Material Culture is printed two times a year for members of PAS:APAL. You may download a PDF of the table of contents of the current issue here. From the the current issue:
The Most Successful Press in This or Any Other Country: The Material Culture of 19th-Century Beater Hay Presses in the Mid-Ohio Valley
Christopher Baas, Department of Landscape Architecture, Ball State University, and Dr. Darrin Rubino, Biology Department, Hanover College
Abstract Throughout the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Ohio River Valley farmers participated in a commercial hay production system where timothy was grown, pressed, and shipped to East Coast cities. The culture’s most intriguing and recognizable material culture artifact is Samuel Hewitt’s patented beater hay press. This article discusses the results of fieldwork completed in late summer 2010, which identified material choices farmers and carpenters made in constructing their press. Methodologies and reporting typical of the field sampling of wood, laboratory work, and cultural geography are represented, and are unique examples of bridging natural science and humanities in material culture studies. Also included are notes on the press parts and operation.
Lindeström’s 1654 drawing of a “Lenape family” (from Lindeström 1923 , in Campanius Holm 1702). Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia. [Image from “Wampum Bags and Containers from the Native Northwest”]
Wampum Bags and Containers from the Native Northeast
Marshall Joseph Becker, retired, Department of Anthropology, West Chester University
Abstract: Review of the records relating to the ways in which Natives stored wampum provides important insights into the numbers of belts and other wampum items held by a tribe at any one time. The records regarding “containers” for diplomatic wampum used within the Core Area, and also in the Periphery, provide a gauge of the volume of beads and belts held by each tribe and how wampum was used. Documents relating to how and where wampum bands were stored suggest that during the period of wampum diplomacy (ca. 1620-1810) tribes in the Core Area treated them as communal property. Bags, presumed to be of tanned hide, are commonly identified as wampum containers in the Core Area,while baskets appear associated with storage among the tribes in the Periphery. These data also reveal the surprisingly late origins of “wampum keepers,” a role that appears in the Northeast only after 1800. The post-1840 records documenting how native peoples stored wampum reveal changes in the function and meaning of individual belts.
Review Essay: The Adaptive Value of Walking in the Other Man’s Moccasins
Steven C. Haack, Independent Scholar, Lincoln, Nebraska
[The following is the first paragraph of the essay.] From colonial times through the first century of our nation’s history, the concept and reality of a frontier was of fundamental importance. The expanse of territory to the west and its mysterious inhabitants held many Americans in its grasp; the wonder, the romance and the economic potential always tugging seductively at the imagination. At different times, Americans interacted with the frontier and its inhabitants in different ways; the natives sometimes being allies in war, sometimes enemies, their ways sometimes admired and copied, and sometimes rejected and held in contempt. However, the land they occupied and the bounty it held consistently intrigued and attracted a burgeoning population in the East. Early traders probed its depths and expeditions tried repeatedly to acquire some measure of its extent and contents. These endeavors were dangerous, its participants never really knowing what the next bend in the river would hold or what lay over the next mountain.