Following the Data for Long-distance Travels

Author(s): Alice Kehoe

Year: 2017


Part of the postcolonial movement is recognition of long-distance trade and other interactions in the Americas. As late as mid-twentieth century, anthropology textbooks dichotomized the world between "progressive, dynamic" Western civilizations and "primitive peoples" alleged to remain isolated in small villages. Unilineal cultural evolution constructed by Enlightenment didacts and continued in Western "rise of civilization" histories and textbooks such as Johnson and Earle’s Evolution of Human Societies (2nd edition 2000) is closely connected to the Doctrine of Discovery (1493) legitimating European conquests and domination in the Americas. Ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological data, and indigenous histories, abundantly evidence cross-continental and sea travel routes in the Americas from paleoamerican times continuing to and after European contacts. Many railroad and highway routes today follow pre-Columbian routes. Plotting routes such as the Santa Fe Trail, and the distribution of linguas francas such as Mobilian Jargon can lead archaeologists to recognize pre-contact connections. Connections should also be premised for water routes–ethnohistorian Helen Tanner advised, "Look to the rivers!" and to their junctions with seas. This paper represents the "historical turn" taken by a growing number of American archaeologists thinking out of the box of customary American history reflecting Manifest Destiny ideology.

Cite this Record

Following the Data for Long-distance Travels. Alice Kehoe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429408)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 12143