The Wild Side of North American PrehistoryBook - 1991
The landscape of the nineteenth century, Williams asserts, is dotted with fakes, frauds, and humbugs whose fantastic claims of purported findings would make even P. T. Barnum blush. In Fantastic Archaeology, Williams takes them all on with gusto--illuminating, debunking, and instructing on the modes, methods, manners, and manifestations of American archaeology through the past two centuries.
The author begins his walk on the wild side of North American archaeology with a fascinating introduction to the continent's real past. Then, acting as detective, he answers the questions, Who Found It? Who Done It? Who Twisted the Facts? From solemn old professionals like Samuel Haven to eccentric "odd fishes" like Constantine Rafinesque, from brash "free thinkers" like Harold S. Gladwin to stoic strategists like A. V. Kidder, Williams enthusiastically portrays them all.
The big issues are here, too: the quest for the first Americans, the transoceanic search for links to distant civilizations, and the meaning of ancient writings. From monstrous stone giants to mysterious messages from the past, right up to the real story of America's archaeological past, the author unearths a wondrous tale that will amaze, delight, and inform professional and general readers alike.