The Archaeology of Ancient Arizona
312 pages, 6 x 9
40 photos, 11 line illus.
Release Date:01 Jan 1997

The Archaeology of Ancient Arizona

The University of Arizona Press
Carved from cliffs and canyons, buried in desert rock and sand are pieces of the ancient past that beckon thousands of visitors every year to the American Southwest. Whether Montezuma Castle or a chunk of pottery, these traces of prehistory also bring archaeologists from all over the world, and their work gives us fresh insight and information on an almost day-to-day basis. Who hasn't dreamed of boarding a time machine for a trip into the past?

This book invites us to step into a Hohokam village with its sounds of barking dogs, children's laughter, and the ever-present grinding of mano on metate to produce the daily bread. Here, too, readers will marvel at the skills of Clovis elephant hunters and touch the lives of other ancestral people known as Mogollon, Anasazi, Sinagua, and Salado. Descriptions of long-ago people are balanced with tales about the archaeologists who have devoted their lives to learning more about "those who came before." Trekking through the desert with the famed Emil Haury, readers will stumble upon Ventana Cave, his "answer to a prayer." With amateur archaeologist Richard Wetherill, they will sense the peril of crossing the flooded San Juan River on the way to Chaco Canyon. Others profiled in the book are A. V. Kidder, Andrew Ellicott Douglass, Julian Hayden, Harold S. Gladwin, and many more names synonymous with the continuing saga of southwestern archaeology.

This book is an open invitation to general readers to join in solving the great archaeological puzzles of this part of the world. Moreover, it is the only up-to-date summary of a field advancing so rapidly that much of the material is new even to professional archaeologists. Lively and fast paced, the book will appeal to anyone who finds magic in a broken bowl or pueblo wall touched by human hands hundreds of years ago. For all readers, these pages offer a sense of adventure, that "you are there" stir of excitement that comes only with making new discoveries about the distant past.
Although archaeologists often pride themselves on writing books, rarely do they take the time to write books geared to the public. This is why The Archaeology of Ancient Arizona is such a treasure. In a clearly written, easy-to-understand way, it makes Arizona archaeology come alive for the general reader. The book is filled with information on the prehistory and early history of Arizona, but despite the abundance of data, it doesn't overwhelm the reader. . . . Overall, this book is a 'must-have' for anyone with a general interest in Southwestern prehistory. I would go beyond this, and recommend it to Southwestern archaeologists as a great overview and refresher.'—Kiva

'The Archaeology of Ancient Arizona is a beautifully written volume that clearly explains the prehistory and archaeology of a region blessed with an abundance of intriguing sites and traces the cultures of many vanished peoples. Upon opening the book, it is instantly clear that southwestern archaeology is a passion with the authors. Rather than the dry, scholarly text that too often characterizes much archaeological writing, Reid and Whittlesey write about excavations with exclamations. Their vivid and dramatic descriptions . . . impart an excitement that can only stir interest in the reader.'—Journal of Arizona History

'A superb summary, intended for the general reader, of what archaeology (and speculation) tells us about prehistoric Arizona. . . . A minimum of jargon and clean prose make this good reading.'—Books of the Southwest
Jefferson Reid is a southwestern archaeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. Stephanie Whittlesey directs archaeological investigations for Statistical Research, a private consulting firm.
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