1-9 of 9 results  for:

  • American Art x
  • 300 BCE–CE 500 x
Clear all

Article

David M. Jones

Archaeological zone in north-west Arizona. Pre-Columbian sites in Canyon de Chelly are attributed to the Anasazi culture (c. 200 bcc. ad 1350) and were built between the 12th and 14th centuries ad when the Anasazi began to abandon their scattered small hamlets on cliff tops for fewer but larger settlements of cliff dwellings. These were constructed in the steep-sided, stream-cut main and subsidiary canyons with numerous overhanging cliffs; on the shelves of such overhangs the Anasazi built blocks of apartment-like structures constructed of adobe bricks or stone blocks (e.g. White House ruins). The removal of the Anasazi from plateau dwellings to cliff dwellings may have been for defence as aggression increased between groups (see also Mesa Verde). The earliest rooms often became storage rooms as later dwellings were built above and in front of them. The blocks were multi-storey and terraced, with access between terraces by wooden ladders. Inter-storey floors–ceilings were made with log rafters. Walls had key-hole and trapezoidal doorways and in some cases square windows. Open spaces in front of the blocks were excavated and filled to create level ceremonial areas, and circular, semi-subterranean ...

Article

Catherine S. Fowler

Prehistoric rock art site in North America, in the steep-walled sandstone canyon country of south-eastern Utah. The Great Gallery is the principal site in the canyon and features one of the finest painted pictograph panels in North America. It is dominated by dozens of large anthropomorphic figures (some nearly 2 m), best representative and definitive of the Barrier Canyon Style as described by Schaafsma (1971 and 1980). Anthropomorphs and accompanying zoomorphic images are painted on prepared red sandstone surfaces on the canyon walls with dark red pigments using both the fingers and spatter-painting techniques. The figures are characterized by large, square-shouldered torsos, many with inverted bucket-shaped heads and ‘crowns’ of white dots. Arms and legs are rudimentary or non-existent. Torsos feature fine detail in painting and incising, including horizontal and vertical bands of colour, fine line and striping (sometimes white). Heads sometimes have large, round eyes, often giving them a skull-like appearance and the overall figures a ghostly quality. Small birds and mammals often occur on or near the figures, especially at the shoulders, suggesting to some that the groups represent shamans with tutelaries. Other sites featuring figures of this style are in a relatively circumscribed area along the Green and Colorado rivers in eastern Utah (Castleton, ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

Archaeological region of the lower Mississippi and Ohio valleys in eastern North America exhibiting a sophisticated advanced mound-building culture. The Hopewell Mound Group is not named after a Native American tribe but after the family that owned the land where the earthworks are located in Ohio. This designation encompasses the style and similarities of cultural architecture, artefacts, and other archaeological practices located at the site. The name also divides the Hopewell culture from earlier and later cultural periods and groups located in the region.

Active between 200 bc and ad 500, during the Middle Woodland period, Hopewell represents an intermediary culture, appearing between the earlier Adena culture and the later Mississippian culture. All three cultures created gigantic configurations of earthen mounds built in geometric patterns and various shapes. The earliest archaeological evidence of the Hopewell culture is located in the state of Illinois, while southern Ohio and the northern Indiana Ohio River area contain the largest building of geometric earthworks. The Mound City Group in Chillicothe, OH, contains the largest grouping of burial mounds. First explored and analysed in ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

Zone of archaeological sites in Colorado that was home to the ancestral Pueblo people (Anasazi) between AD 550 and 1300. The Mesa Verde cultural complex is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States containing the greatest number of ancient cliff dwellings ever found. Situated in semi-arid and scenic south-western Colorado, and consisting of 52,121 acres of finger-like mesas (table-shaped hills) cut by steep-walled canyons, Mesa Verde was made a National Park in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1978, in recognition of its exceptional archaeological sites of universal value, Mesa Verde was designated a World Heritage Cultural Site by UNESCO—it was one of seven sites throughout the world selected for cultural recognition.

A monument to American culture, Mesa Verde National Park protects over 4000 known archaeological sites, consisting of 600 cliff dwellings and thousands of prehistoric mesa-top villages and archaeological sites (pithouses, pueblos, masonry towers, and farming structures). Countless artefacts have been unearthed in the park—white pottery with black designs, stone tools, jewellery, and finely woven baskets and clothing—however, the most prominent legacy of the ancestral Puebloans of Mesa Verde is the architecture....

