History

2020
The Breakout: The Origins of Civilization
Martha Lamberg-Karlovsky. 10/18/2020. The Breakout: The Origins of Civilization, Pp. 152. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

For much of the twentieth century, Mesopotamia was thought to he the singular "Cradle of Civilization;" and the agents of change that brought it about were thought to be demographic, ecological, and technological. Bronze Age Mesopotamian accomplishments were believed to have diffused outward, influencing the development of civilization in the rest of the world. Part of this Mesopocentric view was revised as archaeological evidence revealed that other unique civilizations had existed in both the Old and New Worlds, but the traditional Near Eastern pattern of development continued to serve as a model.

In the mid-1980s, however, Harvard’s Kwang-chih Chang proposed in Symbols--a publication of Harvard’s Peabody Museum and Department of Anthropology--that China’s first civilization did not evolve according to the conventional Mesopotamian model and argued instead for a new paradigm for understanding the origins of civilization in ancient China and the New World.

In this collection of subsequent Symbols articles and other essays, Maya and Near Eastern studies specialists engage in a stimulating debate of Chang’s thesis, also presented here.

The Breakout: The Origins of Civilization
Martha Lamberg-Karlovsky. 10/18/2020. The Breakout: The Origins of Civilization, Pp. 152. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

For much of the twentieth century, Mesopotamia was thought to he the singular "Cradle of Civilization;" and the agents of change that brought it about were thought to be demographic, ecological, and technological. Bronze Age Mesopotamian accomplishments were believed to have diffused outward, influencing the development of civilization in the rest of the world. Part of this Mesopocentric view was revised as archaeological evidence revealed that other unique civilizations had existed in both the Old and New Worlds, but the traditional Near Eastern pattern of development continued to serve as a model.

In the mid-1980s, however, Harvard’s Kwang-chih Chang proposed in Symbols--a publication of Harvard’s Peabody Museum and Department of Anthropology--that China’s first civilization did not evolve according to the conventional Mesopotamian model and argued instead for a new paradigm for understanding the origins of civilization in ancient China and the New World.

In this collection of subsequent Symbols articles and other essays, Maya and Near Eastern studies specialists engage in a stimulating debate of Chang’s thesis, also presented here.

To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes
Deborah Willis and Ilisa Barbash, Molly Rogers. 9/22/2020. To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes, Pp. 488. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Photographic Essay by Carrie Mae Weems

Bronze Medal, 2021 IPPY Awards (Photography)
Finalist, 2021 Arles Book Awards (Historical)

To Make Their Own Way in the World is a profound consideration of some of the most challenging images in the history of photography: fifteen daguerreotypes of Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jem, and Renty―men and women of African descent who were enslaved in South Carolina.

Photographed by Joseph T. Zealy for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850, they were rediscovered at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1976. This groundbreaking multidisciplinary volume features essays by prominent scholars who explore such topics as the identities of the people depicted in the daguerreotypes, the close relationship between photography and race, and visual narratives of slavery and its lasting effects. With over two hundred illustrations, including new photography by Carrie Mae Weems, this book frames the Zealy daguerreotypes as works of urgent engagement.

Copublished by Aperture and the Peabody Museum Press.

2013
A Lakota War Book from the Little Big Horn: The Pictographic "Autobiography of Half Moon"
Castle McLaughlin. 12/13/2013. A Lakota War Book from the Little Big Horn: The Pictographic "Autobiography of Half Moon", Pp. 368. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Chief Joseph Brings Plenty, Cheyenne River Sioux

Houghton Library Studies 4

Winner, Bookbuilders of Boston/New England Book Show (General Trade, Illustrated)

First Place, NEMA Awards (Books >$500k)

"Transformative." Candace Greene

The composite nineteenth-century document known as "The Pictorial Autobiography of Half Moon, an Uncpapa Sioux Chief" has at its core seventy-seven drawings made by Lakota warriors of the northern Plains. Found in a funerary tipi on the Little Bighorn battlefield after Custer's defeat in 1876, the drawings are from a captured ledger book that was later acquired by Chicago journalist James "Phocion" Howard. Howard added an illustrated introduction and leather binding and presented the document as the autobiographical work of a "chief" named Half Moon.

