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Missing The Boat: Emeritus Professor of History Peter H. Wood Explores an Ancient American Mystery


On December 2, join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for a talk by Peter H. Wood, Emeritus Professor of History at Duke University, exploring the history of trade and transportation in ancient America and a much-debated, missing piece of an archaeological puzzle.

Dugout Canoes on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers: Recovering America’s Deep Past 
Wednesday, December 2, 6 p.m.
Center for Documentary Studies Auditorium
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina

Nearly 1,000 years ago, trade goods flowed into the great site of Cahokia, on the Mississippi River near modern-day St. Louis. By land or water? Professor Wood’s current research suggests answers to this longstanding mystery. Perhaps because we have not intertwined several unduly separate fields—Native American history, archaeology, material culture history, and early French and Spanish narratives of American exploration—generations of scholars have overlooked one of the largest, most important, and most intriguing objects in Mississippian culture: the huge wooden “dugout” canoe.

Peter H. Wood spent his scholarly career at Duke, teaching Early American history, Native American history, and the history of documentary film; he received the Asher Distinguished Teaching Award of the American Historical Association in 2011. Wood is the author of Black Majority, Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America, Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War, and the influential U.S. History survey text, Created Equal, now entering its fifth edition. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Elizabeth Fenn.

Sponsored by Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, History Department, and Forum for Scholars and Publics; the UNC American Studies Department; and the Forest History Society.

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