Cherokee stickball: the first written documentation

Winter ball play in Tugalo, Estatoe, and Keowee

On January 11th, 1715–16, an officer from the Carolina Colony on an expedition into the Cherokee Country wrote in his journal that

this day ther was a greatt ball play att Esttohee agenst ye peapl of Tugaloe1


Marilyn Strathern has a gift for you

Godelier’s ‘The Metamorphoses of Kinship’ reviewed

Godelier kinship

Get it?


Lower Town historical geography

Locating Cherokee sites in SC and North Georgia

During the mid-18th century a number of the Cherokee settlements in the Savannah and Chattahoochee river basins relocated, dissolved, or were destroyed in the wake of conflict with the Creek Nation and outbreaks of infectious disease. This turmoil, combined with Cherokee place name conventions, clouds attempts to track movement amongst these Lower Towns.

I have come to know the various historical documents, maps, archaeological reports, and landscape features well enough to become convinced that it would be possible to reconstruct the c. 1720 Lower Town settlement pattern to serve as a benchmark for research in Cherokee historical geography. Such a reconstruction would identify points in Cartesian space in order to help tie communities named in the documentary record to landmarks on the terrain. This post is meant to illustrate the most important of the sources and methods available for the creation of a synchronic Lower Town settlement pattern for the year 1720.

The paths up from Charleston to Keowee and Chauga on George Hunter’s 1730 map.


Camouflage that stands out.

MARPAT, UCP, MutiCam, and Scorpion 2

The United States Army has apparently chosen a replacement for the Universal Camouflage Pattern and the stopgap MultiCam pattern. The newly selected pattern, Scorpion 2, looks a whole lot like the stopgap.


Misconceptions about Morgan

Lewis (not Henry) Morgan

Somewhere in an Anthropology 101 or Introduction to Anthropological Theory class today some half-truths and some outright untruths about Morgan are going to be kicked around. “Morgan as racist” is one of the half-truths. A racialized hierarchy is front and center in Ancient society, but Morgan also dedicated League of the Ho-de′-no-sau-nee to his friend Ely Parker, so his views on race are not entirely straightforward, especially by today’s standards.


The Autonomous Village in Anthropological Theory

Neoevolutionism: banishing the concept of ‘tribe’

Neoevolutionism hasn’t been a hot topic in the social sciences for a while now. But it has been present over the years, sotto voce, at the foundation of multiple lines of inquiry. As two examples, during the ’90s chiefdoms were all the rage in Southeastern archaeology, as was the anthropology of the state within the discipline more broadly.

One of the basic neo-evolutionary questions is, “What is the largest autonomous local polity?” This allows for a typologizing of societies. The orthodox choices are drawn from Elman Service’s 1962 monograph Primitive social organization:


The American Beaver

Other-than-human pair bonding

Beavers are social animals in an eminent degree. This disposition is manifested in their strongly developed propensity to pair and live in the family relation. (Morgan 1868:134)

Indigenous modernity

Beavers take care of their own.

Today’s mainline scientific view of the universe is that humans are uniquely different from other living (and non-living) things. This worldview is what Philippe Descola (2013:ch. 8) terms naturalism.



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