The First North Americans

Ancient Peoples and Places

The First North Americans

An Archaeological Journey

  1. Brian Fagan
‘A masterful tapestry of diverse pre-Columbian Native North American societies, life, and history.... An extraordinarily enjoyable work for layperson and student alike’ – Christopher Carr – Professor of Anthropology, Arizona State University
‘… A highly readable coverage of an exceedingly rich archaeological heritage.’ – George R. Milner, Professor of Archaeological Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
‘A sophisticated, wide-ranging analysis … an epic tale, very well told’ – Geographical Magazine
'Lavishly illustrated ... This succinct authoritative summary is written for students and the general reader by a master storyteller and prolific archaeological writer, and has been endorsed by a dozen specialists in different aspects of Native American culture' - The Historical Association

Everyone is familiar with the story of the Founding Fathers of America. But who were the original settlers thousands of years ago, and when and how did they arrive? This is the compelling and little-known story that Brian Fagan recounts, drawing on cutting-edge research ranging from archaeology and ethnohistory to climatology and high-tech chemistry and physics.

Fagan describes the controversies over first settlement, which probably occurred towards the end of the Ice Age, and the debates over the routes used as humans moved south into the heart of the continent.

The author traces the origins and development of the Moundbuilder societies of the Eastern Woodlands, the spectacular Pueblo societies of the Southwest, the flamboyant Mississippian culture of the South and Southeast and the mounds of the ancient city of Cahokia. New research provides particular insights into the spiritual beliefs of Mississippian groups.

The book ends with the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples of the Northeast and St Lawrence Valley, and an epilogue describes the devastating consequences for Native Americans of European contacts.

Brian Fagan, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is recognized as one of the foremost living archaeological writers and as an authority on world prehistory. He is the author of numerous bestselling textbooks and historical works for the general reader, including the highly successful Ancient North America.