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Ancient Kanesh by Mogens Trolle LarsenThe ancient Anatolian city of Kanesh (present-day Kültepe, Turkey) was a continuously inhabited site from the early Bronze Age through Roman times. The city flourished c.2000–1750 BCE as an Old Assyrian trade outpost and the earliest attested commercial society in world history. More than 23,000 elaborate clay tablets from private merchant houses provide a detailed description of a system of long-distance trade that reached from central Asia to the Black Sea region and the Aegean. The texts record common activities such as trade between Kanesh and the city state of Assur and between Assyrian merchants and local people. The tablets tell us about the economy as well as culture, language, religion, and private lives of individuals we can identify by name, occupation, and sometimes even personality. This book presents an in-depth account of this vibrant Bronze Age Anatolian society, revealing the daily lives of its inhabitants.
The Cherokee Diaspora by Gregory D. SmithersThe Cherokee are one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States, with more than three hundred thousand people across the country claiming tribal membership and nearly one million people internationally professing to have at least one Cherokee Indian ancestor. In this revealing history of Cherokee migration and resettlement, Gregory Smithers uncovers the origins of the Cherokee diaspora and explores how communities and individuals have negotiated their Cherokee identities, even when geographically removed from the Cherokee Nation headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the author transports the reader back in time to tell the poignant story of the Cherokee people migrating throughout North America, including their forced exile along the infamous Trail of Tears (1838-39). Smithers tells a remarkable story of courage, cultural innovation, and resilience, exploring the importance of migration and removal, land and tradition, culture and language in defining what it has meant to be Cherokee for a widely scattered people.
Climate Cultures by Jessica Barnes (Editor); Michael R. Dove (Editor)Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our times, yet also seemingly intractable. This book offers novel insights on this contemporary challenge, drawing together the state-of-the-art thinking in anthropology. Approaching climate change as a nexus of nature, culture, science, politics, and belief, the book reveals nuanced ways of understanding the relationships between society and climate, science and the state, certainty and uncertainty, global and local that are manifested in climate change debates. The contributors address three major areas of inquiry: how climate change issues have been framed in previous times compared to the present; how knowledge about climate change and its impacts is produced and interpreted by different groups; and how imagination plays a role in shaping conceptions of climate change.
Fredrik Barth by Thomas Hylland EriksenFredrik Barth is one of the towering figures of twentieth-century anthropology. This intellectual history traces the development of Barth's ideas and explores the substance of his contributions. In an accessible style, Thomas Eriksen's biographical study reveals the magic of ethnography to professional anthropologists and non-practitioners alike.Exploring his six decade career, it follows Barth from early ecological studies in Pakistan, to political studies in Iran, to groundbreaking fieldwork in Norway, New Guinea, Bali and Bhutan. Eriksen argues that Barth's voracious appetite for fieldwork holds the key to understanding his remarkable intellectual development and the insights it produced. The book raises many of the same questions that emerge from Barth's own work - of unity and diversity, of culture and relativism, of art and science.Thomas Eriksen is himself a major contributor to the study of anthropology, as well as a distinguished educator, and is therefore ideally placed to introduce the life and work of Fredrik Barth. This will surely be the definitive book on its subject for many years to come.
Russian Perspective on Theoretical Archaeology by Stephen Leach; Stephen Shennan (Foreword by)Both the work and the life of Leo S. Klejn, Russia’s foremost archaeological theorist, remain generally unrecognized by Western scholars. Until now. In this biography and summary of his work, Stephen Leach outlines Klejn’s wide-ranging theoretical contributions on the place and nature of archaeology. The book details -Klejn’s diverse work on ethnogenesis, migration, Homeric studies, pagan Slavic religion, homosexuality, and the history of archaeology; -his life challenges as a Russian Jewish scholar, jailed for homosexuality by the KGB and for his challenges to Marxist dogma.; -his key contributions to theoretical archaeology and, in particular, Klejn’s comparisons between archaeologists and forensic scientists.
