18 years ago
Here's a brief review of a new volume about Native American
_Miskwabik, metal of ritual: metallurgy in precontact
Eastern North America_, Amelia M. Trevelyan.
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2004.
("Miskwabik" is an Ojibwa word for "copper".)
Miskwabik, Metal of Ritual examines the thousands
of beautiful and intricate ritual works of art?from
ceremonial weaponry to delicate copper pendants
and ear ornaments?created in eastern North
America before the arrival of Europeans. The first
comprehensive examination of this 3,000-year-old
metallurgical tradition, the book provides unique
insight into the motivation of the artisans and the
significance of these objects, and highlights the
brilliance and sophistication of the early
civilizations of the Americas. Comparing the ritual
architecture and metallurgy of the original
Americans with the ethnological record, Amelia M.
Trevelyan begins to unravel the mystery of the
significance of the objects as well as their special
functions within the societies that created them. The
book includes dozens of striking color and black
and white photographs.
Amelia M. Trevelyan is Professor and Chair of Art
History at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.
And here's a revealing quote from the above volume, p. 15.
"Metallurgical testing and observation indicate that native
copper was primarily cold-worked in precontact times and
forged rather than cast. However, because the temperatures
necessary for melting as well as smelting copper are
comparatively low, the latter was probably a technical
So here we see the political bias in American archaeology
laid out for all the world to see.
1. She doesn't even mention any of the available scientific
evidence indicating that, in precontact times, much copper
was cast rather than cold-worked and forged.
It may simply be plain ignorance on her part, but we
shouldn't also discount a possibility that she's
deliberately excluding any evidence that is not in accord
with her anti-Native political bias.
In any case, the name Mallory (a qualified engineer, and the
leading researcher in this area) is not mentioned in her
bibliography at all.
2. Yet she admits these things "were probably a technical
possibility". How generous of her!
So here we see the sort of an anti-Native bigotry that is
still all too common within our professional archaeological
establishment. These folks really still live in the middle
What a dark snake-pit of racism and bigotry our academic
establishment is... This never ceases to amaze me, I must
This is the Dumbing-Down Crew that is hard at work to deny
the cultural achievements of Native Americans.
Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=-
A great many people think they are thinking when they are
merely rearranging their prejudices -=O=- William James