A Time Before New Hampshire: The Story of a Land and Native Peoples
In this masterful and elegant book, Michael J. Caduto tells the complete story of the land of New Hampshire—starting with the formation of earth 4.6 billion years ago and continuing with changes to its peoples and the environment through the seventeenth century. Part I offers a comprehensive look at every aspect of the ancient natural world—including geology, glaciology, botany, climatology, ecology, zoology, and paleobotany. It describes the formation of the land hundreds of millions of years ago as a result of major movements in the tectonic plates; chronicles the rise and fall of reptiles, mammals, birds, and plants and other life forms stemming from climatic changes; and explores the arrival of human beings during and after the relatively recent ice age.
The rest of the volume immerses the reader in the history of the human populations in New Hampshire, beginning with the Paleoindian period of hunter gatherers over twelve thousand years ago and continuing through the arrival of horticulture among the Aln bak (Abenaki) and beyond. Caduto explores the Aln bak’s day-to-day existence, culture, and traditional tales as preserved by archeologists, anthropologists, historians, and living cultures. Emphasizing the beliefs, cultures, and practices of these native people, Caduto details the Aln bak’s relationship to the natural world as he tells the story of coevolution between the land and people through time.
Caduto takes the reader on an exploration through New Hampshire’s rich and diverse history—using first-hand experiences, re-creations of natural and human environments, journeys through historical landscapes and visits with the families of ancient people—to present a thorough profile of the early beginnings of the Granite State.
The volume features an epilogue by Charlie True, Member of the Tribal Council, Abenaki Nation of New Hampshire, and nearly one hundred photographs, illustrations, and detailed maps depicting past peoples, historical trails, and indigenous cultures and environments of New Hampshire.
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