WDSC100-04 - 1491 The Americas before Columbus "`No...

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1491
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“‘No other field in American history has grown as fast,’ marveled Joyce Chapman, a Harvard historian, in 2003.” Charles C. Mann, 1491 [p. 35] The Americas before Columbus
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Wellsprings of Human Civilization Tigris-Euphrates Valley (Sumer) Nile Delta Indus Valley Huang He River Valley Mesoamerica Peruvian littoral
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Norte Chico Discovered in 21 st century Coastal Peru 2” rainfall per year Monumental buildings Irrigated fields Mummified their dead
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Norte Chico A series of 25 known cities built along the rivers draining from the Andes into the Pacific People depended on a diet of seafood Apparently did not grow edible crops The river cities supported fields to grow cotton, which must have been used to make fishing nets 3,200-2,500 years ago, the time of Sumer
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Mesoamerica Olmec – originated ca. 1,800 B.C. Zapotec – developed writing ca. 500 B.C. Mesoamericans developed a 365 day calendar and the concept of the number zero
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Discoveries and Controversy in the Amazon One third arid savanna Half upland forest the classic image of the tropical forest [Mann 2005] Considered to be ecologically fragile (soil, rain, and heat)
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Betty J. Meggers Smithsonian 1971. Amazonia: Man and Culture in a Counterfeit Paradise agriculture the only means of subsistence due to Amazon s ecology Nature limits growth
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1940s & 1950s archeological expeditions by Meggers and Clifford Evans to Maraj ó at the mouth of the Amazon Known for pottery made between 800 and 1400 A.D. Society was most advanced at its beginning and in decline afterwards Postulated that Maraj ó was occupied by immigrants from Peru and that the harsh climate and poor soil of the Amazon caused the cultural decline
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Anna C. Roosevelt Archeologist with the Field Museum Led second excavation on Maraj ó in 1970s using remote sensing technology not available to Meggers
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The society on Marajó had developed there, “had lasted for more than a thousand years, had ‘possibly well over 100,000’ inhabitants, and covered thousands of square miles” [Mann 2005]. People of Marajó had improved the forest, not
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WDSC100-04 - 1491 The Americas before Columbus "`No...

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