This volume covers the natural environment of Middle America, its role in the shaping of Indian cultures, the earliest primitive hunters of this area, the beginnings of agriculture, and the broad patterns of prehistoric civilizations there.
This is the first volume of the monumental Handbook of Middle American Indians, a definitive encyclopaedia of the environment, archaeology, ethnology, social anthropology, ethnohistory, linguistics, and physical anthropology of the native peoples of Mexico and Central America. The Handbook was published in cooperation with the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University under the general editorship of Robert Wauchope (1909–1979). This volume of the Handbook was edited by Dr. Robert C. West (1913–2001), Boyd Professor of Geography at Louisiana State University, an outstanding authority on Latin America. He was formerly cultural geographer for the Smithsonian Institution.
Included in this first volume are chapters written by leading authorities in various fields of the natural and social sciences that are concerned with the natural environment of Middle America, its role in the shaping of Indian cultures, the earliest primitive hunters of this area, the beginnings of agriculture, and the broad patterns of prehistoric civilizations there.
There are articles on the geohistory and paleogeography of Middle America, its surface configuration and associated geology, hydrography, the American Mediterranean, oceanography and marine life along the Pacific coast, weather and climate, natural vegetation, the soils and their relation to the Indian peoples and cultures, fauna , the natural regions of Middle America, the primitive hunters, the food-gathering and incipient agricultural stage of prehistoric Middle America, origins of agriculture there, and the patterns of farming life and civilization.
The Handbook of Middle American Indians was assembled and edited at the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University with the assistance of grants from the National Science Foundation and under the sponsorship of the National Research Council Committee on Latin American Anthropology.
- 1. Geohistory and Paleogeography of Middle America (Manuel Maldonado-Koerdell)
- 2. Surface Configuration and Associated Geology of Middle America (Robert C. West)
- 3. The Hydrography of Middle America (Jorge L. Tamayo, in collaboration with Robert C. West)
- 4. The American Mediterranean (Albert Collier)
- 5. Oceanography and Marine Life along the Pacific Coast (Carl L. Hubbs and Gunnar I. Roden)
- 6. Weather and Climate of Mexico and Central America (Jorge A. Vivó Escoto)
- 7. Natural Vegetation of Middle America (Philip L. Wagner)
- 8. The Soils of Middle America and their Relation to Indian Peoples and Cultures (Rayfred L. Stevens)
- 9. Fauna of Middle America (L. C. Stuart)
- 10. The Natural Regions of Middle America (Robert C. West)
- 11. The Primitive Hunters (Luís Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda)
- 12. The Food-gathering and Incipient Agriculture Stage of Prehistoric Middle America (Richard S. MacNeish)
- 13. Origins of Agriculture in Middle America (Paul C. Mangelsdorf, Richard S. MacNeish, and Gordon R. Willey)
- 14. The Patterns of Farming Life and Civilization (Gordon R. Willey, Gordon F. Ekholm, and René F. Millon)
“Anthropologists, scholars in other fields, librarians, and. the general public will all be well served by this encyclopedic survey. . . . To judge from this first volume the completed handbook will be a major scholarly contribution and an indispensable reference work.”