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The Moundbuilders: Ancient Peoples of Eastern North America

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Thousands of these mounds were discovered in the plains and forestssome up to a hundred feet high, some overgrown hillocks, some conical, others flat-topped. Speculation was rife as to the identity of the moundbuilders. As George Milner shows, research over the past century demonstrates conclusively that Native Americans built these mounds. In a period ranging from 3000 BC Thousands of these mounds were discovered in the plains and forestssome up to a hundred feet high, some overgrown hillocks, some conical, others flat-topped. Speculation was rife as to the identity of the moundbuilders. As George Milner shows, research over the past century demonstrates conclusively that Native Americans built these mounds. In a period ranging from 3000 BC to the sixteenth century AD, North American Indians quarried tons of earth to form the monuments, which vary widely in location, size, and purpose. Some contained thousands of burials, others served as platforms for chiefs' residences, and many were low-lying "effigy" mounds in the form of serpents, panthers, and other sacred beasts. Moundbuilding was a key element in society—how people worshiped gods, buried the dead, remembered their ancestors, and respected their leaders—and many beautiful objects have been found inside the mounds, including artifacts of shell, copper, and mica. The Moundbuilders covers the entire sweep of Eastern Woodlands prehistory, with an emphasis on how societies developed from hunter-gatherers to village farmers and town-dwellers. Great strides have been made in recent research, and many of the most impressive mounds, such as Poverty Point, Cahokia, and Moundville, are described and discussed in detail. This wide-ranging and copiously illustrated book, complete with information on dozens of sites to visit, is the perfect guide to the region for tourists, archaeologists, and students.


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Thousands of these mounds were discovered in the plains and forestssome up to a hundred feet high, some overgrown hillocks, some conical, others flat-topped. Speculation was rife as to the identity of the moundbuilders. As George Milner shows, research over the past century demonstrates conclusively that Native Americans built these mounds. In a period ranging from 3000 BC Thousands of these mounds were discovered in the plains and forestssome up to a hundred feet high, some overgrown hillocks, some conical, others flat-topped. Speculation was rife as to the identity of the moundbuilders. As George Milner shows, research over the past century demonstrates conclusively that Native Americans built these mounds. In a period ranging from 3000 BC to the sixteenth century AD, North American Indians quarried tons of earth to form the monuments, which vary widely in location, size, and purpose. Some contained thousands of burials, others served as platforms for chiefs' residences, and many were low-lying "effigy" mounds in the form of serpents, panthers, and other sacred beasts. Moundbuilding was a key element in society—how people worshiped gods, buried the dead, remembered their ancestors, and respected their leaders—and many beautiful objects have been found inside the mounds, including artifacts of shell, copper, and mica. The Moundbuilders covers the entire sweep of Eastern Woodlands prehistory, with an emphasis on how societies developed from hunter-gatherers to village farmers and town-dwellers. Great strides have been made in recent research, and many of the most impressive mounds, such as Poverty Point, Cahokia, and Moundville, are described and discussed in detail. This wide-ranging and copiously illustrated book, complete with information on dozens of sites to visit, is the perfect guide to the region for tourists, archaeologists, and students.

30 review for The Moundbuilders: Ancient Peoples of Eastern North America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Living in an area with numerous Ojibway petroglyphs and rock paintings, I have an interest in the art and culture of the Eastern Woodland Indians. Milner's book provides an excellent introduction to the moundbuilders who lived in the United States in the Pre-Columbian era with clear prose and handsome illustrations. This work is intended for the general public but nonetheless provides an excellent foundation for the reading of more academic books later. Living in an area with numerous Ojibway petroglyphs and rock paintings, I have an interest in the art and culture of the Eastern Woodland Indians. Milner's book provides an excellent introduction to the moundbuilders who lived in the United States in the Pre-Columbian era with clear prose and handsome illustrations. This work is intended for the general public but nonetheless provides an excellent foundation for the reading of more academic books later.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Add to any knowledge you have on the lives of those who lived in the Mississippi Valley and eastward to the Atlantic before European arrival in this academically thorough yet not pedantic nonfiction book. It's enlighenting and often myth breaking, a work that would make a good textbook for a college course in anthropology. There are more than a few sections worthy of pulling out the Hi-Lighter to aid memory, such as, "In contract to commonly held, but overly romanticized, notions of hunter-gathere Add to any knowledge you have on the lives of those who lived in the Mississippi Valley and eastward to the Atlantic before European arrival in this academically thorough yet not pedantic nonfiction book. It's enlighenting and often myth breaking, a work that would make a good textbook for a college course in anthropology. There are more than a few sections worthy of pulling out the Hi-Lighter to aid memory, such as, "In contract to commonly held, but overly romanticized, notions of hunter-gatherer life, a person's worth was measured by his or her contributions to group survival." That issue of survival comes into play over and over, as items uncovered in burial mounds, and even the sites of the mounds and how they were constructed, offer keys to how our predecessors in these forests and prairies lived here for centuries before the Pilgrims landed. Author George R. Milner deserves credit for not whitewashing the impact of European expansion through woods and fields where native people had survived since the end of the Ice Age, nor does he fail to mention how warring tribes often led to the ouster or disappearance of neighboring clusters of the mound builders. It is interesting to see the difference in how later generations who settled near mounds have treated them. In one case there is a road going right through the middle of a mound, and in others the mounds have become a source of civic pride, preserved, protected and a resource of local history. If you're interested in visiting some of these sites, Milner has a five-page guide that lists where mounds can be viewed, including some with museums that offer further information about the people who left the mounds behind.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Duston

    This was a wonderful book. I am not really a student of archeology (one college class and a passing interest), but the story told here was incredibly interesting, and just the right level for me. It was well-researched and detailed, but not so much as to detract from the overall presentation and story of the evolution of the mounds - where they came from and why. To me, the most interesting aspect was how the construction of the mounds was linked with the transition between hunter-gather living This was a wonderful book. I am not really a student of archeology (one college class and a passing interest), but the story told here was incredibly interesting, and just the right level for me. It was well-researched and detailed, but not so much as to detract from the overall presentation and story of the evolution of the mounds - where they came from and why. To me, the most interesting aspect was how the construction of the mounds was linked with the transition between hunter-gather living and agriculture. Since the mounds were stationary markers, they were both the result of, and a facilitation for, a more sedentary lifestyle. But of course, there is a great variety of culture found in the Native American peoples, and that is well-described in this text. I strongly recommend this to anyone with an interest in pre-Columbian Native Americans, archeology, or pre-history in general.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dejanira Dawn

    *For college*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Overview with quite a lot of detail. Not a casual read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Would have preferred it to have been more centralized to Ohio and upper midwest archaeology, but overall very good read. Nothing I didn't learn in undergrad, but a nice refresher nonetheless. Would have preferred it to have been more centralized to Ohio and upper midwest archaeology, but overall very good read. Nothing I didn't learn in undergrad, but a nice refresher nonetheless.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christina Hall

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Crofford

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Waterman

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Overstreet

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbra

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nate

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jael

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott Harrington

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexus

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andy Biggs

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  20. 4 out of 5

    MattW

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sam Rothwell

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mclintoc

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Mason

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marijan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Furey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Simon Huffman-Gottschling

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

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