Subjects and Narratives in Archaeology by Ruth M. Van Dyke (Editor); Reinhard Bernbeck (Editor)Seeking to move beyond the customary limits of archaeological prose and representation, Subjects and Narratives in Archaeology presents archaeology in a variety of nontraditional formats. The volume demonstrates that visual art, creative nonfiction, archaeological fiction, video, drama, and other artistic pursuits have much to offer archaeological interpretation and analysis. Chapters in the volume are augmented by narrative, poetry, paintings, dialogues, online databases, videos, audio files, and slideshows. The work will be available in print and as an enhanced ebook that incorporates and showcases the multimedia elements in archaeological narrative. While exploring these new and not-so-new forms, the contributors discuss the boundaries and connections between empirical data and archaeological imagination. Both a critique and an experiment, Subjects and Narratives in Archaeology addresses the goals, advantages, and difficulties of alternative forms of archaeological representation. Exploring the idea that academically sound archaeology can be fun to create and read, the book takes a step beyond the boundaries of both traditional archaeology and traditional publishing.
Native Art of the Northwest Coast by Charlotte Townsend-Gault (Editor); Jennifer Kramer (Editor); Ki-ke-in (Editor)The Northwest Coast of North America has long been recognized as one ofthe world’s canonical art zones. This volume records andscrutinizes the history of how and why this has come about. A work ofcritical historiography, it makes accessible for the first time in oneplace a broad selection of the 250 years of writing on Northwest Coastart. The contributors – leading scholars, writers, and artists– provide perspectives on the diverse intellectual traditionsthat have influenced, stimulated, and clashed with each other. Inunsettling the conventions that have shaped the idea of Northwest CoastNative art, this book joins the lively, often heated, and now global,debates about what constitutes Native art and who should decide.
Constructing Histories by Asa R. Randall"A sophisticated application of landscape thought to a recently crafted archaeological record of the St. Johns River."-- Cheryl Claassen, author of Feasting with Shellfish in the Southern Ohio Valley: Archaic Sacred Sites and Rituals "Changes the way archaeologists conceptualize the dynamic relationships between hunter-gatherers and cultural landscapes in Native North America. Anybody interested in hunter-gatherer societies, landscape archaeology, ancient monuments, anthropogenic environments, the archaeology and environmental history of Florida and the American South, and the history of North American archaeology should read this book."--Christopher B. Rodning, coeditor of Archaeological Studies of Gender in the Southeastern United States Large accumulations of ancient shells on coastlines and riverbanks were long considered the result of garbage disposal during repeated food gatherings by early inhabitants of the southeastern United States. In this volume, Asa R. Randall presents the first new theoretical framework for examining such middens since Ripley Bullen's seminal work sixty years ago. He convincingly posits that these ancient "garbage dumps" were actually burial mounds, ceremonial gathering places, and often habitation spaces central to the histories and social geography of the hunter-gatherer societies who built them. Synthesizing more than 150 years of shell mound investigations and modern remote sensing data, Randall rejects the long-standing ecological interpretation and redefines these sites as socially significant monuments that reveal previously unknown complexities about the hunter-gatherer societies of the Mount Taylor period (ca. 7400-4600 cal. B.P.). Affected by climate change and increased scales of social interaction, the region's inhabitants modified the landscape in surprising and meaningful ways. This pioneering volume presents an alternate history from which emerge rich details about the daily activities, ceremonies, and burial rituals of the archaic St. Johns River cultures.
Experiment and Experience by Carolyn Graves-Brown (Editor)This volume builds bridges between usually-separate social groups, between different methodologies and even between disciplines. It is the result of an innovative conference held at Swansea University in 2010, which brought together leading craftspeople and academics to explore the all-too-often opposed practices of experimental and experiential archaeology. The focus is upon Egyptology, but the volume has a wider importance. The experimental method is privileged in academic institutions and thus perhaps is subject to clear definitions. It tends to be associated with the scientific and technological. In opposition, the experiential is more rarely defined and is usually associated with schoolchildren, museums and heritage centres; it is often criticised for being unscientific. The introductory chapter of this volume examines the development of these traditionally-assumed differences, giving for the first time a critical and careful definition of the experiential in relation to the experimental. The two are seen as points on a continuum with much common ground. This claim is borne out by succeeding chapters, which cover such topics as textiles, woodworking and stoneworking. And Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, here demonstrates remarkably that our understanding of the classic Egyptian funerary practice of mummification benefits from both 'scientific' experimental and sensual experiential approaches. The volume, however, is important not only for Egyptology but for archaeological method more generally. The papers illuminate the pioneering of individuals who founded modern archaeological practice. Several papers are truly groundbreaking and deserve to circulate far beyond Egyptology. Thus the archaeologist Marquardt Lund tackles the problem of understanding the earliest known depictions of flint knife manufacture, those from an Egyptian tomb dated around 1900 BC. He shows the importance of thinking outside 'traditional', i.e. modern, knapping practice. Lund's knapping method, guided by the tomb depictions, is surprising but effective, and very different from that presented in manuals of lithic technology or taught in academic institutions.
