Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America

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9780547370248: Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America

Once, no humans lived on the continent of North America; then they began to journey, the first migrants arriving perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.  When a skeleton from long-ago centuries is discovered, scientists want to study it for information about the person’s life and death, about her or his time and place in history. Sometimes artists are asked to reconstruct faces from the past using copies of their skulls. Then these nameless, unknown people can be "brought back to life"--remembered, and honored.

Now, when their skeletons are discovered, their stories can be told.

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About the Author:

James M. Deem is the author of numerous books for young readers, including 3 NB of Julian Drew, Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Rediscovery of the Past, and Faces From the Past. Mr. Deem lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 5 Up-Beginning with the startling photograph of a partially reconstructed face on the cover, this book effectively brings to life the people of North America forgotten by the history books. Beginning with the oldest existing mummified human remains-a man discovered in Spirit Cave, Nevada, dated to approximately 10,500 years ago-Deem moves forward chronologically to burials belonging to the Monacan tribe of Virginia (1000-1400), a French sailor traveling with La Salle (1686), the forgotten burial of a woman in colonial New York (1742), a rediscovered slave burial ground (1750-1790), and a Mexican soldier killed shortly after the Alamo (1836). He discusses the poor buried in an Almshouse Cemetery (1826-1926), a Buffalo Soldier (1865), and, finally, Chinese Miners in Wyoming (1881). Each chapter highlights the hardships endured by these early Americans as documented by the bones they left behind and interpreted by anthropologists. A thorough explanation of the archaeological techniques used to exhume these forgotten remains is combined with the known history of each period to create a clear picture of the difficult lives the people uncovered in these forgotten burials faced. Further humanizing these forgotten people are the careful facial reconstructions painstakingly rendered by sculptors whose careful, scientific process is outlined in fascinating detail. Deem tactfully addresses the issue of excavating and displaying human remains and gives an emotional resonance to the lives of these early Americans through the inclusion of poems exploring some of the painful aspects of American history. Clear prose, pleasing layout, and crisp photographs combined with subject matter rarely explored in history books make this book an excellent choice for most collections.-Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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