Divination Lecture: "Silent Voices of African Divination Systems"

(September 20, 2012 Cambridge, MA)  In every culture, people use divination to solve problems and negotiate an ever-changing world. A key feature of any divination system is the careful communication between the diviner and the other world. Intriguingly, the agents which often aid the diviner in many African societies are silent, be they speechless spirits working through a diviner, inanimate objects tossed in a diviner’s basket, or quiet creatures, such as spiders, creating significant patterns to be read by the diviner. Why would the critical task of providing solutions to a person’s illness, social strife, or other serious problem be taken by a silent communicator?

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University presents the free lecture "Silent Voices of African Divination Systems" on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge) at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Avenue). The lecture is the second in a year-long series about divination.

Philip M. Peek is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Drew University.

Look for the tarot card icon on the Peabody Museum calendar for more lectures on divination.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: www.peabody.harvard.edu. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Faith Sutter
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Umbundu witch doctor's basket, Benquilla, Angola. PM 11-46-50/83148

High resolution image available on request.

"Silent Voices of African Divination Systems," part of the free Peabody Museum Divination lecture series, is Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

Philip M. Peek, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Drew University

A public reception follows at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

Public information: 617-496-1027