Books

2008
Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel, Part I: The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archaeology
Liliane Meignen. 3/30/2008. Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel, Part I: The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archaeology. Edited by Ofer Bar-Yosef, Pp. 352. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

The Levantine corridor sits at the continental crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, making it a focal point for scientific inquiry into the emergence of modern humans and their relations with Neanderthals. The recent excavations at Kebara Cave in Israel, undertaken by an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers, has provided data crucial for understanding the cognitive and behavioral differences between archaic and modern humans.

In this first of two volumes, the authors discuss site formation processes, subsistence strategies, land-use patterns, and intrasite organization. Hearths and faunal remains reveal a dynamic and changing settlement system during the late Mousterian period, when Kebara Cave served as a major encampment. The research at Kebara Cave allows archaeologists to document the variability observed in settlement, subsistence, and technological strategies of the Late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic periods in the Levant.

Making Dead Birds: Chronicle of a Film
Robert Gardner. 3/30/2008. Making Dead Birds: Chronicle of a Film, Pp. 160. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Honorable Mention, 2008 NEMA Awards (Books Over $10)

Robert Gardner’s classic Dead Birds is one of the most highly acclaimed and controversial documentary films ever made. This detailed and candid account of the process of making Dead Birds, from the birth of the idea through filming in New Guinea to editing and releasing the finished film, is more than the chronicle of a single work. It is also a thoughtful examination of what it meant to record the moving and violent rituals of warrior-farmers in the New Guinea highlands and to present to the world a graphic story of their behavior as a window onto our own. Letters, journals, telegrams, newspaper clippings, and over 50 images are assembled to recreate a vivid chronology of events. Making Dead Birds not only addresses the art and practice of filmmaking, but also explores issues of representation and the discovery of meaning in human lives.

Gardner led a remarkable cast of participants on the 1961 expedition. All brought back extraordinary bodies of work. Probably most influential of all was Dead Birds, which marked a sea change in nonfiction filmmaking. This book takes the reader inside the creative process of making that landmark film and offers a revealing look into the heart and mind of one of the great filmmakers of our time.

Holon: A Lower Paleolithic Site in Israel
1/30/2008. Holon: A Lower Paleolithic Site in Israel, Pp. 214. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Excavations at the open-air site of Holon, Israel, have provided a unique perspective on hominin behavior, technology, and subsistence strategies in the Middle East at the end of the Lower Paleolithic. This excavation, carried out by Tamar Noy between 1963 and 1970, was one of the first successful salvage projects in the region. This ASPR volume is the first integrated monograph on a Lower Paleolithic site to be published from the region. It brings together the results of interdisciplinary research on the site of Holon—geology, dating, archaeology, paleontology, taphonomy, and spatial analysis—by a team of leading international researchers. The results are synthesized to address fundamental questions of human evolution, including whether early hominins hunted or scavenged very large animals, and the nature of culture change in the Lower Paleolithic. The lithic analysis documents the final stage of the Lower Paleolithic before the transition to Middle Paleolithic technology. This book will be an essential point of reference for students and specialists working in the archaeology of human evolution, as well as all archaeologists working in the region of the Levant.

2007
Feeding the Ancestors: Tlingit Carved Horn Spoons
Anne-Marie Victor-Howe. 6/30/2007. Feeding the Ancestors: Tlingit Carved Horn Spoons, Pp. 128. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Rosita Worl
Photographs by Hillel S. Burger

Silver Medal, 2008 IPPY Awards (Multicultural Non-Fiction Adult)

Feeding the Ancestors presents an exquisite group of carved spoons from the Pacific Northwest that resides in the collections of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Carved from the horns of mountain goats and Dall sheep, and incorporating elements of abalone shell and metal, most of the spoons were collected in Alaska in the late nineteenth century and were made and used by members of the Tlingit tribe. Hillel Burger’s beautiful color photographs reveal every nuance of the carvers’ extraordinary artistry.

Anne-Marie Victor-Howe introduces the collectors and describes the means by which these and other ethnographic objects were acquired. In the process, she paints a vivid picture of the “Last Frontier” just before and shortly after the United States purchased Alaska. A specialist in the ethnography of the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast, Victor-Howe provides a fascinating glimpse into these aboriginal subsistence cultures as she explains the manufacture and function of traditional spoons. Her accounts of the clan stories associated with specific carvings and of the traditional shamanic uses of spoons are the result of extensive consultation with Tlingit elders, scholars, and carvers.

Feeding the Ancestors is the first scholarly study of traditional feast spoons and a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Pacific Northwest Coast peoples and their art.

