Five thousand years ago an American people vanished. They lived by the sea and along the lower stretches of the rivers in what is now Maine. They harvested the sea, notably for one of its more dangerous prey, the sword fish. They buried their dead in orderly graves filled with a ritual red powder known as ochre, along with stone tools and bone ornaments of exquisite beauty and craftsmanship. Compared with other contemporary maritime cultures, for example those who occupied what is now Scandinavia, the Red Paint People stood out. They hunted more dangerous prey, had far-flung networks, more elaborate mortuary rituals, and larger, more elaborate stone tools and decorative ornaments. They worked in wood for buildings and furniture and boats. They effectively invented the cemetery in which the dead were buried, and unlike most other cultures, there were seemingly few distinctions between the rulers and the ruled, the wealthy and the poor. Today there are around forty-four cemeteries with thousands of excavated graves and their artifacts which together form a fascinating if distant keyhole view of an early American culture.
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(150mm x 150mm x 23mm)
Bunker Hill Publishing Inc
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Author Biography - Bruce J. Bourque
Bruce Bourque is Chief Archaeologist and Curator of Ethnology at the Maine State Museum. He teaches at Bates College and is the author of Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine.