"An endangered human society needs a very special book. Gustavo Politis provides us with one in his unforgettable portrait of a community marginalised by the pressures indigenous people face in the Global South. With an archaeologist's eye for detail we are led along the forest paths of the Nukak's world and into their lives. Sensitive and dignified, his photographs will haunt the history of the twenty-first century." —Clive Gamble, Royal Holloway University of London
"This vivid and absorbing account challenges many of our assumptions as archaeologists. Politis delves into the rich tapestry of Nukak social and symbolic life while at the same time providing a full account of technologies, subsistence and artifact discard. He uses a broad range of perspectives to produce a uniquely balanced account. This book has impact not only on ethnoarchaeology and hunter-gatherer archaeology, but also on debates in archaeological theory as a whole." —Ian Hodder, Stanford University
"Politis presents the finest treatise yet on the archaeology of a living Amazonian society. Readers can discern that the author cares deeply about the living people he works with; they come to life on the printed page as nuanced agents of landscape transformation, not as stick figures in archaeological rock art. The book is engrossing in its coverage of northwest Amazon ethnology and historical ecology. As theory, this book may be construed as the first archaeological monograph on the Amazon from the perspective of historical ecology." —CHOICE Magazine
Politis has written a book that shows that the Nukak choose to emphasize foraging for symbolic and sociocultural reasons and that horticulture and foraging are not pure types…The Nukak are the way they are because they prefer to live as such. Just as there are different ways of making a living in Amazonia, so too there are different ways to define and practice “the good life,” the imagined pragmatics of what it means to be fully human....Politis’s rich ethnography provides good data for the Nukak, who are an extremely interesting and creative group of people. Overall, I recommend this book for specialists, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates.
-Michael A. Uzendoski, Current Anthropology
This volume forms an informative and stimulating book for a broadaudience with interests in archaeology, anthropology, history, materialculture, indigenous peoples, Colombia, and the Amazon in general....Politis shows to a great extent that the incorporation, as Ingold and Lucas (2007) argue, of archaeology, anthropology, architecture, and arts...is plausible and indeed contributes to a remarkable detailed account and deeper understanding of life.
-Anthropology Review Database