Article

Area in Canada comprising Prince Rupert Harbour and the Skeena River, BC, where about a dozen Tsimshian culture sites have yielded about 20,000 bone, antler and stone artefacts (e.g. Hull, Qué., Can. Mus. Civiliz.). Among these some 100 show characteristics of the development of the Pre-Columbian art of the northern Northwest Coast peoples. By c. 1500 bc the first decorated tools—antler handles for beaver teeth chisels—and a few stone carvings appear in archaeological deposits. By c. ad 1000 all the major stylistic elements of northern Northwest Coast art had been developed. Although minor changes in style undoubtedly occurred between c. ad 1000 and the time of first contact with Europeans in the late 18th century, no archaeological evidence of these changes has been found. Between c. 1000 and c. 500 bc Prince Rupert Harbour art was characterized by animal and human designs, with an emphasis on the skeletal parts and such sense organs as eyes, ears, tongue, nose or snout. The spinal column motif was used on incised stone concretions until the 2nd millennium ...

Article

David M. Jones

Pre-Columbian site in the USA, east of Phoenix, AZ. Occupied between c. 300 bc and c. ad 1400, it was founded by indigenous Ootam peoples, but by c. ad 600 it had become the principal site of the Hohokam, who had invaded the region from northern Mexico as early as c. ad 1. The Hohokam town on the upper terrace of the Gila River and the adjacent agricultural fields along the lower terrace covered over 120 ha. The town comprised an estimated 5000 densely packed structures of adobe and wooden log-beams, built and rebuilt over time, of which the ground-plans have been uncovered (see fig.). Dwellings were grouped around wells, mounds, cemeteries of cremation burials, a pottery-making enclave and at least two ballcourts. The culture of the inhabitants was a combination of indigenous evolution and outside introductions. There is strong evidence of influence from Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian in the building of both earthen platform mounds, in imitation of stone-clad Mesoamerican pyramids, and earthen-sided ballcourts. (Other evidence of the introduction of the ball-game includes latex rubber balls imported from Mesoamerica.) Imported technology included the lost-wax metal-casting technique, to produce copper bells (...

Article

Marie Mauzé

Region of eastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Canadian–US mainland, opposite the Fraser River delta and canyon. It is the homeland of the Native American Coast Salish and the location of a number of Pre-Columbian sites, including Marpole, Glenrose, St Mungo, Locarno Beach and Musqueam around the Fraser delta. The first art, including sculpture in the round, appeared during the Developmental period (c. 3500–c. 1100 bc). The Marpole site, for example, has yielded ground slate fragments decorated with drilled holes, notched or scalloped edges and patterns of incised lines. Similar decorations were applied to bone and antler. From St Mungo come carvings in bone or soft stone resembling segmented insect larvae (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). The most impressive example, from Glenrose, is a small tool handle of antler in the shape of a human figure (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). It has a large, deeply carved face, perforated earlobes, almond-shaped eyes and eyebrows and nose forming a ‘y’. It is one the oldest anthropomorphic sculptures from the Northwest Coast (...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

Archaeological areas in eastern and southern North America reveal advanced mound building cultures from several different cultural phases. Around 1500 bc, several North American indigenous groups attained the sophisticated cultural “Woodlands” phase. For over a millennium, three principle cultural groups, the Adena, Hopewell and Mississippian, built elaborate advanced earthen structures and large temples in the Upper Ohio Valley of Kentucky and West Virginia. Accompanying the earthen monuments was an ambitious religious devotee system.

The Adena culture flourished in the Upper Ohio Valley, around 800 bc. An excavation in 1902 uncovered the preliminary extensive temple mound building structures ( see Adena Mound ). Precursors to monumental temple building, these sites offer early evidence of organized, sophisticated, cultural communities. The Adena lived in large permanently constructed circular dwellings covered with thatch. For almost 1700 years, the Adena performed extensive elaborate death ritual ceremonies. A notable ritual was burial with specialized élite material objects. Advances in copper metallurgy produced technologically specialized objects ideal for interring with the dead. Commercialized production of funerary objects revealed that greater and more elaborate burial practices were developed for elevated individuals. Material goods became increasingly important for eternal rest and great qualities and object types began to appear. Evolving their burial rites into elaborate practices the Adena increased the size and sophistication of their early temple mound building construction techniques....

Article

David M. Jones

Rock shelter in North America, in the Castle Mountains, AZ. It was occupied in Pre-Columbian times from c. 10,000 bc to c. ad 1300. Ventana Cave was excavated by the American archaeologist Emil Haury and the results were published by the University of New Mexico Press. The earliest layers of occupation contained crude, then more sophisticated, stone tools (including projectile points, of which the type—Clovis or Folsom—is disputed), a variety of faunal remains and shells from the Gulf of California, c. 160 km to the west. The inhabitants practised a hunting–gathering economy. Later layers contained artefacts of the Hohokam culture ( fl c. 300 bcad 1300) of the US Southwest, including evidence of their agricultural way of life ( see also Snaketown ), such as maize-grinding stones, pottery and remains of netting, cordage, basketwork, leather and feather objects and cotton textiles. The pottery is typical of early Hohokam styles, with red-on-buff decorations (...