Pre-Columbian Landscapes of Creation and Origin

Front Cover
John Staller
Springer Science & Business Media, Mar 12, 2008 - History - 389 pages

Pre-Columbian Andean and Mesoamerican cultures have inspired a special fascination among historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, as well as the general public. As two of the earliest known and studied civilizations, their origin and creation mythologies hold a special interest. The existing and Pre-Columbian cultures from these regions are particularly known for having a strong connection with the natural landscape, and weaving it into their mythologies. A landscape approach to archaeology in these areas is uniquely useful shedding insight into their cultural beliefs, practices, and values. The ways in which these cultures imbued their landscape with symbolic significance influenced the settlement of the population, the construction of monuments, as well as their rituals and practices.

This edited volume combines research on Pre-Columbian cultures throughout Mesoamerica and South America, examining their constructed monuments and ritual practices. It explores the foundations of these cultures, through both the creation mythologies of ancient societies as well as the tangible results of those beliefs. It offers insight on specific case studies, combining evidence from the archaeological record with sacred texts and ethnohistoric accounts. The patterns developed throughout this work shed insight on the effect that perceived sacredness can have on the development of culture and society.

This comprehensive and much-needed work will be of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists focused on Pre-Columbian studies, as well as those in the fields of cultural or religious studies with a broader geographic focus.

 

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Contents

Staller_Ch01pdf
10
Staller_Ch02pdf
31
Staller_Ch03pdf
66
Staller_Ch04pdf
95
Staller_Ch05pdf
122
Staller_Ch07pdf
203
Staller_Ch08pdf
249
Staller_Ch09pdf
269
Staller_Ch10pdf
314
Staller_Ch11pdf
357
Staller_Indexpdf
379
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Page vii - For religious man, this spatial nonhomogeneity finds expression in the experience of an opposition between space that is sacred — the only real and real-ly existing space — and all other space, the formless expanse surrounding it.3 It is this break in ordinary profane space which allows the world to be regenerated.
Page vii - For it is a break effected in space that allows the world to be constituted, because it reveals the fixed point, the central axis for all future orientation. When the sacred manifests itself in any hierophany, there is not only a break in the homogeneity of space; there is also revelation of an absolute reality...
Page vii - For religious man, space is not homogeneous; he experiences interruptions, breaks in it; some parts of space are qualitatively different from others. "Draw not nigh hither," says the Lord to Moses ; "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground

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