Anne-Marie Victor-Howe is an anthropologist and Research Associate of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Rosita Worl is President of the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska.

2006
Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 9: Part 2: Tonina
Ian Graham. 11/15/2006. Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 9: Part 2: Tonina, Pp. 64. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

For more than 45 years, the Peabody Museum has been publishing The Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. The goal of this unique series of folio volumes is to document in photographs and detailed line drawings all known Maya inscriptions and their associated figurative art to advance the study of the ancient Maya. When complete, the Corpus will have published the inscriptions from over 200 sites and 2,000 monuments. The series has been instrumental in the remarkable success of the ongoing process of deciphering Maya writing, making available hundreds of texts to epigraphers working around the world, and to source communities in in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Each volume in the series consists of three or more fascicles, which examine an individual site or group of neighboring sites and include maps of site location and plans indicating the placement monuments within each site. Each inscription is reproduced in its entirety in both photographs and line drawings with descriptive texts.

 

A Noble Pursuit: The Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection from Iron Age Slovenia
Gloria Polizzotti Greis. 4/30/2006. A Noble Pursuit: The Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection from Iron Age Slovenia, Pp. 128. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Photographs by Hillel S. Burger

In 1905, to the consternation of her family and in defiance of convention, the 48-year-old Duchess Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg took up the practice of archaeology. In the nine years leading up to the First World War, she successfully excavated twenty-one sites in her home province of Carniola (modern Slovenia), acquiring the patronage of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I and German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Mentored by the most important archaeologists of her time—Oscar Montelius and Josef Dechellette—the Duchess became an accomplished fieldworker and an important figure in the archaeology of Central Europe. Gloria Greis incorporates previously unpublished correspondence and other archival documents in this colorful account of the Duchess of Mecklenburg and her work.

The Mecklenburg Collection, the largest systematically excavated collection of European antiquities outside of Europe, resides in Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The sites excavated by the Duchess, which encompass the scope of Iron Age cultures in Slovenia, form an important resource for studying the cultural history of the region. A Noble Pursuit presents a selection of beautifully photographed artifacts that provide an overview of the scope and importance of the collection as a whole and attest to the enduring quality of the Duchess’s pioneering work.

Gloria Polizzotti Greis is Executive Director of the Needham (Massachusetts) Historical Society.

The Faunas of Hayonim Cave, Israel: A 200,000-Year Record of Paleolithic Diet, Demography, and Society
Mary C. Stiner. 2/28/2006. The Faunas of Hayonim Cave, Israel: A 200,000-Year Record of Paleolithic Diet, Demography, and Society, Pp. 330. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

A decade of zooarchaeological fieldwork (1992-2001) went into Mary Stiner’s pathbreaking analysis of changes in human ecology from the early Mousterian period through the end of Paleolithic cultures in the Levant. Stiner employs a comparative approach to understanding early human behavioral and environmental change, based on a detailed study of fourteen bone assemblages from Hayonim Cave and Meged Rockshelter in Israel’s Galilee. Principally anthropological in outlook, Stiner’s analysis also integrates chemistry, foraging and population ecology, vertebrate paleontology, and biogeography. Her research focuses first on the formation history, or taphonomy, of bone accumulations, and second on questions about the economic behaviors of early humans, including the early development of human adaptations for hunting large prey and the relative "footprint" of humans in Pleistocene ecosystems of the Levant.

2005
The Neville Site: 8,000 Years at Amoskeag, Manchester, New Hampshire
Dena Ferran Dincauze. 9/15/2005. The Neville Site: 8,000 Years at Amoskeag, Manchester, New Hampshire, Pp. 160. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

The 1968 excavation of the Neville Site in Manchester, New Hampshire, was a major event in the archaeological history of New England. Analysis of the site extended the known duration of continuous occupation in the region by some 3,000 years and demonstrated early connections between the New England area and the Southeast. The Neville Site was first occupied nearly 8,000 years ago, when the Eastern coastal plain from North Carolina to New Hampshire was essentially a single cultural province. Current excavations in Manchester have reinvigorated interest in the archaeology of New Hampshire and created a demand for this facsimile edition of the original 1976 publication.

Painted by a Distant Hand
Steven A. LeBlanc. 4/30/2005. Painted by a Distant Hand, Pp. 120. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Rubie Watson

Photographs by Hillel S. Burger

1st place, 2006 NEMA Awards (Books Over $10)

Highlighting one of the Peabody Museum’s most important archaeological expeditions—the excavation of the Swarts Ranch Ruin in southwestern New Mexico by Harriet and Burton Cosgrove in the mid-1920s—Steven LeBlanc’s book features rare, never-before-published examples of Mimbres painted pottery, considered by many scholars to be the most unique of all the ancient art traditions of North America. Made between A.D. 1000 and 1150, these pottery bowls and jars depict birds, fish, insects, and mammals that the Mimbres encountered in their daily lives, portray mythical beings, and show humans participating in both ritual and everyday activities. LeBlanc traces the origins of the Mimbres people and what became of them, and he explores our present understanding of what the images mean and what scholars have learned about the Mimbres people in the 75 years since the Cosgroves’ expedition.

