Fisher-Hunter-Gatherer Complexity in North America

Edited by Christina Perry Sampson

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Available for pre-order. This book will be available April, 2023
 

Demonstrating the wide variation among complex hunter-gatherer communities in coastal settings  
 
“Moves beyond finding complexity in the hunter-gatherer archaeological record, instead exploring the historical processes, contingencies, and environments by which and in which foragers deploy the strategies that constitute complexity. A valuable contribution to the geographically expansive and temporally deep reconsideration underway about what it means to be a hunter gatherer, and whether the concept retains utility.”—M. Gabriel Hrynick, coauthor of The Archaeology of the Atlantic Northeast  
 
“Challenges older narratives about trajectories of social development in fisher-hunter-gatherer societies. Not only a major contribution to fisher-hunter-gatherer archaeology, but also to the archaeology of ‘complexity,’ and of islands and coasts.”—Thomas P. Leppard, coeditor of Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity  
 
This book explores the forms and trajectories of social complexity among fisher-hunter-gatherers who lived in coastal, estuarine, and riverine settings in pre-Columbian North America. Through case studies from several different regions and intellectual traditions, the contributors to this volume collectively demonstrate remarkable variation in the circumstances and histories of complex hunter-gatherers in maritime environments.
 
The volume draws on archaeological research from the North Pacific and Alaska, the Pacific Northwest coast and interior, the California Channel Islands, and the Southeastern U.S. and Florida. Essays trace complex social configurations through monumentality, ceremonialism, territoriality, community organization, and trade and exchange. They show that while factors such as boat travel, patterns of marine and riverine resource availability, and sedentism and village formation are common unifying threads across the continent, these factors manifest in historically contingent ways in different contexts.
 
Fisher-Hunter-Gatherer Complexity in North America offers specific, substantive examples of change and transformation in these communities, emphasizing the wide range of complexity among them. It considers the use of the term “complex hunter-gatherer” and what these case studies show about the value and limitations of the concept, adding nuance to an ongoing conversation in the field.  
 
Christina Perry Sampson is an instructor of anthropology at Everett Community College, Washington.  
 
A volume in the series Society and Ecology in Island and Coastal Archaeology, edited by Victor D. Thompson and Scott M. Fitzpatrick

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