During her first month of research along the Mississippi, Professor Blume visited several major archaeological sites and unmarked forest sites where American Indians have left traces of monumental architecture and earthworks. “Being at these sites at different times of the early morning, day, and evening has given me a profound sense of the importance of the landscape and the mighty presence and effect of the Mississippi River,” she says. Her studies, which were aided by colleagues from the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, have shed new light on sites that are astounding in their scale and magnificence.
Professor Blume has begun to take a closer look at bannerstones—stones carved and ground into exceptional abstract forms that were placed on atlatls or spear-throwers. American Indians as early as 5,000 B.C. crafted these stones, which Professor Blume—in consultation with Dave Lutz, the foremost expert on bannerstones—believes will be extremely important to her understanding of the larger earthworks.
In fall 2018, Professor Blume’s essay will be published in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, a publication of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. The essay will focus on three research sites from different periods and geographic locations and consider the importance of monumental architecture to the people who made it.