Steven A. LeBlanc is an archaeologist and former Director of Collections at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Rubie Watson is Curator of Comparative Ethnology in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

2004
Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 2: Part 1: Naranjo
Ian Graham and Eric von Euw. 12/1/2004. Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 2: Part 1: Naranjo, Pp. 64. Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

For more than 45 years, the Peabody Museum has been publishing The Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. The goal of this unique series of folio volumes is to document in photographs and detailed line drawings all known Maya inscriptions and their associated figurative art to advance the study of the ancient Maya. When complete, the Corpus will have published the inscriptions from over 200 sites and 2,000 monuments. The series has been instrumental in the remarkable success of the ongoing process of deciphering Maya writing, making available hundreds of texts to epigraphers working around the world, and to source communities in in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Each volume in the series consists of three or more fascicles, which examine an individual site or group of neighboring sites and include maps of site location and plans indicating the placement monuments within each site. Each inscription is reproduced in its entirety in both photographs and line drawings with descriptive texts.

 

Dear Jeffie
12/1/2004. Dear Jeffie, Pp. 96. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Jeffries Wyman (1814–74), a pioneer anthropologist of nineteenth-century America and one of its great comparative anatomists, was the Hersey Professor of Anatomy at Harvard University and, later, a trustee of the Peabody Museum and professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology.

Wyman wrote the 59 letters in this volume to his only son Jeffie. Dating from 1866, when Jeffie was two, until Wyman’s death in 1874, when Jeffie was ten, the letters reveal a great scientist trying to instill in his son the concepts of acute observation and wonder. Wyman’s charming, quizzical drawings embellish the text, which will be appreciated by children and adults alike.

Fish, Amphibian, and Reptile Remains from Archaeological Sites
Stanley J. Olsen. 12/1/2004. Fish, Amphibian, and Reptile Remains from Archaeological Sites, Pp. 156. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Stanley Olsen’s invaluable manual presents diagnostic characteristics of the fish, amphibian, and reptile bones commonly found in archaeological sites in the southeastern and southwestern United Stares. An appendix describes in detail the osteology of the wild turkey.

Mecklenburg Collection, Part I: Data on Iron Age Horses of Central and Eastern Europe and Human Skeletal Material from Slovenia
Sándor Bökönyi J. Lawrence and Angel. 12/1/2004. Mecklenburg Collection, Part I: Data on Iron Age Horses of Central and Eastern Europe and Human Skeletal Material from Slovenia. Edited by Hugh Hencken, Pp. 116. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

These three volumes deal with the Iron Age grave materials from Magdalenska gora, excavated by the Duchess Paul Friedrich von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The Duchess of Mecklenburg, a member of an Austrian royal family with estates in Slovenia, conducted her excavations in the early years of the twentieth century. The materials from Magdalenska gora were purchased by the Peabody Museum in the 1930s.

Volume I presents data and analysis of the horse remains and human skeletal materials.

Osteology for the Archaeologist
Stanley J. Olsen. 12/1/2004. Osteology for the Archaeologist, Pp. 192. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

This comparative analysis aids the fieldworker in identifying fossil proboscidean bones from early man sites. It also describes the skulls, mandibles, and posteranial skeletons of forty families of birds frequently found in archaeological excavations in the United States.

Excavations at Tepe Yahya, Iran, 1967-1975, Volume IV: The Iron Age Settlement
Peter Magee. 7/26/2004. Excavations at Tepe Yahya, Iran, 1967-1975, Volume IV: The Iron Age Settlement, Pp. 108. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Tepe Yahya provides a stratigraphic sequence that stretches some 6,000 years, from the Neolithic period to the early centuries AD. As a result, the site is critical for understanding cultural processes in southeastern Iran. In this fifth volume of results of the excavations at Tepe Yahya, Peter Magee presents evidence from the Iron Age occupation of the site. Looking beyond the epigraphic and historical data and examining the insights provided by the artifactual record, Magee describes how a small settlement, located some distance from the main centers of power, came into being and was affected by the emergence of the Achaemenid imperial system, which stretched from Pakistan to Libya.

