Almost unimaginably immense, North America stretches from a few degrees short of the North Pole to a few degrees shy of the equator. Archaeologists are now racing to unravel the mysterious past of the forgotten peoples who once inhabited this sprawling land. In Search of Ancient North America explores many of these scientists' most fascinating findings as Heather Pringle chronicles her journeys among the ancient sites of Canada and the United States. Her enthralling voyage of discovery uncovers the richness of now-vanished cultures and illuminates the intriguing world of archaeology itself.
Journeying from the mosquito-infested forests of the far north to the bleak deserts of the American Southwest, Pringle accompanies leading archaeologists and their crews into the field. At the Bluefish Caves in the northern Yukon, Jacques Cinq-Mars chases down clues to an Ice Age mystery; at the "immense geometric riddle" that is Hopeton Earthworks, Mark Lynott scours the countryside for vestiges of ancient village life; in the thorny wilderness of the Lower Pecos, Solveig Turpin deciphers the enigmatic rock art painted more than 3,000 years ago.
What emerges from Pringle's accounts are surprising portraits of long-lost cultures--the rapacious mariners of southern California who nearly wiped out one of the world's most productive ecosystems; the wealthy nobles of British Columbia who wore salmon-skin shoes and counted their wealth in bottles of salmon oil; the powerful lords of the Mississippi River who won the adoration of their followers with a mysterious medicinal tonic. Equally intriguing are the controversial new theories that the author presents on a host of subjects, from the origins of art and hallucinogenic drugs to the rise of private property, the identities of the earliest New World migrants, and the astonishing extent of trade in prehistoric North America.
Complemented by superb color and black-and-white photographs, In Search of Ancient North America blends incisive science journalism with evocative travel writing to bring the latest archaeological findings and interpretations to light. Delving into the previously unmined saga of this vast continent's lost and extinct cultures, this captivating book is a thrilling invitation to endless discovery.
"Drawing on some of the latest archaeological research, Pringle's book is vivid, witty, and responsible in a field too often filled by cranks and bores. All who are curious about life in North America before the European invasion will find the book a stimulating introduction." -- Ronald Wright author of Stolen Continents
"In Search of Ancient North America brings the distant past much closer and its inhabitants almost become neighbors to us once again. A first-rate examination of the mystery and fascination of modern archaeological research in North America." -- Farley Mowat author of The People of the Deer
"Captures the essence of what archaeologists are learning about North American prehistory. The book is a pleasure to read and will inspire a new awareness of the importance of the history of North America prior to European contact." -- Bruce Trigger author of The Children of Aataentsic