Archaeological sites throughout southern Illinois provide a chronicle of the varying ways people have lived in that area during the past 10,000 years. This book focuses on the results of a five-year archaeological investigation in a 143-acre area known as the Carrier Mills Archaeological District. This area, rich in archaeological treasures, offers many keys to the prehistoric people of southern Illinois. Archaeologists in this study have sought to learn the ages of the various prehistoric occupations represented at the sites; to better understand the technology and social organization of these prehistoric people; to collect information about diet, health, and physical characteristics of the prehistoric inhabitants; and to investigate the remains of the 19th-century Lakeview settlement.
The last decades of the Ming dynasty, though plagued by chaos and destruction, saw a significant increase of publications that examined advances in knowledge and technology. Among the numerous guides and reference books that appeared during this period was a series of texts by Song Yingxing (1587–1666?), a minor local official living in southern China. His Tiangong kaiwu, the longest and most prominent of these works, documents the extraction and processing of raw materials and the manufacture of goods essential to everyday life, from yeast and wine to paper and ink to boats, carts, and firearms.
In The Crafting of the 10,000 Things, Dagmar Schäfer probes this fascinating text and the legacy of its author to shed new light on the development of scientific thinking in China, the purpose of technical writing, and its role in and effects on Chinese history. Meticulously unfolding the layers of Song’s personal and cultural life, Schäfer chronicles the factors that motivated Song to transform practical knowledge into written culture. She then examines how Song gained, assessed, and ultimately presented knowledge, and in doing so articulates this era’s approaches to rationality, truth, and belief in the study of nature and culture alike. Finally, Schäfer places Song’s efforts in conjunction with the work of other Chinese philosophers and writers, before, during, and after his time, and argues that these writings demonstrate collectively a uniquely Chinese way of authorizing technology as a legitimate field of scholarly concern and philosophical knowledge.
Offering an overview of a thousand years of scholarship, The Crafting of the 10,000 Things explains the role of technology and crafts in a culture that had an outstandingly successful tradition in this field and was a crucial influence on the technical development of Europe on the eve of the Industrial Revolution.
Join the conversation as an earth scientist and a Native American elder—wise men from two cultures—explore the natural history of the Lake Superior region, examining both the science and the spirit of the land.
As the geologist carefully presents a modern scientific perspective, the storyteller eloquently recounts a traditional Native American understanding, passed on through tales, myths, and symbols that illustrate how intimately his people have known and honored the earth and its history for over a hundred centuries.
Talking Rocks is not only a story of geological history told from two perspectives, it is also a chronicle of two people from very different cultural and scientific heritages learning to understand and appreciate each other’s distinct yet complementary ways of viewing the land we share.