Matthew Timothy Bradley | Freelance portfolio

Clips, samples, and selections of my work

I began freelancing in November of 2012 with a piece on winter outdoor recreation. Since then I have sold a number of outdoor and nature-related pieces, as well as doing some science writing. I am particularly proud of the opportunities I have had to write on issues of cultural heritage, an area where a number of my interests converge.


Wyandot landmarks in Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Pre-Removal Wyandot settlement traces in Central Ohio

Some work-related travel took me between St. Clairsville and Findlay last week. I planned out my return route so as to take me past Upper Sandusky, location of a Wyandot settlement from the Revolutionary War period to Removal in 1842.

I am vaguely aware of the importance of the Wyandot in the political and military affairs of the Old Northwest, and that they and the Cherokee were in conflict during the mid-18th century. In truth, they may well be the Iroquoian group about whom I know the least. I find that learning about settlement pattern stuff is the best way for me to begin to get a grip on any group’s social life and history. It’s helpful to me on paper and all the more so up close and personal.

With that in mind, feel free to enjoy the following photos from the couple of hours I spent piddling around Upper Sandusky last Wednesday (06 May 2015). (more…)

Grave Creek Mound: Adena monumental architecture

Photos from my visit to Moundsville, West Virginia

I visited the Grave Creek Mound and adjoining Delf Norona Museum this past Saturday (02 May 2015). I unreservedly recommend a visit to anyone with the slightest bit of interest in (pre)history, commemoration, and/or museology and who happens to find themselves in the general vicinity of Wheeling. Give yourself an hour or so to climb the mound and tour the modest exhibitions, then indulge yourself with an ice cream at the kitschy place across the street.

The physical address is 801 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, West Viginia; GPS coordinates are 39.91690 -80.74352.


Northern side of Grave Creek Mound.


The mound has been a tourist attraction for over a century and a half, and a set of steps winds up to its summit, currently 62ft/19m from its base.


Moundsville Bridge over the Ohio River viewed from the summit. An artillery piece was stationed atop the mound during the Civil War.


View of the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex (looking NE) from the summit of the mound. A symbolic “moat” accompanied the first stage of mound construction and constrained the base for future construction episodes. As a result, the mound is steep!


Hemmings, E. Thomas. 1984. “Investigations at Grave Creek Mound 1975–76: a sequence for mound and moat construction.” West Virginia Archeologist 36 (2):3–49.

Maslowski, Robert F. 2009. “Grave Creek Mound Historic Site.” In Archaeology in America: an encyclopedia, edited by Linda S. Cordell, Kent G. Lightfoot, Francis P. McManamon, and George R. Milner, 92–95. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Schoolcraft, Henry R. 1845. “Observations respecting the Grave Creek Mound in western Virginia.” In Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, 1:[367]–420 + 2 pl.

Cyberbullying at the drive-in; ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer

Millennial digital content via G.I. Generation analog technology and vice versa

I was stopped short earlier today as I drove between Wooster and St. Clairsville when I happened upon Ohio’s oldest drive-in in Strasburg.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you'll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you’ll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.


Chota and Tanasi in the earliest documents

The Southeastern twin town settlement pattern among the Overhill Cherokee

The “twin town” settlement layout of Chota and Tanasi poses an immediate challenge to the taken-for-granted notion of communities as spatially distinct social entities.1 The first documented European visitor to the communities, George Chicken in July of 1725, displayed his acute ethnographic eye in noting the presence of both, but was forced to resort to circumlocution in describing it: “Here are two town Housses in this Town by reason they are the people of Two towns settled together.”2

The path between the Valley Towns and the Overhill Towns on George Hunter’s 1730 map. Note that only Tanasi alone, and not Chota, is labeled.


Philippe Descola’s modes of relation

Forms of attachment

Phillippe Descola’s modes of identification—animism, totemism, analogism, and naturalism—have gained some currency in the world of American anthropology. Less well-known are his modes of relation. The present post is a brief overview of those six modes, drawn from chapter 13 of his book Beyond nature and culture (also available OA from HAU).

Descola’s usage is distinct from that of Mauss and Lévi-Strauss. Rather than muck up the presentation of his own usage by presenting it vis-a-vis theirs, I invite interested readers to consult his book. There he treats the differences as well as his rationale. If you are a splitter like myself I suspect you might be inclined to see a value in his shaking up of first principles. Lumpers may be less so inclined.

Transfers: gift, exchange, predation

The first triad of modes of relation are reversible. That is, the parties to the relationship, might, potentially, be on either side of the relation.


Gifting per Descola’s definition is giving with no expectation that something has to be given in return. This is not to say that countergifting does not exist. It is to say that countergifts do not constitute one side of an exchange relationship.

The Magi depicted on an early 6th century mosaic at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.


Teotihuacan: Temple of the Feathered Serpent offerings

Tlalocan Project symposium at National Museum of Anthropology

Tip of the hat to Don Paul Liffman for alerting me that today and tomorrow, 30–31 October 2014, a symposium will be held at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City to announce preliminary results of the Tlalocan Project’s work at Teotihuacan. From an INAH press release:

In announcing the latest findings of the Tlalocan project, which have lead to the threshold of three chambers beneath Teotihuacan’s Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teresa Franco, Director General of INAH, indicated that that the finds, in conjunction with other INAH-sponsored projects, will lead to a reappraisal of the culture areas of Meso- and Arido-america.

Illustration of the tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent where the offerings were found.

La Jornada video

The Interwebs will be filthy with algorithm chasing English language posts soon enough, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, here is a nicely produced video from La Jornada that you should be able to follow regardless of your Spanish language proficiency.

About the author

Matthew Timothy Bradley

Ely S. Parker and Native contributions to anthropology

Friend of Lewis H. Morgan, U.S. Grant’s secretary, Commissioner of Indian Affairs

[T]he dismissal of anthropology as a merely White science of the Other is woefully underinformed historically. (Whiteley 2004: 501)

The life of Ely Samuel Parker gives the lie to the taken for granted notion that Native Americans were passive, exploited research specimens during the early days of anthropology in the United States.

Ely Samuel Parker was born in 1828 near Tonawanda Creek on what was then Seneca territory.

Marker near Tonawanda Creek in Genesee County, New York, commemorating the birthplace and life of Ely S. Parker.



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