thule took their place in the Arctic, although again the reasons for their success are not entirely clear. Finally, the Norse may have come earlier to the Arctic, stayed longer, and interacted more vigorously than the Icelandic sagas might lead us to believe.

The work of multiple authors is represented in the book, including collaboration within the same essay. The general state of anthropology for the Arctic is still underdeveloped compared to more temperate zones; this field of academic endeavor figures to be a growth industry in future, given its tie-in to climate change. Highly recommended.
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