Using case studies from around the globe—including Mesoamerica, North and South America, Africa, China, and the Greco-Roman world—and across multiple time periods, the authors in this volume make the case that abundance provides an essential explanatory perspective on ancient peoples’ choices and activities. Economists frequently focus on scarcity as a driving principle in the development of social and economic hierarchies, yet focusing on plenitude enables the understanding of a range of cohesive behaviors that were equally important for the development of social complexity.
Our earliest human ancestors were highly mobile hunter-gatherers who sought out places that provided ample food, water, and raw materials. Over time, humans accumulated and displayed an increasing quantity and variety of goods. In households, shrines, tombs, caches, and dumps, archaeologists have discovered large masses of materials that were deliberately gathered, curated, distributed, and discarded by ancient peoples. The volume’s authors draw upon new economic theories to consider the social, ideological, and political implications of human engagement with abundant quantities of resources and physical objects and consider how individual and household engagements with material culture were conditioned by the quest for abundance.
Abundance shows that the human propensity for mass consumption is not just the result of modern production capacities but fulfills a longstanding focus on plenitude as both the assurance of well-being and a buffer against uncertainty. This book will be of great interest to scholars and students in economics, anthropology, and cultural studies.
Contributors: Traci Ardren, Amy Bogaard, Elizabeth Klarich, Abigail Levine, Christopher R. Moore, Tito E. Naranjo, Stacey Pierson, James M. Potter, François G. Richard, Christopher W. Schmidt, Carol Schultze, Payson Sheets, Monica L. Smith, Katheryn C. Twiss, Mark D. Varien, Justin St. P. Walsh, María Nieves Zedeño
Accomplishing NAGPRA reveals the day-to-day reality of implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The diverse contributors to this timely volume reflect the viewpoints of tribes, museums, federal agencies, attorneys, academics, and others invested in the landmark act.
NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to return requested Native American cultural items to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawai’ian organizations. Since the 1990 passage of the act, museums and federal agencies have made more than one million cultural items—and the remains of nearly forty thousand Native Americans—available for repatriation.
Drawing on case studies, personal reflections, historical documents, and statistics, the volume examines NAGPRA and its grassroots, practical application throughout the United States.? Accomplishing NAGPRA will appeal to professionals and academics with an interest in cultural resource management, Indian and human rights law, Indigenous studies, social justice movements, and public policy.
Meth cooks practice late industrial alchemy—transforming base materials, like lithium batteries and camping fuel, into gold
Meth alchemists all over the United States tap the occulted potencies of industrial chemical and big pharma products to try to cure the ills of precarious living: underemployment, insecurity, and the feeling of idleness. Meth fires up your attention and makes repetitive tasks pleasurable, whether it’s factory work or tinkering at home. Users are awake for days and feel exuberant and invincible. In one person’s words, they “get more life.”
The Alchemy of Meth is a nonfiction storybook about St. Jude County, Missouri, a place in decomposition, where the toxic inheritance of deindustrialization meets the violent hope of this drug-making cottage industry. Jason Pine bases the book on fieldwork among meth cooks, recovery professionals, pastors, public defenders, narcotics agents, and pharmaceutical executives. Here, St. Jude is not reduced to its meth problem but Pine looks at meth through materials, landscapes, and institutions: the sprawling context that makes methlabs possible. The Alchemy of Meth connects DIY methlabs to big pharma’s superlabs, illicit speed to the legalized speed sold as ADHD medication, uniquely implicating the author’s own story in the narrative.
By the end of the book, the backdrop of St. Jude becomes the foreground. It could be a story about life and work anywhere in the United States, where it seems no one is truly clean and all are complicit in the exploitation of their precious resources in exchange for a livable present—or even the hope of a future.
An Aleutian Ethnography
Lucien Turner University of Alaska Press, 2008 Library of Congress E99.A34T874 2008 | Dewey Decimal 979.800497
Lucien Turner was a pioneering nineteenth-century ethnographer whose study of Aleut communities surpassed the work of all of his contemporaries, and now his rare writings are collected here for the first time. Turner’s admittedly fragmentary ethnographic notes, which chronicle his complete immersion in three Aleut communities, reveal valuable insights into Aleutian cultures and the outsiders who lived among them in the nineteenth century. Carefully edited by Ray Hudson, An Aleutian Ethnography is an essential resource for scholars of American history and history of anthropology alike.
