A Prehistory of South America

Ancient Cultural Diversity on the Least Known Continent

by Jerry D. Moore

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"This is the text most of us who teach South American prehistory have been waiting for."
—Mark Aldenderfer, University of California, Merced

"There is no other text with a similar level of detail and at the same time is in keeping with a broad view of the richness of South American past peoples' diversity. This is an excellent book for students, teachers, and anyone with an interest in the fascinating study of the archaeology of South America."
—Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo, University of Florida

"This is the first text that is both comprehensive and accessible enough to use in my Native South Americans anthropology course for undergraduates. It very effectively weaves together history, archaeology, ethnography, and geography from across the continent in ways that will inspire students to think outside of disciplinary confines. It is also filled with beautiful maps, photographs and archival materials that bring the material to life."
—Elizabeth Klarich, Smith College

"Succinctly written and crammed with detail. The author hails today as the Golden Age of South American archaeology, and certainly the last 20 years have uncovered much new material about past communities in this part of the world—and this book brings us bang up-to-date. . . . Written in a textbook style, it is aimed at students of anthropology and archaeology at both undergraduate and graduate levels, but will appeal to anyone interested in any and all aspects of prehistoric South America."
Current World Archaeology


A Prehistory of South America is an overview of the ancient and historic native cultures of the entire continent of South America based on the most recent archaeological investigations. This accessible, clearly written text is designed to engage undergraduate and beginning graduate students in anthropology.

For more than 12,000 years, South American cultures ranged from mobile hunters and gatherers to rulers and residents of colossal cities. In the process, native South American societies made advancements in agriculture and economic systems and created great works of art—in pottery, textiles, precious metals and stone—that still awe the modern eye. Organized in broad chronological periods, A Prehistory of South America explores these diverse human achievements, emphasizing the many adaptations of peoples from a continent-wide perspective. Moore examines the archaeologies of societies across South America, from the arid deserts of the Pacific coast and the frigid Andean highlands to the humid lowlands of the Amazon Basin and the fjords of Patagonia and beyond.

Illustrated in full color and suitable for an educated general reader interested in the Precolumbian peoples of South America, A Prehistory of South America is a long-overdue addition to the literature on South American archaeology.


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Jerry D. Moore is professor of anthropology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. His research focuses on cultural landscapes, the archaeology of architecture, and human adaptations on the north coast of Peru and northern Baja California. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Getty Research Institute, the Institute of Advanced Studies (Durham, UK), and other agencies and foundations. He is the author of Architecture and Power in the Prehispanic Andes: The Archaeology of Public Buildings (1996), Cultural Landscapes in the Prehispanic Andes: Archaeologies of Place (2005), Visions of Culture: An Introduction to Anthropological Theories and Theorists (2012), the 2014 SAA Book Award winner A Prehistory of Home, thirty-five peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and sixty-seven professional papers.

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  • Paperback Price: $39.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-332-7
  • Ebook Price: $31.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-333-4
  • Publication Month: July
  • Publication Year: 2014
  • Pages: 560
  • Illustrations: 261
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Jerry D. Moore
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-332-7
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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