Mammal Remains from Archaeological Sites
Stanley J. Olsen. 5/25/2004. Mammal Remains from Archaeological Sites, Pp. 174. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

This classic work provides a guide to the identification of nonhuman animal bones. Olsen illustrates various diagnostic characteristics of rodents and dogs; jaguars and other members of the cat family; the domestic horse, pig, and goat; and other animals whose bones are commonly found in archaeological sites in the southeastern United States.

Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 9: Part 1: Piedras Negras
David Stuart and Ian Graham. 3/3/2004. Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volume 9: Part 1: Piedras Negras, Pp. 64. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

For more than 45 years, the Peabody Museum has been publishing The Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. The goal of this unique series of folio volumes is to document in photographs and detailed line drawings all known Maya inscriptions and their associated figurative art to advance the study of the ancient Maya. When complete, the Corpus will have published the inscriptions from over 200 sites and 2,000 monuments. The series has been instrumental in the remarkable success of the ongoing process of deciphering Maya writing, making available hundreds of texts to epigraphers working around the world, and to source communities in in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The first of five anticipated volumes on the renowned monuments of Piedras Negras, Guatemala, this volume describes the site and the history of exploration at this important center of Classic Maya civilization. It includes photographs and detailed line drawings of twelve of the inscribed sculpted monuments at Piedras Negras, as well as a map of the ruins.

Gifts of the Great River: Arkansas Effigy Pottery from the Edwin Curtiss Collection
John H. House. 1/22/2004. Gifts of the Great River: Arkansas Effigy Pottery from the Edwin Curtiss Collection, Pp. 120. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Ian W. Brown

In 1879 Edwin Curtiss set out for the wild St. Francis River region of northeastern Arkansas to collect archaeological specimens for the Peabody Museum. By the time Curtiss completed his fifty-six days of Arkansas fieldwork, he had sent nearly 1,000 pottery vessels to Cambridge and had put the Peabody on the map as the repository of one of the world’s finest collections of Mississippian artifacts. John House brings us a lively account of the work of this nineteenth-century fieldworker, the Native culture he explored, and the rich legacies left by both. The result is a vivid re-creation of the world of Indian peoples in the Mississippi River lowlands in the last centuries before European contact. The volume’s focus is Curtiss’s collection of charming and expressive effigy vessels: earthenware bowls and bottles that incorporate forms of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and humans, including the Peabody’s famous red-and-white head vase.

John H. House is Station Archaeologist, Pine Bluff Research Station, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

2003
Collecting the Weaver's Art: The William Claflin Collection of Southwestern Textiles
Laurie D. Webster. 12/9/2003. Collecting the Weaver's Art: The William Claflin Collection of Southwestern Textiles, Pp. 160. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract
by Laurie D. Webster

 

Foreword by Tony Berlant

This is the first publication on a remarkable collection of sixty-six outstanding Pueblo and Navajo textiles donated to the Peabody Museum in the 1980s by William Claflin, Jr., a prominent Boston businessman, avocational anthropologist, and patron of Southwestern archaeology. Claflin bequeathed to the museum not only these beautiful textiles, but also his detailed accounts of their collection histories—a rare record of the individuals who had owned or traded these weavings before they found a home in his private museum. Textile scholar Laurie Webster tells the stories of the weavings as they left their native Southwest and traveled eastward, passing through the hands of such owners and traders as a Ute Indian chief, a New England schoolteacher, a renowned artist, and various military officers and Indian agents. Her concise overview of Navajo and Pueblo weaving traditions is enhanced by the reflections of noted artist and Navajo textile expert Tony Berlant in his foreword to the text.

Laurie D. Webster is an independent scholar and textile consultant, and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Tony Berlant is an artist and author, and collector, curator, and expert on Navajo textiles.

Stránská skála: Origins of the Upper Paleolithic in the Brno Basin, Moravia, Czech Republic
Jirí Svoboda Ofer and Bar-Yosef. 10/17/2003. Stránská skála: Origins of the Upper Paleolithic in the Brno Basin, Moravia, Czech Republic, Pp. 232. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

In this volume, an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars—Czech and American archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, geologists, and biologists—report on the results of the investigations from 1980 through the 1990s at Stránská skála, a complex of open-air loess sites on the outskirts of the Brno Basin in the Czech Republic.

The volume presents in-depth studies of the geology, paleopedology, frost processes, vegetation, fauna, and archaeological features of Stránská skála that break new ground in our understanding of early modern humans in central Europe.

Jirí Svoboda is Professor at the University of Brno and Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dolni Vestonice, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic.

Ofer Bar-Yosef is MacCurdy Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, Harvard University.

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