New Books - November
Living with the Dead in the Andes by James L. Fitzsimmons (Editor); Izumi Shimada (Editor)The Andean idea of death differs markedly from the Western view. In the Central Andes, particularly the highlands, death is not conceptually separated from life, nor is it viewed as a permanent state. People, animals, and plants simply transition from a soft, juicy, dynamic life to drier, more lasting states, like dry corn husks or mummified ancestors. Death is seen as an extension of vitality. Living with the Dead in the Andes considers recent research by archaeologists, bioarchaeologists, ethnographers, and ethnohistorians whose work reveals the diversity and complexity of the dead-living interaction. The book's contributors reap the salient results of this new research to illuminate various conceptions and treatments of the dead: "bad" and "good" dead, mummified and preserved, the body represented by art or effigies, and personhood in material and symbolic terms. Death does not end or erase the emotional bonds established in life, and a comprehensive understanding of death requires consideration of the corpse, the soul, and the mourners. Lingering sentiment and memory of the departed seems as universal as death itself, yet often it is economic, social, and political agendas that influence the interactions between the dead and the living. Nine chapters written by scholars from diverse countries and fields offer data-rich case studies and innovative methodologies and approaches. Chapters include discussions on the archaeology of memory, archaeothanatology (analysis of the transformation of the entire corpse and associated remains), a historical analysis of postmortem ritual activities, and ethnosemantic-iconographic analysis of the living-dead relationship. This insightful book focuses on the broader concerns of life and death.
Hunter-Gatherers by Robert L. Bettinger; Raven Garvey; Shannon TushinghamHunter-gatherer research has played a historically central role in the development of anthropological and evolutionary theory. Today, research in this traditional and enduringly vital field blurs lines of distinction between archaeology and ethnology, and seeks instead to develop perspectives and theories broadly applicable to anthropology and its many sub disciplines. In the groundbreaking first edition of Hunter-Gatherers: Archaeological and Evolutionary Theory (1991), Robert Bettinger presented an integrative perspective on hunter-gatherer research and advanced a theoretical approach compatible with both traditional anthropological and contemporary evolutionary theories. Hunter-Gatherers remains a well-respected and much-cited text, now over 20 years since initial publication. Yet, as in other vibrant fields of study, the last two decades have seen important empirical and theoretical advances. In this second edition of Hunter-Gatherers, co-authors Robert Bettinger, Raven Garvey, and Shannon Tushingham offer a revised and expanded version of the classic text, which includes a succinct and provocative critical synthesis of hunter-gatherer and evolutionary theory, from the Enlightenment to the present. New and expanded sections relate and react to recent developments--some of them the authors' own--particularly in the realms of optimal foraging and cultural transmission theories. An exceptionally informative and ambitious volume on cultural evolutionary theory, Hunter-Gatherers, second edition, is an essential addition to the libraries of anthropologists, archaeologists, and human ecologists alike.
Ethnic Politics, Regime Support and Conflict in Central and Eastern Europe by Julian BernauerEthnicity and ethnic parties have often been portrayed as threats to political stability. Against a backdrop of recurring ethnic mobilization and conflict during the post-communist era, this study conducts a systematic analysis of ethnic politics in Central and Eastern Europe. It challenges the notion that the organization of politics in heterogeneous societies should necessarily aim at overcoming ethnicity, rather arguing that the descriptive representation of ethnic minority groups has the potential to increase regime support and reduce conflict. Examining up to 130 ethnic groups and their parties in Central and Eastern European democracies, the book defines the key concepts of ethnic identity and partisan-descriptive ethnic minority representation. The author considers which factors influence the electoral entry and success of ethnic minority parties and the levels of groups' partisan-descriptive representation in parliament, and how these in turn impact on individual levels of satisfaction with democracy and the protest behaviour of minority groups. Applying a consistent analytical lens on party competition, voter behaviour, political attitudes and group conflict, this study demystifies ethnic politics and offers a more unified theory of ethnic minority representation via ethnic parties.