Anthropologist Castle McLaughlin probes the complex life history and cultural significance of the ledger and demonstrates that the dramatic drawings, mostly of war exploits, were created by at least six different warrior-artists. Examining how allied Lakota and Cheyenne warriors understood their graphic records of warfare as objects as well as images, McLaughlin introduces the concept of "war books"—documents that were captured and modified by Native warriors in order to appropriate the power of Euroamerican literacy. Together, the vivid first-person depictions in the ledger—now in the collection of Harvard's Houghton Library—make up a rare Native American record of historic events that likely occurred between 1866 and 1868 during Red Cloud's War along the Bozeman Trail.

A complete color facsimile of the Houghton ledger is reproduced in this ground-breaking volume.

Castle McLaughlin is Peabody Museum Curator of North American Ethnology.

"McLaughlin’s latest publication brings readers into the world of the real Crazy Horse. … As McLaughlin explains, these [ledger] drawings are as rich and informative as any Euro‐American literary text"

—Henry Adams, Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, The Conversation

>> read the full review 

 

"...completely engrossing."—David Wilk, WritersCast: The Voice of Writing

>> read the full review and listen to an interview with Castle McLaughlin

 

Please request signed copies when ordering by email.

Co-published with Houghton Library.

2008
Remembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona, 1935-1939
Hester A. Davis. 12/15/2008. Remembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona, 1935-1939, Pp. 240. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Winner, 2008 New England Book Show (General Trade, Cover)

Gold Medal, 2009 IPPY Awards (West Mountain - Best Regional Non-Fiction)

Remembering Awatovi is the engaging story of a major archaeological expedition on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. Centered on the large Pueblo village of Awatovi, with its Spanish mission church and beautiful kiva murals, the excavations are renowned not only for the data they uncovered but also for the interdisciplinary nature of the investigations. In archaeological lore they are also remembered for the diverse, fun-loving, and distinguished cast of characters who participated in or visited the dig.

Hester Davis’s lively account—part history of archaeology, part social history—is told largely in the words of the participants, among whom were two of Davis’s siblings, artist Penny Davis Worman and archaeologist Mott Davis. Life in the remote field camp abounded with delightful storytelling, delicious food, and good-natured high-jinks. Baths were taken in a stock tank, beloved camp automobiles were given personal names, and a double bed had to be trucked across the desert and up a mesa to celebrate a memorable wedding.

Remembering Awatovi is illustrated with over 160 portraits and photographs of camp life. Essays by Eric Polingyouma and Brian Fagan enrich the presentation.

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.

2006
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.

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.

1944
Racial Prehistory in the Southwest and the Hawikuh Zunis
Carl C. Seltzer. 1944. Racial Prehistory in the Southwest and the Hawikuh Zunis, Pp. 48. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Papers Volume 23, no. 1
1941
Landa’s Relación de las Cosas de Yucatan: A Translation
1941. Landa’s Relación de las Cosas de Yucatan: A Translation, Pp. 422. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Papers Volume 18, no. 1
Landa’s Relación de las Cosas de Yucatan: A Translation
1941. Landa’s Relación de las Cosas de Yucatan: A Translation, Pp. 422. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Papers Volume 18, no. 1
1931
The Evolution of the Human Pelvis in Relation to the Mechanics of the Erect Posture
Edward Reynolds. 1931. The Evolution of the Human Pelvis in Relation to the Mechanics of the Erect Posture, Pp. 100. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Papers Volume 11, no. 5
1917
History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas
Philip Ainsworth Means. 1917. History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas, Pp. 241. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Papers Volume 7, no. 1
1905
Inheritance of Digital Malformations in Man
William C. Farabee. 3/1905. Inheritance of Digital Malformations in Man, Pp. 32. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. READ ONLINEAbstract
Peabody Museum Press Volume 3, no. 3