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Ancient America

Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself

Kenneth L. Feder

Presenting “the real deal” of American antiquity—as opposed to the hyped fare of many cable TV shows—Kenneth Feder invites readers to explore the stunning technological, architectural, engineering, and artistic achievements of America’s first peoples.

Part travel guide, part friendly reference,
Ancient America showcases fifty iconic and publicly-accessible sites located across the contiguous United States—including monumental pyramids of earth, “castles” ensconced in cliff niches, and vast rock art galleries. Among the places profiled are four World Heritage Sites (Chaco Canyon, NM; Mesa Verde, CO; Cahokia, IL; Poverty Point, LA); numerous Historic Landmarks and National Monuments (including Crystal River, FL; Town Creek Mound, NC; Casa Grande, AZ; and Hovenweep, UT); and stunningly diverse sites ranging from Serpent Mound (OH) and Horsethief Lake (WA) to Canyon de Chelly (AZ) and Nine Mile Canyon (UT).

In addition to practical visitor information, Feder tells the fascinating stories of each site as revealed by archaeological research. Introductory chapters delve into the deep past of Native America; historical and cultural details as well as original photography round out the site entries. Readers will be inspired to visit these remarkable places where the past continues to resonate in the present.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 256Size: 7 1/4 x 10 1/4
978-1-4422-6312-3 • Hardback • November 2016 • $45.00 • (£29.95)
978-1-4422-6313-0 • eBook • November 2016 • $42.00 • (£27.95)
Kenneth L. Feder, professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, specializes in the archaeology of North America. He is author of several books, including Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology and The Past in Perspective: A Brief Introduction to Human Prehistory. Feder has appeared on numerous television documentaries on the National Geographic Channel, the BBC's Horizon, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the SyFy Channel and has been featured in episodes of the Canadian-based William Shatner’s Weird or What?
  • Meadowcroft Rockshelter —Avella, Pennsylvania
  • Moundville Archaeological Park, Moundville, Alabama
  • Toltec Mounds, Scott, Arkansas
  • Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Crystal River, Florida
  • Kolomoki Mounds State Park, Blakely, Georgia
  • Rock Eagle Effigy Mound – Eatonton, Georgia
  • Etowah Mounds Historic Site, Etowah, Georgia
  • Ocmulgee National Monument, Macon, Georgia
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park – Collinsville, Illinois
  • Angel Mounds, Evansville, Indiana
  • Poverty Point, Epps, Louisiana
  • Grand Village of the Natchez, Natchez, Mississippi
  • Town Creek Mound, Mt. Gilead, North Carolina
  • Serpent Mound – Bratton Township, Ohio
  • Sunwatch Village, Dayton, Ohio
  • Cemetery Mound – Marietta, Ohio
  • Miamisburg Mound – Miamisburg, Ohio
  • Mound City, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park – Newark, Ohio
  • Newark Earthworks – Newark, Ohio
  • Pinson Mounds—Pinson,Tennessee
  • Grave Creek Mound – Moundsville, West Virginia
  • Aztalan Mounds—Jefferson, Wisconsin
  • Montezuma Castle--Camp Verde, Arizona
  • Canyon de Chelly--Chinle, Arizona
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument--Coolidge, Arizona
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument—Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Wupatki National Monument—Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Betatakin, Navajo National Monument—Shonto, Arizona
  • Mesa Verde National Park—Mesa Verde, Colorado
  • Aztec National Monument—Aztec, New Mexico
  • Chaco Canyon—Nageezi, New Mexico
  • Hovenweep National Monument—San Juan County, Utah
  • Blythe Intaglios, Blythe, California
  • Little Petroglyph Canyon, Coso, California
  • Chumash Painted Cave State Park, Santa Barbara, California
  • Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Crow Canyon, Blanco, New Mexico
  • Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Tularosa, New Mexico
  • San Juan River, Bluff, Utah
  • Horseshoe Canyon—Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  • Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument—Canyonlands National Park, Needles District, Utah
  • Buckhorn Wash—Emery County, Utah
  • Moab, Utah
  • Nine-Mile Canyon, Price, Utah
  • Sego Canyon, Thompson Springs, Utah
  • McConkie Ranch, Vernal, Utah
  • Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, Utah
  • Horsethief Lake State Park, Dallesport, Washington
  • Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
  • Dinwoody Lake Petroglyphs, Crowheart, Wyoming