Author, collector, and historian Alice Morse Earle (1851–1911) was among the most important and prolific writers of her day. Between 1890 and 1904, she produced seventeen books as well as numerous articles, pamphlets, and speeches about the life, manners, customs, and material culture of colonial New England. Earle's work coincided with a surge of interest in early American history, genealogy, and antique collecting, and more than a century after the publication of her first book, her contributions still resonate with readers interested in the nation's colonial past.
An intensely private woman, Earle lived in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and four children and conducted much of her research either by mail or at the newly established Long Island Historical Society. She began writing on the eve of her fortieth birthday, and the impressive body of scholarship she generated over the next fifteen years stimulated new interest in early American social customs, domestic routines, foodways, clothing, and childrearing patterns.
Written in a style calculated to appeal to a wide readership, Earle's richly illustrated books recorded the intimate details of what she described as colonial "home life." These works reflected her belief that women had played a key historical role, helping to nurture communities by constructing households that both served and shaped their families. It was a vision that spoke eloquently to her contemporaries, who were busily creating exhibitions of early American life in museums, staging historical pageants and other forms of patriotic celebration, and furnishing their own domestic interiors.
This beautifully photographed book catalogs the collection of nearly five hundred Alutiiq cultural items held by the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, or the Kunstkamera, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Gathered between 1780 and 1867, many of the artifacts are composed of fur, feathers, gut, hair, and other delicate materials, which prevent their transport for display or study.
To document these artifacts for the public, the Kunstkamera collaborated with the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska. Together, anthropologists and members of the Alutiiq community combined the collection records with cultural knowledge and high-resolution digital imagery and worked to name objects, describe their uses, and detail the materials used in their construction. As a result, this book will provide the Alutiit, Alaskans, Russians, and the global community with lasting access to one of the oldest, most extensive ethnographic collections from the central Gulf of Alaska.
When defining culture, one must indeed take into account even the minutest of details. What of a lighter, for example, or a telephone? The essays in this new collection examine just that. The contributors pose not only a historical, pragmatic use for the items, but also delve into more imaginative aspects of what defines us as Americans. Both the lighter and the telephone are investigated, as well as how the lava lamp represents sixties counterculture and containment. The late nineteenth-century corset is discussed as an embodiment of womanhood, and an Amish quilt is used as an illustration of cultural continuity. These are just a few of the artifacts discussed. Scholars will be intrigued by the historical interpretations that contributors proposed concerning a teapot, card table, and locket; students will not only find merit in the expositions, but also by learning from the models how such interpretation can be carried out. This collection helps us understand that very thing that makes us who we are. Viewing these objects from both our past and our present, we can begin to define what it is to be American.
Provides a clear view of the realities of the economic and social interactions between Native groups and the expanding Euro-American population
The last quarter of the 18th century was a period of extensive political, economic, and social change in North America, as the continent-wide struggle between European superpowers waned. Native groups found themselves enmeshed in the market economy and new state forms of control, among other new threats to their cultural survival. Native populations throughout North America actively engaged the expanding marketplace in a variety of economic and social forms. These actions, often driven by and expressed through changes in material culture, were supported by a desire to maintain distinctive ethnic identities.
Illustrating the diversity of Native adaptations in an increasingly hostile and marginalized world, this volume is continental in scope—ranging from Connecticut to the Carolinas, and westward through Texas and Colorado. Calling on various theoretical perspectives, the authors provide nuanced perspectives on material culture use as a manipulation of the market economy. A thorough examination of artifacts used by Native Americans, whether of Euro-American or Native origin, this volume provides a clear view of the realities of the economic and social interactions between Native groups and the expanding Euro-American population and the engagement of these Native groups in determining their own fate.
Until 1927, the wild area of Utah near the Colorado River and below the mouth of the Escalante River was almost unknown archaeologically. The Claflin-Emerson Fund of Harvard’s Peabody Museum was created to provide support for an extended survey of southeastern Utah west of the Colorado River.