The Huasteca by Katherine A. Faust (Editor); Kim N. Richter (Editor)The Huasteca, a region on the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico, was for centuries a pre-Columbian crossroads for peoples, cultures, arts, and trade. Its multiethnic inhabitants influenced, and were influenced by, surrounding regions, ferrying unique artistic styles, languages, and other cultural elements to neighboring areas and beyond. In The Huasteca: Culture, History, and Interregional Exchange, a range of authorities on art, history, archaeology, and cultural anthropology bring long-overdue attention to the region's rich contributions to the pre-Columbian world. They also assess how the Huasteca fared from colonial times to the present. The authors call critical, even urgent attention to a region highly significant to Mesoamerican history but long neglected by scholars. Editors Katherine A. Faust and Kim N. Richter put the plight and the importance of the Huasteca into historical and cultural context. They address challenges to study of the region, ranging from confusion about the term "Huasteca" (a legacy of the Aztec conquest in the late fifteenth century) to present-day misconceptions about the region's role in pre-Columbian history. Many of the contributions included here consider the Huasteca's interactions with other regions, particularly the American Southeast and the southern Gulf Coast of Mexico. Pre-Columbian Huastec inhabitants, for example, wore trapezoid-shaped shell ornaments unique in Mesoamerica but similar to those found along the Mississippi River. With extensive examples drawn from archaeological evidence, and supported by nearly 200 images, the contributors explore the Huasteca as a junction where art, material culture, customs, ritual practices, and languages were exchanged. While most of the essays focus on pre-Columbian periods, a few address the early colonial period and contemporary agricultural and religious practices. Together, these essays illuminate the Huasteca's significant legacy and the cross-cultural connections that still resonate in the region today.
Wealth and Complexity by Ernst Stidsing (Editor); Karen Hoilund Nielsen (Editor)Over the course of the last 30 years, many new settlements, in particular from the Late Iron Age, have been discovered in Denmark as a result of energetic and persistent surveying of the landscape by metal-detector enthusiasts. Only a few metal-rich settlements have been subjected to extensive investigation with large excavations and research projects. Stavnsager, located within Museum Østjyllands area of archaeological responsibility, is one of the metal-rich sites that has, for several years now, yielded metal finds across a large area. Over the last decade, a number of trials with various non-destructive survey methods have been carried out at Stavnsager and in adjacent areas, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham. These have been followed up by trial excavations in order to establish a connection between the various survey data and the actual archaeological evidence present beneath the soil. Contributions to this volume includes presentations of new finds and sites, discussions of the term central place and of social conditions in the Iron Age and introductions to a number of non-destructive survey methods.
Creating a Buddhist Community by Jiemin BaoThe Wat Thai Buddhist Temple in Silicon Valley was founded in 1983 by a group of predominantly middle-class men and women with different ethnic and racial identities. The temple, which functions as a religious, social, economic, educational, and cultural hub, has become a place for the community members to engage in spiritual and cultural practices. In Creating a Buddhist Community, Jiemin Bao shows how the Wat Thai participants practice Buddhism and rework gender relationships in the course of organizing temple space, teaching meditation, schooling children in Thai language and culture, merit making, fundraising, and celebrating festivals. Bao's detailed account of the process of creating an inclusive temple community with Thai immigrants as the majority helps to deconstruct the exoticized view of Buddhism in American culture. Creating a Buddhist Community also explores Wat Thai's identification with both the United States and Thailand and how this transnational perspective reimagines and reterritorializes what is called American Buddhism.
Tales of the Ex-Apes by Jonathan Marks What do we think about when we think about human evolution? With his characteristic wit and wisdom, anthropologist Jonathan Marks explores our scientific narrative of human origins--the study of evolution--and examines its cultural elements and theoretical foundations. In the process, he situates human evolution within a general anthropological framework and presents it as a special case of kinship and mythology. Tales of the Ex-Apes argues that human evolution has incorporated the emergence of social relations and cultural histories that are unprecedented in the apes and thus cannot be reduced to purely biological properties and processes. Marks shows that human evolution has involved the transformation from biological to biocultural evolution. Over tens of thousands of years, new social roles--notably spouse, father, in-laws, and grandparents--have co-evolved with new technologies and symbolic meanings to produce the human species, in the absence of significant biological evolution. We are biocultural creatures, Marks argues, fully comprehensible by recourse to neither our real ape ancestry nor our imaginary cultureless biology.
