“The Place of Stone” review in Winterthur Portfolio

One must have patience where reviews of academic-press books are concerned. It can take years for some to appear, but it’s nice when the waiting is worth it.

The Place of Stone (UNC Press, 2017), which was developed from my 2015 doctoral dissertation, “Stone of Power,” has earned another strong review, this time by Patricia E. Rubertone of Brown University’s department of anthropology, the author of Archaeologies of Placemaking: Monuments, Memories, and Engagement in Native North America. Her review appears in Winterthur Portfolio 53, no 2 (188-189). I’m grateful for the kind words, which include:

Douglas Hunter gives a richly detailed and researched account of this seemingly enigmatic rock that will appeal to readers fascinated with the minutiae and ironies of antiquarian scholarship…For non-Indigenous people, the rock’s textual messages have taken precedence over its materiality and spatiality and have been crucial to theorizing colonial possession, de-indigenizing its origins, and establishing whiteness. The Place of Stone is about these theories.…Hunter, a journalist and historian, succeeds in doing for Dighton Rock what Robert Silverberg, a popular history writer, did for the continent’s earthworks in Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth. He compiles information about “an ancient puzzle” that exists in archives rarely visited by everyday people or partially reported in scholarly works into an engaging book that shows the relevance of local history in national and international debates about the ontology of Native Americans. It is a timely contribution that provides a historical perspective on current discussions about who is and who is not American, and about whose history matters, and raises questions about political uses of the past, historical imaginings, and evidentiary constraints.

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