  • If you want more…
    This 'reference-y' book takes a very different perspective from typical U.S. guidebooks. It provides the reader with the 50 'best' places to visit and things to see but recommends sites of historic interest—specifically, pre-Columbian sites that highlight the lives of the first North American peoples living in what is now the continental U.S. The sites included in this work range in location from Pennsylvania to California and Florida to Washington, although the majority are concentrated in the Midwest, Southeast, and Four Corners regions. The book is personal to the author, who visited every site, often with his family. Entries are written in a conversational tone, and each site is illustrated with photos taken by the author. Sites are grouped into three main categories: 'Mound Builders,' 'Cliff Dwellings, Great Houses, and Stone Towers,' and 'Rock Art'—with the majority of sites in the last category. For each site, the author provides his journal entry from the site visit, what visitors should expect to see, and why the site is important. Sites are also ranked on a number of factors useful for visitors, including 'Ease of Road Access,' 'Natural Beauty,' 'Kid Friendliness,' and the overall 'Wow Factor.' Most sites are either national or state parks, although a few are privately owned attractions. This work will be very useful for anyone wanting to see what remains of the first inhabitants of our land. Part travel guide, part reference book, and part personal narrative, it will inspire readers to visit places that will connect them to the early peoples of North America.

    This accessible reference offers a balanced mix of pleasing travelog and educational fact as it details 50 unique archaeological sites spread out across the contiguous United States. . . .Feder is keen to note the fine points, such as the pigment source for cave paintings or specifics of ancient burial practices. This attention to detail, in addition to his enthusiastic tone, will certainly engage readers. . . .Including literature and website information for further reading, this book would appeal to travelers, historians, and archeology buffs alike.
    American Reference Books Annual

    The magnificent archaeological sites left by America's native peoples are wondrous enough without the myths and exaggerations that often contaminate popular discussions about them. There is no one better than archaeologist and CSI Fellow Kenneth Feder at debunking the misconceptions and stereotypes and then showing in reader-friendly prose what's real and true. The fifty sites in the welcome and lively new book Ancient America reveal an extraordinary legacy of intelligent and capable ancient peoples and cultures. With black & white and color photos.
    Skeptical Inquirer

    A major strength of this guide is the author's stories about the history and importance of the location in the context of American archaeology. The history of the research is often described, which gives the reader a sense of what it takes to develop a complex archaeological site into a public park.... [Ancient America] is a thoroughly enjoyable guide to America's prehistory.
    American Archaeology

    Ken Feder is one of those rare scholars who can make seemingly esoteric concepts accessible and enjoyable to a general audience. And now he’s written a travel guide, but it is unlike any I’ve read—not just a list of places to visit but a guided tour of ancient America and its peoples that is both educational and fun. Think Carl Sagan meets Bill Bryson.
    Michael Alan Park, Central Connecticut State University

    America has a hidden history, but fortunately for us, archaeologist Kenneth Feder knows where it's hiding. He's been there and back again and in this wonderfully entertaining guidebook he shares his personal recommendations for the top fifty ancient American sites you should see before you die. Pick any ten of these sites to visit and, with Feder as your guide, your views of America's ancient past will be transformed.
    Brad Lepper, Ohio History Connection

    Ancient America is a unique gazetteer and guide to fifty major archaeological sites in North America. Feder provides engaging description and wise guidance, as well as his own journal entries when visiting the sites. Both students and general readers could not wish for a better companion.
    Brian Fagan, University of California Santa Barbara, author of Ancient North America

    The magnificent archaeological sites left by America’s native peoples are wondrous enough without the myths and exaggerations that often contaminate popular discussions about them. There is no one better than archaeologist and writer Kenneth Feder at debunking the misconceptions and stereotypes and then showing in reader-friendly prose what’s real and true. The fifty sites in this welcome and lively new book Ancient America reveal an extraordinary legacy of intelligent and capable ancient peoples and cultures. Let Feder be your personable guide and host.
    Kendrick Frazier, editor of Skeptical Inquirer, author of People of Chaco: A Canyon and Its Culture

    Ancient America takes readers on a journey to prehistoric North American archaeological sites, some well-known and others little-known, each significant in its own way. Feder’s style is sometimes whimsical but always informative, and he relates his own personal experiences at each site. He encourages the reader to add these sites to their travels and to learn more about the amazing accomplishments of the diverse cultures that once inhabited ancient America.
    William R. Iseminger, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

    Kenny leads us on a cross country virtual tour of some of the most accessible archaeological sites in the U.S. spanning over 13,000 years and invites us to see them for ourselves to appreciate the diversity, adaptability, and creativity of America’s original inhabitants. Start with this book as your guide and you will experience all of that.
    Andrew Sawyer, SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

    Explores the broad diversity of archaeological sites across the continental United States —rather than a single region or a single kind of site

    Written in an accessible and engaging style, and with the explanatory depth of a professional archaeologist’s perspective

    Features over 125 illustrations and photographs

    Provides archaeological tourists with practical visitor information—including location, ease of access, kid-friendliness, and ideal times to visit

    Systematic presentation of site information: reflections of what it is like to visit the site, what you will see, why the site is important, and what you need to know for a visit

    Focuses on publicly-accessible, archaeologically-relevant, and visually-interesting sites