Anthropology •  American Indians and Linguistics

$65.00 hardcover

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A Prehistory of Western North America: The Impact of Uto-Aztecan Languages

David Leedom Shaul

This book offers a new approach to the use of linguistic data to reconstruct prehistory. The author shows how a well-studied language family—in this case Uto-Aztecan—can be used as an instrument for reconstructing prehistory.

The main focus of Shaul’s work is the mapping of Uto-Aztecan. By presenting various models of Uto-Aztecan prehistory, by assessing multiple models simultaneously, and by guiding readers through areas where the evidence is not so clear, Shaul helps nonspecialists develop the tools needed for evaluating various historical linguistics models themselves. He evaluates both archaeological and genetic evidence as well, placing it carefully alongside the linguistic evidence he knows best. Shaul’s thorough treatment provides many new avenues for future research on the historical anthropology of western North America.


David Leedom Shaul is a research associate at the University of Arizona. Among his previous publications is Hopi Traditional Literature (UNM Press).


“Shaul is to be commended for this masterful synthesis.”


Journal of Anthropological Research

“Few linguists have amassed the breadth of expertise in the languages of the American Southwest that David Shaul has.”


Anthropological Linguistics

“This work contains a wealth of relevant research, a variety of data important to issues discussed, and much original thinking. . . . In short, anyone interested in Western North American languages, archaeology, prehistory, Uto-Aztecan, or any of its neighboring language families would benefit from this valuable volume.”


International Journal of American Linguistics

6 x 9 in. 400 pages 2 drawings, 7 halftones, 9 maps, 73 tables