One such survey was conducted by author Noel Morss during the summer of 1928, resulting in an unexpected revelation: the Fremont (Dirty Devil) River drainage area being surveyed proved to be host to a prehistoric culture different from all other established Southwestern cultures. Excavations completed the following field season confirmed Morss’s findings. This distinct culture was defined by unique unpainted black or gray pottery, sole use of a primitive moccasin type, elaborate clay figurines, and abundant distinctive pictographs. Though too definite and well developed to be confined to a single drainage, Morss concluded that the Fremont were nonetheless a periphery culture and not an integral part of the mainstream of Southwestern development.
Originally published in 1931 and now featuring a new foreword by Duncan Metcalfe, The Ancient Culture of the Fremont River in Utah has become a classic in Southwestern archaeology, furthering a conversation about the early peoples of southern Utah that continues even today.
Ancient Households on the North Coast of Peru provides insight into the organization of complex, urban, and state-level society in the region from a household perspective, using observations from diverse North Coast households to generate new understandings of broader social processes in and beyond Andean prehistory.
Many volumes on this region are limited to one time period or civilization, often the Moche. While Ancient Households on the North Coast of Peru does examine the Moche, it offers a wider thematic approach to a broader swath of prehistory. Chapters on various time periods use a comparable scale of analysis to examine long-term continuity and change and draw on a large corpus of prior research on states, rulership, and cosmology to offer new insight into the intersection of household, community, and state. Contributors address social reproduction, construction and reinforcement of gender identities and social hierarchy, household permanence and resilience, and expression of identity through cuisine.
This volume challenges common concepts of the “household” in archaeology by demonstrating the complexity and heterogeneity of household-level dynamics as they intersect with institutions at broader social scales and takes a comparative perspective on daily life within one region of the Andes. It will be of interest to both students and scholars of South American archaeology and household archaeology.
Contributors: Brian R. Billman, David Chicoine, Guy S. Duke, Hugo Ikehara, Giles Spence-Morrow, Jessica Ortiz, Edward Swenson, Kari A. Zobler
This book provides an introduction to anthropological perspectives on art. Svasek defines art as a social process, where we study not only the artifacts themselves and the values attributed to them, but also the process of production and the wider context in which this process takes place. Svasek provides a critical overview of various anthropological theories of art. She examines the process of collecting and exhibiting art works and how this relates to art's production, distribution, and consumption in an increasingly global market. The book also explores the significance of art and aesthetics in everyday life, examing the shifting boundaries between art and other categories such as kitsch, souvenirs, propaganda, and pornography. Finally, Svasek argues for an anthropological perspective that gives a proper political context to "art," linking the production and consumption of artifacts to political, religious, and other cultural processes.
Archaeologists study a wide array of material remains to propose conclusions about non-material aspects of culture. The intricacies of these findings have increased over recent decades, but only limited attention has been paid to what the archaeological record can tell us about the transfer of cultural knowledge through apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship is broadly defined as the transmission of culture through a formal or informal teacher–pupil relationship. This collection invites a wide discussion, citing case studies from all over the world and yet focuses the scholarship into a concise set of contributions. The chapters in this volume demonstrate how archaeology can benefit greatly from the understanding of the social dimensions of knowledge transfer. This book also examines apprenticeship in archaeology against a backdrop of sociological and cognitive psychology literature, to enrich the understanding of the relationship between material remains and enculturation.
Each of the authors in this collection looks specifically at how material remains can reveal several specific aspects of ancient cultures: What is the human potential for learning? How do people learn? Who is teaching? Why are they learning? What are the results of such learning? How do we recognize knowledge transfer in the archaeological record? These fundamental questions are featured in various forms in all chapters of the book. With case studies from the American Southwest, Alaska, Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Mesopotamia, this book will have broad appeal for scholars—particularly those concerned with cultural transmission and traditions of learning and education—all over the world.
