Across the social sciences, gradualist evolutionary models of historical dynamics are giving way to explanations focused on the punctuated and contingent “events” through which historical events are actually experienced. The Archaeology of Events is the first book-length work to systematically apply this new eventful approach to major developments in the pre-Columbian Southeast.
Traditional accounts of pre-Columbian societies often portray them as unchanging for centuries or millennia. Events-based analyses have opened up archaeological discourse to the more nuanced and flexible idea of context-specific, rapidly transpiring, and broadly consequential historical “events” as catalysts of cultural change.
The Archaeology of Events, edited by Zackary I. Gilmore and Jason M. O’Donoughue, considers a variety of perspectives on the nature and scale of events and their role in historical change. These perspectives are applied to a broad range of archeological contexts stretching across the Southeast and spanning more than 7,000 years of the region’s pre-Columbian history. New data suggest that several of this region’s most pivotal historical developments, such as the founding of Cahokia, the transformation of Moundville from an urban center to a vacated necropolis, and the construction of Poverty Point’s Mound A, were not protracted incremental processes, but rather watershed moments that significantly altered the longterm trajectories of indigenous southeastern societies.
In addition to exceptional occurrences that affected entire communities or peoples, southeastern archaeologists are increasingly recognizing the historical importance of localized, everyday events, such as building a house, crafting a pot, or depositing shell. The essays collected by Gilmore and O’Donoughue show that small-scale events can make significant contributions to the unfolding of broad, regional-scale historical processes and to the reproduction or transformation of social structures.
The Archaeology of Events is the first volume to explore the archaeological record of events in the southeastern United States, the methodologies that archaeologists bring to bear on this kind of research, and considerations of the event as an important theoretical concept.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Zackary I. Gilmore is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Florida studying the types and scales of social interaction engaged in by Archaic period hunter-gatherers in the southeastern United States. His current focus is on the spread of early pottery technology and the development of large-scale gathering places in northeast Florida during the Late Archaic period. Jason M. O’Donoughue is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Florida. His recent research focuses on constructing landscape histories of Florida’s freshwater springs and exploring both ancient and contemporary engagements with these places.
PRAISE FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF EVENTS
“This is a very timely and provocative work. The event approach sustained across all the chapters should be of interest to any archaeologist with an historical bent.”
–Douglas K. Charles, coeditor of Recreating Hopewell and Theory, Method, and Practice in Modern Archaeology
“This wonderful collection will help to entrench the American Southeast as an emerging locus of theoretical innovation in archaeology.”
–Victor D. Thompson, coeditor of The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small Scale Economies
6 X 9, 328 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1850-5 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8783-9 Ebook