The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest

Norton. Apr. 2015. 352p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393241624. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393241891. HIST
Roberts (In Search of the Old Ones) returns to the American Southwest, bringing his experiences as a climber, traveler, and writer to the history of the Pueblo and Navajo peoples. Readers will follow the author into canyon country, hiking through pinyon-juniper stretches and scaling hidden alcoves. The text discusses important issues in anthropology, including archaeological preservation, the relationships of the natives to the historical landscape, and the complicated tensions between archaeologists and natives. Serious students of history and archaeology may glaze over the episodic adventurism, but the work succeeds in popularizing the often overly technical or inaccessible archaeological literature. Readers who are more interested in history than hiking may prefer Stephen Lekson's History of the Ancient Southwest. Nevertheless, Roberts has done his homework, and the book serves as an excellent literature review of Southwestern archaeology. In addition to examining common questions (e.g., Where did the Four Corners people go after the 13th century?), Roberts delves into less-charted territory, lending time to the Fremont culture and the Navajo leader Hoskinini.
VERDICT Part history, part memoir, part excursion, this work is a great companion for scholar-adventurers.

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