Ancient America

Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself

By (author) Kenneth L. Feder

Publication date:

17 November 2016

Length of book:

256 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442263123

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.
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.