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Native ingenuity

Scholars have known for decades that Native American societies were in many ways more technologically sophisticated than their European counterparts. So why do we still find this fact so surprising?

Indigenous American societies may not have had steel for weapons, but the Inca did highly sophisticated work with other metals. Above, a 16th-century engraving showing goldsmiths in Quito.
Indigenous American societies may not have had steel for weapons, but the Inca did highly sophisticated work with other metals. Above, a 16th-century engraving showing goldsmiths in Quito.
By Charles C. Mann
September 4, 2005

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LIKE EVERY AMERICAN schoolchild, I learned the story of the Pilgrims in school--how half of the Plymouth colonists died of starvation in the first winter, the remainder surviving only by squatting on an abandoned Indian village and ransacking Indian homes and graves for caches of food. But it was only as an adult, visiting the splendid reconstruction of the colony ... (Full article: 1867 words)

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