Cosmology, Calendars, and Horizon-Based Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica by Anne S. Dowd (Editor); Susan Milbrath (Editor)Cosmology, Calendars, and Horizon-Based Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica is an interdisciplinary tour de force that establishes the critical role astronomy played in the religious and civic lives of the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica. Providing extraordinary examples of how Precolumbian peoples merged ideas about the cosmos with those concerning calendar and astronomy, the volume showcases the value of detailed examinations of astronomical data for understanding ancient cultures. The volume is divided into three sections: investigations into Mesoamerican horizon-based astronomy, the cosmological principles expressed in Mesoamerican religious imagery and rituals related to astronomy, and the aspects of Mesoamerican calendars related to archaeoastronomy. It also provides cutting-edge research on diverse topics such as records of calendar and horizon-based astronomical observation (like the Dresden and Borgia codices), iconography of burial assemblages, architectural alignment studies, urban planning, and counting or measuring devices. Contributors--who are among the most respected in their fields-- explore new dimensions in Mesoamerican timekeeping and skywatching in the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Zapotec, and Aztec cultures. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, archaeology, art history, and astronomy.
New Books - November
Kuleana and Commitment: Working toward a Collaborative Hawaiian Archaeology by Kathleen L Kawelu
Rural Archaeology in Early Urban Northern Mesopotamia by Glenn M. Schwartz (Editor)This book presents the results of the extensive excavation of a small, rural village from the period of emerging cities in upper Mesopotamia (modern northeast Syria) in the early to middle third millennium BC. Prior studies of early Near Eastern urban societies generally focused on the cities and elites, neglecting the rural component of urbanization. This research represents part of a move to rectify that imbalance. Reports on the architecture, pottery, animal bones, plant remains, and other varieties of artifacts and ecofacts enhance our understanding of the role of villages in the formation of urban societies, the economic relationship between small rural sites and urban centers, and status and economic differentiation in villages. Among the significant results are the extensive exposure of a large segment of the village area, revealing details of spatial and social organization and household economics. The predominance of large-scale grain storage and processing leads to questions of staple finance, economic relations with pastoralists, and connections to developing urban centers.
The Global Code by Clotaire RapailleFor decades, Clotaire Rapaille's work focused on how people's relationships with the most important concepts in their livesâe"love, health, and money, for instanceâe"are guided by subconscious cultural messages. But recently, he has uncovered a new phenomenon: a "global unconscious," or core values and feelings that are consistent worldwideâe"the result of our constant interconnectedness. He has also identified a new group who are paving the way for the future of decision-making: the Global Tribe. These individuals are fluent in the language of culture, untied to any notion of nationalism or ideology. They are defining the key values driving our new world economy, with profound implications for how companies market their products and services. Rapaille takes us on a journey through China, Brazil, India, England and everywhere in between to discover the new standards for luxury, pleasure, technology and education. How can elite brands compete in a world of knockoffs? How can universities maintain their prestige when a cheap master's degree or doctorate is only a click away? We must speak the language of the Global Tribe in order to succeed. Building on seven years of research, Rapaille analyzes how this new mindset has taken hold in various regions, and how marketers and service providers can tailor their offerings and marketing accordingly.The Global Code is an invaluable glimpse at how our new multi-sphere world is affecting us all.
Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos by Thorsten Botz-BornsteinAt first sight, tattoos, nudity, and veils do not seem to have much in common except for the fact that all three have become more frequent, more visible, and more dominant in connection with aesthetic presentations of women over the past thirty years. No longer restricted to biker and sailor culture, tattoos have been sanctioned by the mainstream of liberal societies. Nudity has become more visible than ever on European beaches or on the internet. The increased use of the veil by women in Muslim and non-Muslim countries has developed in parallel with the aforementioned phenomena and is just as striking. Through the means of conceptual analysis, Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos: The New Feminine Aesthetics reveals that these three phenomena can be both private and public, humiliating and empowering, and backward and progressive. This unorthodox approach is traced by the three s similar social and psychological patterns, and by doing so, Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos hopes to sketch the image of a woman who is not only sexually emancipated and confident, but also more and more aware of her cultural heritage."
