Archaeologist and educator James W. Bradley will discuss the origins and meaning of wampum in a free lecture Thursday, Jan. 20 at the Boston Athenaeum library.
Sacred shell beads called wampum are often featured in movies about Native Americans like "The Last of the Mohigans,'' but their historical reality is often obscured by Hollywood hype.
Bradley will present a lecture "Revisting Wampum and Other Seventeenth Century Shell Games'' at noon in the library at 10-1/2 Beacon St. on Beacon Hill near the State House in Boston.
The event is free. Reservations are required and will be taken at 617-720-7600.
Though much has been written about the small shell beads, the actual origins of wampum remain obscure. Bradley will utilize a combination of archaeological and documentary sources to examine different definitions of wampum and explore what cultural forces led to their creation.
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James Bradley Bio
James W. Bradley, founder and president of ArchLink, is an archaeologist and educator. His fieldwork ranges from archaeological surveys on Cape Cod and Alaska’s North Slope to urban salvage in downtown Boston. He is nationally recognized as an expert on the archaeology of Native American people of northeastern North America and their cultures. Dr. Bradley received his Ph.D. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 1979. He served on the staff of the Massachusetts Historical Commission from 1979 to 1990, and directed a statewide survey of historic and archaeological resources. From 1990 to 2001 he was director of the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, Massachusetts. An active scholar, he has received numerous awards. (source)