Archaeologies of Cosmoscapes in the Americas [Paperback]

J. Grant Stauffer (Editor); Bretton T. Giles (Editor); Shawn P. Lambert (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789258448 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: American Landscapes | Volume: 5 | Year of Publication: 2022 | Language: English 288p, H246 x W185 (mm) B/w and colour

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Archaeologies of Cosmoscapes in the Americas


This volume examines how pre-Columbian societies in the Americas envisioned their cosmos and iteratively modelled it through the creation of particular objects and places. It emphasises that American societies did this to materialize overarching models and templates for the shape and scope of the cosmos, the working definition of cosmoscape. Noting a tendency to gloss over the ways in which ancestral Americans envisioned the cosmos as intertwined and animated, the authors examine how cosmoscapes are manifested archaeologically, in the forms of objects and physically altered landscapes. This volume includes case studies of cosmoscapes that present themselves as forms of architecture, portable artifacts, and transformed aspects of the natural world. In doing so, it emphasises that the creation of cosmoscapes offered a means of reconciling peoples experiences of the world with their understandings of them.

Table of Contents

1. Front matter
1.1. Introduction: Approaching cosmoscapes
J. Grant Stauffer, Shawn P. Lambert, and Bretton T. Giles
2. Objects as cosmoscapes
2.1. Modeling the cosmos: Rim-effigy bowl iconography in the central Mississippi valley
Madelaine Azar and Vincas P. Steponaitis
2.2. Of snakes and masks: Retrospective clues to understand the meaning of Pre-Columbian Maya greenstone mosaic masks
Juan-Carlos Melendez, David A. Freidel, and Daniel E. Aquino
2.3. Negotiating Oneota and Tunica cosmoscapes in the lower Mississippi valley
David Dye
2.4. Sacrifice and the sun: The Aztec calendar stone and its origins
Annabeth Headrick
2.5. Cahokia’s wandering supernaturals: What does it mean when the earth mother leaves town?
Steven L. Boles
2.6. Hallucinogens and cosmoscapes: Datura production, consumption, and iconography in the central Arkansas river valley
Shawn P. Lambert
3. Placemaking and cultivating cosmoscapes
3.1. Center Posts, thunder symbolism, and community organization at Cahokia Mounds, Illinois
Joy Mersmann and J. Grant Stauffer
3.2. Mound 2 at the Hopewell site as cosmoscape
Bretton T. Giles, Brian M. Rowe, and Ryan M. Parish
3.3. Revealing the origins and cultural connections of the Braden art style
James Duncan and Carol Diaz-Granados
3.4. Persistent memories and cosmic futures: Ancient placemaking in the Tallahassee Uplands of Florida
Jesse Nowak and Charles Rainville
3.5. Whirlwind of a woman: An iconographic analysis of earth mother iconography
Melinda A. Martin
3.6. Portals of prophecy and creation: Spiro’s spirit lodge and an ancient American tradition
David Freidel
4. Back matter
4.1. Conclusion
F. Kent Reilly

Reviews & Quotes

"Cosmoscapes is an intriguing volume, diverse in both topic and theory. Some essays can be challenging for a reader not seeped in the local cultural history. However, it excels in presenting a window into some current trends in the mobilization of art history and iconography, aspects of relational ontology, materiality, cosmic visions, animism, the challenges of ethnographic analogies, and the segmented world of microcosms and macrocosms."
Dr Thomas E. Emerson
Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology

"An exceptionally well presented collection of scholarly research, Archaeologies of Cosmoscapes in the Americas is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, college, and university library Contemporary American Archaeology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists."

Midwest Book Review (30/11/2022)

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