Coming November 8th.
New English Review Press is pleased to announce the publication of our thirty-ninth book, Stones of Contention by Timothy H. Ives.
It is becoming impossible to deny that the pervasion of leftist ideology in New England is precipitating a retrogression of race relations among descendants of colonial-era populations. This is exemplified by the Ceremonial Stone Landscape Movement, the central claim of which is that many, if not most, of the stone heaps, walls, and other structures scattered about the region’s secondary forests are not vestiges of abandoned historic farmsteads but ancient Indian ceremonial constructions that require protection from the ongoing ravages of settler colonial development. Applauded for its voguishly defiant pose against Western histories and institutions, this claim has been uncritically embraced by tribal authorities, established scholars, residential property owners, and even federal and municipal agencies. For who, in this golden-age of identity politics, dares question indigenous sacred property claims? But there is an elephant in the room. Sourcing political power from old racial anxieties, this activist movement galvanizes a victimhood identity among Indians, weaponizes white settler colonial guilt, and tramples the boundary between history and propaganda before an understandably confused and racially paranoid public. As this movement’s top persona non grata, Dr. Ives exposes its ironic origins in the settler colonial imagination, defends the fascinating histories that it undermines, and considers its costs to society at large. This book may interest those studying archaeology, cultural resource management, decolonialism, race relations in post-Civil Rights era America, leftist bias in academia, and New England history.
The transformation of certain strains of American Indian activism into a shakedown culture complete with lawyers, fake science, and internal schisms makes Timothy Ives’ book both a microcosm and a warning about the direction of our country. Read this carefully and ponder deeply its augury about a future that will make the providential plantations of early Rhode Island appear a preferable world to live in by comparison.
—Bruce Gilley author of The Last Imperialist: Sir Alan Burns’ Epic Defense of the British Empire
Science, tradition, intuition, and faith are four distinct ways of knowing. Applying them separately to New England stones gives rise to Stones of Contention. Tim Ives bravely sorts these approaches to reach a fair interpretation of Ceremonial Stone Landscapes that aids indigenous, antiquarian, and scholarly interests. This should be a “must-read” for all northeastern archaeologists.
—Robert M. Thorson, author of Stone by Stone, The Boatman, and Walden’s Shore.
Timothy H. Ives, in Stones of Contention, does an excellent job explaining the northeastern stone piles, reviewing the history of them using original texts and archaeological evidence, and documenting when and how these stone piles went from being understood as farming relics to Native American sacred artifacts. Ives provides readers with the reasons for the change of perspective surrounding these stone piles and the pseudoscience that goes into determining that the stone piles are related to Native American rituals.
—Elizabeth Weiss, Professor of Anthropology, San Jose State University and the co-author (with James W. Springer) of Repatriation and Erasing the Past.
Dr. Timothy H. Ives became interested in New England archaeology in the early 1990s while working as a farm laborer in the Connecticut Valley, where ancient Native American artifacts are routinely turned up by the plow. Following his undergraduate studies, he completed the College of William and Mary’s historical archaeology master’s degree program in 2001, and earned a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 2010. He carries years of experience as a contract archaeologist, worked as a consultant for a museum, and has served as an adjunct professor. He has published research on a wide range of topics in New England archaeology and ethnohistory. A self-described “recently defrocked leftist” and emerging “radical centrist,” Dr. Ives stands apart from his field for his willingness to voice critical perspectives of the Ceremonial Stone Landscape Movement, the central claim of which is that many, if not most, of the stone heaps, walls, and other structures scattered about the region’s secondary forests are not vestiges of abandoned historic farmsteads but ancient Native American ceremonial constructions that require extraordinary protection from the ravages of settler colonial development. Dr. Ives currently works as principal archaeologist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, though this book does not represent the views of his office.