University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Wampum Research: Notes from the Trail – 2014-2015

Detail of mid-18th century wampum belt showing the inclusion of a single blue glass bead in the original weave of shell wampum beads. Photograph by Lise Puyo.

By: Margaret Bruchac

In May 2014, three members of the “Wampum Trail” research team (Dr. Margaret Bruchac with research assistants Lise Puyo and Stephanie Mach) set out to follow a century-old trail left by University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Frank G. Speck. With funding from the Penn Museum and the Department of Anthropology, we made an ambitious list of wampum […]

Cherokee Dance Rattles

Cherokee Stomp Dance Ankle Bands. Museum Object Numbers 46-6-12 A and B. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Sound and Motion in Museum Objects: Cherokee Stomp Dance Ankle Band Rattles Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Sarah Parkinson How should museums represent objects that incorporate sound and movement? This seems to be a unique challenge, since museums tend to rely on visual cues alone in displays that are static and mute. During a […]

Peyote Feather Fan

Peyote eagle feather fan collected from Wi·tapano'xwe. Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number 70-9-480.

By: Margaret Bruchac

One Fan’s Long and Winding Road to the Penn Museum Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Monica Fenton This peyote fan (object number 70-9-480) was once in the possession of a Delaware (also called Lenni Lenape or Lenape) medicine man from Oklahoma, variously named James C. Webber, War Eagle, and Wi·tapano’xwe (which translates to […]

The Speck Connection: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Objects

Frank Speck in his office in College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, c. 1930.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881–1950), acknowledged as one of the most prolific anthropologists of the early 20th century, served as chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly four decades (1913–1949). He conducted ground-breaking ethnographic research, working closely with Indigenous informants from a wide range of communities (Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Mohegan, Nanticoke, […]

Potato Stamps and Ash Splints

Figure 3: Coiled ash splints from River Desert, Quebec. Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Potato Stamps and Ash Splints: A Narrative of Process and Exchange Object Analysis for Anthropology of Museums by Elizabeth Peng Mrs. Michel Buckshot (whose personal name was Mackosi’kew, also spelled Meshkosikwe, meaning “Beaver Meadow Woman”) was well known as an Algonquin herbalist and artisan who made a variety of traditional crafts. These included puzzle pouches, […]

Mackosi’kwe’s Baskets: Marking Relationships

Fig. 4. Mackosi’kwe (Mrs. Michel Buckshot,. Photo taken by Frank Speck. Mss. Ms. Coll. 126, Image 1-2-b. American Philsophical Society Digital Collections.

By: Margaret Bruchac

On August 1, 1938, before leaving the Maniwaki reserve in Quebec, Canada, anthropologist Frank G. Speck paid a visit to his old friends, Michel Buckshot and his wife Angelique, better known as Mackosi’kwe (also spelled Meshkosikwe, meaning “Beaver Meadow Woman”). Mackosi’kwe was skilled in pyroscapulimancy, a technique for divining future prospects in hunting and travel […]

Turtle Heist

By: Maureen Callahan

We’ve all been told that anthropologists have no right to intervene in the lives of their subjects — does it make a difference if their subjects are small, green, and promise not to tattle? Frank Goldsmith Speck, near the end of his career at Penn, befriended John Witthoft, a young colleague of his. The two […]

The Booger Dance.

By: Alison Miner

While this appears to be a picture of a visiting muppet, in actuality it is a Cherokee man, wearing a mask for the ceremonial Booger Dance.

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