By James West Davidson, Mark Lytle
For greater than twenty-five years, After the Fact has guided scholars via American heritage and the equipment used to review it. In dramatic episodes that movement chronologically via American background, this best-selling booklet examines a large number of issues together with oral facts, pictures, ecological info, motion pictures and tv courses, church and city files, census facts, and novels. even if for an introductory survey or for a old tools direction, After in point of fact the proper textual content to introduce readers, step-by-step, to the detective paintings and analytical ways historians use once they are literally doing historical past.
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Extra info for After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection
A typical specimen was perhaps five feet tall and as thick as a man's wrist. Apalachee archers aimed for cracks in the Spanish armor, and their arrows were shot with such force that they could penetrate a ttee to the depth of six inches or pierce a horse entirely. The Indians seldom announced their intentions toward the sttangers. A delegation bearing gifts might come primarily to assess Spanish fortifica tions and plan attacks. Sometimes an individual pretending to be the chief 14 AFTER THE FACT: THE AltT OF HISTORICAL DETECTION In condemning many practices of the conquistadors, the Spanish priest Bartolome de las Casas included information about De Soto's treatment of noncooperative Indians.
Over the past half century, however, historians have come to realize that they have taken far too narrow a view of the situation. Archaeologists have long excavated a wealth of evidence about societies lacking written records. Their efforts have expanded as more sites have been discovered, analyzed, and compared. Archaeologists have also made progress in deciphering Aztec and Mayan systems of writing and have unearthed inscriptions from the earlier Olmec and Zapotec civilizations. Even in North America where no early written languages have been found, archaeologists have reconstructed the daily lives, hunting and farming practices, the structures of villages and societies, and even religious attitudes.
By the time Swanton's federal commission of 1936 attempted a definitive solution, the confusion was evident. At Indian sites Swanton thought might be along De Soto's route, new excavations revealed problems. As scholars gained a better picture of how Indian cultures had grown and spread, by studying the layouts of villages, pottery styles, and other evidence, it became clear that Swanton should not have assumed that an Indian tribe living at a certain location in 1800 must have lived at the same place in 1500.
After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson, Mark Lytle