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Native-Dutch Relations in Seventeenth Century Southern New England: Evidence from Linguistic, Archaeological and Documentary Sources

  • Prof. dr. Kathleen Bragdon
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

Wampum revisited

For more than fifty years, scholars have been debating the role of the shell “currency” known as wampum (wampampeag), which began to circulate among the Native societies of New England in the seventeenth century, stimulated by the Dutch and English fur trade in the region. Following an assessment of current scholarship on the Dutch in New England in the early contact era, this paper further explores the role that wampum played within Native societies as a symbol of wealth, as well as its tangible embodiment. In particular, the rich embellishment of clothing using wampum, especially among Native elites and documented in many sources is considered in light of recently revived phenomenological theories of value.

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