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Archaeology and Language in the Andes PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Beresford-Jones   
Saturday, 30 June 2012 17:42

Edited by Paul Heggarty, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, and David Beresford-Jones, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, and University of Cambridge

The Andes are of unquestioned significance to the human story: a cradle of agriculture and of 'pristine' civilisation with a pedigree of millennia. The Incas were but the culmination of a succession of civilisations that rose and fell to leave one of the richest archaeological records on Earth. By no coincidence, the Andes are home also to our greatest surviving link to the speech of the New World before European conquest: the Quechua language family. For linguists, the native tongues of the Andes make for another rich seam of data on origins, expansions and reversals throughout prehistory. Historians and anthropologists, meanwhile, negotiate many pitfalls to interpret the conflicting mytho-histories of the Andes, recorded for us only through the distorting prism of the conquistadorsí world-view.

Each of these disciplines opens up its own partial window on the past: very different perspectives, to be sure, but all the more complementary for it. Frustratingly though, specialists in each field have all too long proceeded largely in ignorance of great strides being taken in the others. This book is a long overdue meeting of minds, bringing together a worldwide cast of pre-eminent scholars from each discipline. Here they at last converge their disparate perspectives into a true cross-disciplinary focus, to weave together a more coherent account of what was, after all, one and the same prehistory.

The result, instructive also far beyond the Andes, is a rich case-study in the pursuit of a more holistic vision of the human past. Proceedings of the British Academy No. 173

May 2012 | 440 pages | Hardback 978-0-19-726503-1 | £90.00 £72.00 | $160.00 $128.00

  • Contributors are leading worldwide specialists in Andean prehistory
  • Comprehensive in scope: all key aspects of archaeological and linguistic prehistory in the Andes
  • Sets the Andean case into the broader context of how to correlate archaeology and linguistics worldwide
  • Contributors: Willem Adelaar, David Beresford-Jones, Richard Burger, Rodolfo CerrÛn-Palomino, Elizabeth DeMarrais, Paul Heggarty, Anne-Marie Hocquenghem, William H. Isbell, Peter Kaulicke, George F. Lau, Gordon McEwan, Pieter Muysken, Colin Renfrew, Bill Sillar, Gary Urton

For the 20% discount for orders placed directly with OUP, order online before September 18 at using promotional code 23954

For more information please contact: Megan James Oxford University Press +44(0) 1865 353268 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The book has two companion volumes:

History and Language in the Andes edited by P. Heggarty and A. Pearce (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

Lenguas y sociedades en el antiguo Perú: hacia un enfoque interdisciplinario edited by P. Kaulicke, R. Cerrón-Palomino, P. Heggarty and D. Beresford-Jones (Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú 14, Lima).

Dr David Beresford-Jones,
Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street, Cambridge,
CB2 3ER, UK.


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