The Archaeology of the Colorado Coalfield War Project has conducted archaeological investigations at the site of the Ludlow Massacre in Ludlow, Colorado, since 1996. With the help of the United Mine Workers of America and funds from the Colorado State Historical Society and the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, the scholars involved have integrated archaeological finds with archival evidence to show how the everyday experiences of miners and their families shaped the strike and its outcome.The Archaeology of Class War weaves together material culture, documents, oral histories, landscapes, and photographs to reveal aspects of the strike and life in early twentieth-century Colorado coalfields unlike any standard documentary history. Excavations at the site of the massacre and the nearby town of Berwind exposed tent platforms, latrines, trash dumps, and the cellars in which families huddled during the attack. Myriad artifacts—from canning jars to a doll’s head—reveal the details of daily existence and bring the community to life.The Archaeology of Class War will be of interest to archaeologists, historians, and general readers interested in mining and labor history.
In recent years, archaeologists have used the terms hybrid and hybridity with increasing frequency to describe and interpret forms of material culture. Hybridity is a way of viewing culture and human action that addresses the issue of power differentials between peoples and cultures. This approach suggests that cultures are not discrete pure entities but rather are continuously transforming and recombining. The Archaeology of Hybrid Material Culture discusses this concept and its relationship to archaeological classification and the emergence of new ethnic group identities. This collection of essays provides readers with theoretical and concrete tools for investigating objects and architecture with discernible multiple influences.
The twenty-one essays are organized into four parts: ceramic change in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean; ethnicity and material culture in pre-Hispanic and colonial Latin America; culture contact and transformation in technological style; and materiality and identity. The media examined include ceramics, stone and glass implements, textiles, bone, architecture, and mortuary and bioarchaeological artifacts from North, South, and Central America, Hawai‘i, the Caribbean, Europe, and Mesopotamia. Case studies include Bronze Age Britain, Iron Age and Roman Europe, Uruk-era Turkey, African diasporic communities in the Caribbean, pre-Spanish and Pueblo revolt era Southwest, Spanish colonial impacts in the American Southeast, Central America, and the Andes, ethnographic Amazonia, historic-era New England and the Plains, the Classic Maya, nineteenth-century Hawai‘i, and Upper Paleolithic Europe. The volume is carefully detailed with more than forty maps and figures and over twenty tables.
The work presented in The Archaeology of Hybrid Material Culture comes from researchers whose questions and investigations recognized the role of multiple influences on the people and material they study. Case studies include experiments in bone working in middle Missouri; images and social relationships in prehistoric and Roman Europe; technological and material hybridity in colonial Peruvian textiles; ceramic change in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean; and flaked glass tools from the leprosarium at Kalawao, Moloka‘i. The essays provide examples and approaches that may serve as a guide for other researchers dealing with similar issues.
The first comprehensive archaeological survey of the Muskogee (Maskókî) Creek Indians
The Muskogee Indians who lived along the lower Chattahoochee and Flint River watersheds had, and continue to have, a profound influence on the development of the southeastern United States, especially during the historic period (circa 1540–1836). Our knowledge of that culture is limited to what we can learn from their descendants and from archaeological and historical sources.
Combining historical documents and archaeological research on all known Lower Muskogee Creek sites, Thomas Foster has accurately pinpointed town locations discussed in the literature and reported in contemporary Creek oral histories. In so doing, this volume synthesizes the archaeological diversity and variation within the Lower Creek Indians between 1715 and 1836. The book is a study of archaeological methods because it analyzes the temporal and geographic variation within a single archaeological phase and the biases of that archaeological data. Foster’s research segregates the variation between Lower Creek Indian towns through a regional and direct historic approach. Consequently, he is able to discern the unique differences between individual Creek Indian towns.
Foster argues that the study of Creek Indian history should be at the level of towns instead of archaeological phases and that there is significant continuity between the culture of the Historic Period Indians and the Prehistoric and Protohistoric peoples.
