Drawing on archaeology, historical evidence, oral traditions, and linguistics, this book provides a dynamic view of Iroquois life from the prehistoric period and Owasco sites through the Five Nations. In a book that spans the Iroquoian culture from its ancient roots to its survival in the modern world, William Engelbrecht maintains that two themes pervade this development: warfare and spirituality. An investigation of oral tradition, archaeology, and historical records provides new insight into this now largely vanished world known as Iroquoia. Engelbrecht covers a wide geographic range, exploring regional and temporal differences in material culture and subsistence patterns. He finds change over time in the distribution and size of communities and in response to environmental, demographic, and social factors. In addition, he furthers the controversial debate that ""arrow sacrifice"" and other beliefs spread from Mesoamerica with the dispersal of maize and horticulture. Although scholars have suggested that palisaded hilltop Iroquoian villages were constructed with an eye for defense, this book is unique in showing that the longhouse - known mainly as a community forum and spiritual place - may also have served as a defense structure. Throughout this work, which will become the new standard text to which scholars will refer, Engelbrecht reminds us that the study of the Iroquoian people continues to enrich and inform the modern world.
William Engelbrecht is professor of anthropology at Buffalo State College. His articles have appeared in many journals including American Antiquity, North American Archaeologist, Northeast Anthropology, and the Bulletin of New York State Archaeological Association.