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In Their Own WordsJoseph W. Ball and Jennifer T. Taschek
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In Their Own Words

Written Texts from the Earliest Civilizations (First Edition)
Edited by Joseph W. Ball and Jennifer T. Taschek

Spiral Bound ISBN: 978-1-62131-255-0, 200 pages

©2013

Description
Ancient literatures allow us to see past civilizations through the eyes of those who were part of them or who observed them firsthand as living societies. Archaeological sites, artifacts, and art come down to us as static illustrations of the material environments within which past peoples lived and acted. Their literatures in the form of myths and stories, poetry and prayers, reports and journals, histories and letters, or even just commercial inventories and legal codes give us a peek into how they thought and what they valued; what their beliefs and dreams and fears were; what they thought about their own civilization and others around them; how they felt about themselves and others, about right and wrong, death and dying, the cosmos and our place in it; what they found funny and tragic, noble and contemptible—in short, all those aspects of living societies that archaeology and art can only hint at.

This volume provides a sampling of original readings drawn from the earliest civilizations or their firsthand observers from throughout the ancient Old World. It is intended to give the student a sense of how ancient peoples actually saw and thought about themselves and their world to complement the interpretations of their lifeways created by archaeologists and art historians. The particular selections included have been carefully chosen for intelligibility, readability, and topical diversity.

Biographies
Jennifer Taschek is adjunct professor of anthropology at San Diego State University where she has taught since 1978. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A specialist in monumental architecture and its restoration, Taschek has conducted field work in Central America, Maya México, and Belize since the early 1970s. She co-directed a major research program in the upper Belize Valley from 1983 to 1998, and was field director for a Universidad Autónoma de Campeche project at Acanmul, México from 2002 to 2006. Since 2007, she has been an invited consultant to the Government of China on the Bronze Age site of Sanxingdui, Sichuan and its relationships to early shamanic practices.

Joseph W. Ball is distinguished professor of anthropology at San Diego State University where he has taught since 1975. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A specialist in ceramic studies and context analysis, Ball has conducted field and laboratory research throughout Maya México, Guatemala, and Belize since the late 1960s. He co-directed a major research program in the upper Belize Valley from 1983 to 1998, and was associate director for a Universidad Autónoma de Campeche project at Acanmul, México from 2002 to 2006. Since 2007, he has been an invited consultant to the Government of China on the Bronze Age site of Sanxingdui, Sichuan and its relationships to early shamanic practices.