In this abundantly illustrated third and final volume on the artifacts found by Edward H. Thompson in the Well of Sacrifice, specialists analyze the great variety of objects and debate whether they represent evidence of dateable prehistorical ritual. The collection includes the rare remains of hundreds of textiles, wooden objects, and copal incense offerings that were preserved in the waters of this limestone sinkhole, as well as the lithics, ceramics, and bone and shell artifacts commonly found in Maya burials and caches, and about 250 mammalian remains. These objects are remarkable for having been cut, torn, broken, and burned before they were thrown into the green waters of the sacred well at Chichen Itza.
From 1942 to 1946, as America prepared for war, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly interned in harsh desert camps across the American west.
In Artifacts of Loss, Jane E. Dusselier looks at the lives of these internees through the lens of their art. These camp-made creations included flowers made with tissue paper and shells, wood carvings of pets left behind, furniture made from discarded apple crates, gardens grown next to their housingùanything to help alleviate the visual deprivation and isolation caused by their circumstances. Their crafts were also central in sustaining, re-forming, and inspiring new relationships. Creating, exhibiting, consuming, living with, and thinking about art became embedded in the everyday patterns of camp life and helped provide internees with sustenance for mental, emotional, and psychic survival.
Dusselier urges her readers to consider these often overlooked folk crafts as meaningful political statements which are significant as material forms of protest and as representations of loss. She concludes briefly with a discussion of other displaced people around the globe today and the ways in which personal and group identity is reflected in similar creative ways.
Artistry of the Everyday presents the Peabody Museum's collection of arts from the Berber-speaking regions of North Africa. The book gives an overview of Berber history and culture, focusing on the rich aesthetic traditions of Amazigh (Berber) craftsmen and women. From ancient times to the present day, working with limited materials but an extensive vocabulary of symbols and motifs, Imazighen (Berbers) across North Africa have created objects that are both beautiful and practical. Intricately woven textiles, incised metal locks and keys, painted pottery and richly embroidered leather bags are just a few examples of objects from the Peabody Museum's collections that are highlighted in the color plates. The book also tells the stories of the collectors—both world-traveling Bostonians and Harvard-trained anthropologists—who brought these objects from Morocco or Algeria to their present home in Cambridge in the early twentieth century. The generosity of these donors has resulted in a collection of Berber arts, especially from the Tuareg regions of southern Algeria, that rivals that of major European and North African museums.
Migration as an instrument of cultural change is an undeniable feature of the archaeological record. Yet reliable methods of identifying migration are not always accessible.
In Athapaskan Migrations, authors R. G. Matson and Martin P. R. Magne use a variety of methods to identify and describe the arrival of the Athapaskan-speaking Chilcotin Indians in west central British Columbia. By contrasting two similar geographic areas—using the parallel direct historical approach—the authors define this aspect of Athapaskan culture. They present a sophisticated model of Northern Athapaskan migrations based on extensive archaeological, ethnographic, and dendrochronological research.
A synthesis of 25 years of work, Athapaskan Migrations includes detailed accounts of field research in which the authors emphasize ethnic group identification, settlement patterns, lithic analysis, dendrochronology, and radiocarbon dating. Their theoretical approach will provide a blueprint for others wishing to establish the ethnic identity of archaeological materials. Chapter topics include basic methodology and project history; settlement patterns and investigation of both the Plateau Pithouse and British Columbia Athapaskan Traditions; regional surveys and settlement patterns; excavated Plateau Pithouse Tradition and Athapaskan sites and their dating; ethnic identification of recovered material; the Chilcotin migration in the context of the greater Pacific Athapaskan, Navajo, and Apache migrations; and summaries and results of the excavations. The text is abundantly illustrated with more than 70 figures and includes access to convenient online appendixes. This substantial work will be of special importance to archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, and scholars in Athapaskan studies and Canadian First Nation studies.
A comparative history of material life in western Europe and East Asia.
Large-scale comparative economic history of westernmost and easternmost Eurasia provides insight into our global history. Atlas of Material Life highlights the main characteristics of the economic landscape in Great Britain, the Netherlands, China, and Japan between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It demonstrates the constraints to which all pre-industrial economies were subjected but also the different ways in which the societies discussed dealt with those challenges. Replete with maps, graphs, and accessible figures, this transnational study offers fresh insight into the economy of limited possibilities and humanity’s ever-evolving relationship to resources.