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Several Archaeological Accounts

Walens, Stanley. "The Weight of My Name Is a Mountain of Blankets: Potlatch Ceremonies." In Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, ed. Janet Catherine Berlo and Lee Anne Wilson, 184-95. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1993.

Walens synthesizes anthropological knowledge and interpretations of the potlatch ceremony for a general audience. He explicates the ceremony's philosophical basis and its integration into the people's spiritual and practical worldview. The philosophy derives from the notion that the mutual economic and social dependence of the people is a reflection of the interdependence prevailing throughout the cosmos. Rather than a mere seeking after prestige, therefore, the potlatch is a ceremonial recapitulation of the universal condition. In times of social stress the ceremony reinforces the idea that altruism--institutionalized, socialized, spiritually valued, and, above all, natural--will ensure the people's survival.

Harrington, S. P. M. "The Looting of Arkansas." Archaeology, May-June 1991, 22-30.

This is a journalistic account of the conflict between property owners' rights, which they hold to be absolute, and the nation's stake in its cultural heritage in archaeologically-rich Arkansas. Following a summary history of the looting of Arkansas sites the views of collectors, rogue excavators, Native Americans, and archaeologists are aired via interviews. Harrington marshals arguments against unregulated digging and trading of artifacts, concluding that such practices obliterate the Native American past since unprovenanced items are useless for most types of study. Recent laws can work to secure the Mississippian Culture's legacy, Harrington argues, as they have in neighboring Mississippi where government control of archaeological sites is the principal force behind preservation.

Meighan, Clement W. "Burying American Archaeology." Archaeology, November-December 1994, 64.


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