How We Became Human by Pierpaolo Antonello (Editor); Paul Gifford (Editor)From his groundbreaking Violence and the Sacred and Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, René Girard's mimetic theory is presented as elucidating "the origins of culture." He posits that archaic religion (or "the sacred"), particularly in its dynamics of sacrifice and ritual, is a neglected and major key to unlocking the enigma of "how we became human." French philosopher of science Michel Serres states that Girard's theory provides a Darwinian theory of culture because it "proposes a dynamic, shows an evolution and gives a universal explanation." This major claim has, however, remained underscrutinized by scholars working on Girard's theory, and it is mostly overlooked within the natural and social sciences. Joining disciplinary worlds, this book aims to explore this ambitious claim, invoking viewpoints as diverse as evolutionary culture theory, cultural anthropology, archaeology, cognitive psychology, ethology, and philosophy. The contributors provide major evidence in favor of Girard's hypothesis. Equally, Girard's theory is presented as having the potential to become for the human and social sciences something akin to the integrating framework that present-day biological science owes to Darwin--something compatible with it and complementary to it in accounting for the still remarkably little understood phenomenon of human emergence.
Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship by Aaron GoodfellowAn important contribution to the anthropology of gay kinship, ten years in the making. While the topic of gay marriage and families continues to be popular in the media, few scholarly works focus on gay men with children. Based on ten years of fieldwork among gay families living in the rural, suburban, and urban area of the eastern United States, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship presents a beautifully written and meticulously argued ethnography of gay men and the families they have formed. In a culture that places a premium on biology as the founding event of paternity, Aaron Goodfellow poses the question: Can the signing of legal contracts and the public performances of care replace biological birth as the singular event marking the creation of fathers? Beginning with a comprehensive review of the relevant literature in this field, four chapters--each presenting a particular picture of paternity--explore a range of issues, such as interracial adoption, surrogacy, the importance of physical resemblance in familial relationships, single parenthood, delinquency, and the ways in which the state may come to define the norms of health. The author deftly illustrates how fatherhood for gay men draws on established biological, theological, and legal images of the family often thought oppressive to the emergence of queer forms of social life. Chosen with care and described with great sensitivity, each carefully researched case examines gay fatherhood through life narratives. Painstakingly theorized, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship contends that gay families are one of the most important areas to which social scientists might turn in order to understand how law, popular culture, and biology are simultaneously made manifest and interrogated in everyday life. By focusing specifically on gay fathers, Goodfellow produces an anthropological account of how paternity, sexuality, and masculinity are leveraged in relations of care between gay fathers and their children.
Global Mental Health by Brandon A. Kohrt (Editor); Emily Mendenhall (Editor); Vikram Patel (Foreword by)While there is increasing political interest in research and policy-making for global mental health, there remain major gaps in the education of students in health fields for understanding the complexities of diverse mental health conditions. Drawing on the experience of many well-known experts in this area, this book uses engaging narratives to illustrate that mental illnesses are not only problems experienced by individuals but must also be understood and treated at the social and cultural levels. The book -includes discussion of traditional versus biomedical beliefs about mental illness, the role of culture in mental illness, intersections between religion and mental health, intersections of mind and body, and access to health care; -is ideal for courses on global mental health in psychology, public health, and anthropology departments and other health-related programs.
Through Indian Sign Language by Hugh Lenox Scott; Iseeo; William C. Meadows (Editor)Hugh Lenox Scott, who would one day serve as chief of staff of the U.S. Army, spent a portion of his early career at Fort Sill, in Indian and, later, Oklahoma Territory. There, from 1891 to 1897, he commanded Troop L, 7th Cavalry, an all-Indian unit. From members of this unit, in particular a Kiowa soldier named Iseeo, Scott collected three volumes of information on American Indian life and culture--a body of ethnographic material conveyed through Plains Indian Sign Language (in which Scott was highly accomplished) and recorded in handwritten English. This remarkable resource--the largest of its kind before the late twentieth century--appears here in full for the first time, put into context by noted scholar William C. Meadows. The Scott ledgers contain an array of historical, linguistic, and ethnographic data--a wealth of primary-source material on Southern Plains Indian people. Meadows describes Plains Indian Sign Language, its origins and history, and its significance to anthropologists. He also sketches the lives of Scott and Iseeo, explaining how they met, how Scott learned the language, and how their working relationship developed and served them both. The ledgers, which follow, recount a variety of specific Plains Indian customs, from naming practices to eagle catching. Scott also recorded his informants' explanations of the signs, as well as a multitude of myths and stories. On his fellow officers' indifference to the sign language, Lieutenant Scott remarked: "I have often marveled at this apathy concerning such a valuable instrument, by which communication could be held with every tribe on the plains of the buffalo, using only one language." Here, with extensive background information, Meadows's incisive analysis, and the complete contents of Scott's Fort Sill ledgers, this "valuable instrument" is finally and fully accessible to scholars and general readers interested in the history and culture of Plains Indians.