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Advocacy and Archaeology
Britt, K. M. & George, D. F. (eds)
Archaeologists have a history of being prime agents of change, particularly in advocating for protection and preservation of historical resources. As more social issues intersect with archaeology and historical sites, we see archaeologists and others continuing to advocate for not only historic resources, but for the larger social justice issues that threaten the communities in which these resources reside. Inspired by the idea of revolution and excitement about the ways archaeology is being used in social justice arenas, this volume seeks to visualize archaeology as part of a movement by redefining what archaeology is and does for the greater good.
Area: North America
Agent of Change
The Deposition and Manipulation of Ash in the Past
Roth, B. J. & Adams, E. C. (eds)
Ash is an important and yet understudied aspect of ritual deposition in the archaeological record of North America. Ash has been found in a wide variety of contexts across many regions and often it is associated with rare or unusual objects or in contexts that suggest its use in the transition or transformation of houses and ritual features. Drawn from across the U.S. and Mesoamerica, the chapters in this volume explore the use, meanings, and cross-cultural patterns present in the use of ash. and highlight the importance of ash in ritual closure, social memory, and cultural transformation.
Area: North America
Reverse Engineering a Digital Artifact
Our modern culture is increasingly expressed in the form of digital artifacts, yet archaeology is in its infancy when it comes to researching and understanding them. The study and reverse engineering of digital artifacts is no longer the exclusive domain of computer scientists. Presented by way of analogy to the process of archaeological fieldwork familiar to readers, the 1986 Electronic Arts game Amnesia is used as a vehicle to explain the procedure and thought process required to reverse engineer a digital artifact. As a go-to reference to learn how to begin studying the digital, Amnesia is shown to be a multi-layered artifact with a complex backstory; through it, topics in data compression, copy protection, memory management, and programming languages are covered.
Subjects: Archaeology Media Studies Anthropology (General)
An Introduction to Archaeology in and of Video Games
A general introduction to archeogaming describing the intersection of archaeology and video games and applying archaeological method and theory into understanding game-spaces.
“[T]he author’s clarity of style makes it accessible to all readers, with or without an archaeological background. Moreover, his personal anecdotes and gameplay experiences with different game titles, from which his ideas often develop, make it very enjoyable reading.”—Antiquity
Video games exemplify contemporary material objects, resources, and spaces that people use to define their culture. Video games also serve as archaeological sites in the traditional sense as a place, in which evidence of past activity is preserved and has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology, and which represents a part of the archaeological record.
From the introduction:
Archaeogaming, broadly defined, is the archaeology both in and of digital games… As will be described in the following chapters, digital games are archaeological sites, landscapes, and artifacts, and the game-spaces held within those media can also be understood archaeologically as digital built environments containing their own material culture… Archaeogaming does not limit its study to those video games that are set in the past or that are treated as “historical games,” nor does it focus solely on the exploration and analysis of ruins or of other built environments that appear in the world of the game. Any video game—from Pac-Man to Super Meat Boy—can be studied archaeologically.
Archaeologies of Rules and Regulation
Between Text and Practice
Hausmair, B., Jervis, B., Nugent, R., & Williams, E. (eds)
How can we study the impact of rules on the lives of past people using archaeological evidence? To answer this question, Archaeologies of Rules and Regulation presents case studies drawn from across Europe and the United States. Covering areas as diverse as the use of space in a nineteenth-century U.S. Army camp, the deposition of waste in medieval towns, the experiences of Swedish migrants to North America, the relationship between people and animals in Anglo-Saxon England, these case studies explore the use of archaeological evidence in understanding the relationship between rules, lived experience, and social identity.
At Home on the Waves
Human Habitation of the Sea from the Mesolithic to Today
King, T. J. & Robinson, G. (eds)
Contemporary public discourses about the ocean are routinely characterized by scientific and environmentalist narratives that imagine and idealize marine spaces in which humans are absent. In contrast, this collection explores the variety of ways in which people have long made themselves at home at sea, and continue to live intimately with it. In doing so, it brings together both ethnographic and archaeological research – much of it with an explicit Ingoldian approach – on a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods.
Blurring Timescapes, Subverting Erasure
Remembering Ghosts on the Margins of History
Surface-Evans, S., Garrison, A. E. & Supernant, K. (eds)
What happens when we blur time and allow ourselves to haunt or to become haunted by ghosts of the past? Drawing on archaeological, historical, and ethnographic data, Blurring Timescapes, Subverting Erasure demonstrates the value of conceiving of ghosts not just as metaphors, but as mechanisms for making the past more concrete and allowing the negative specters of enduring historical legacies, such as colonialism and capitalism, to be exorcised.
Captives, Colonists and Craftspeople
Material Culture and Institutional Power in Malta, 1600–1900
Over the course of four centuries, the island of Malta underwent several significant political transformations, including its roles as a Catholic bastion under the Knights of St. John between 1530 and 1798, and as a British maritime hub in the nineteenth century. This innovative study draws on both archival evidence and archeological findings to compare slavery and coerced labor, resource control, globalization, and other historical phenomena in Malta under the two regimes: one feudal, the other colonial. Spanning conventional divides between the early and late modern eras, Russell Palmer offers here a rich analysis of a Mediterranean island against a background of immense European and global change.
Subjects: Colonial History Archaeology
Area: Southern Europe
Communities, Landscapes, and Interaction in Neolithic Greece
Sarris, A., Kalogiropoulou, E., Kalayci, T., & Karimali, E. (eds)
The last three decades have witnessed a period of growing archaeological activity in Greece that have enhanced our awareness of the diversity and variability of ancient communities. New sites offer rich datasets from many aspects of material culture that challenge traditional perceptions and suggest complex interpretations of the past. This volume provides a synthetic overview of recent developments in the study of Neolithic Greece and reconsiders the dynamics of human-environment interactions while recording the growing diversity in layers of social organization. It fills an essential lacuna in contemporary literature and enhances our understanding of the Neolithic communities in the Greek Peninsula.
Area: Southern Europe
Museum Collections in Political, Epistemic and Artistic Processes of Return
Bodenstein, F., Otoiu, D., & Troelenberg, E.-M. (eds)
Going beyond strictly legal and property-oriented aspects of the restitution debate, restitution is considered as part of a larger set of processes of return that affect museums and collections, as well as notions of heritage and object status. Covering a range of case studies and a global geography, the authors aim to historicize and bring depth to contemporary debates in relation to both the return of material culture and human remains. Defined as contested holdings, differing museum collections ranging from fine arts to physical anthropology provide connections between the treatment and conceptualization of collections that generally occupy separate realms in the museum world.
Critical Public Archaeology
Confronting Social Challenges in the 21st Century
Westmont, V. C. (ed)
Critical approaches to public archaeology have been in use since the 1980s, however only recently have archaeologists begun using critical theory in conjunction with public archaeology to challenge dominant narratives of the past. This volume brings together current work on the theory and practice of critical public archaeology from Europe and the United States to illustrate the ways that implementing critical approaches can introduce new understandings of the past and reveal new insights on the present. Contributors to this volume explore public perceptions of museum interpretations as well as public archaeology projects related to changing perceptions of immigration, the working classes, and race.
Defining and Measuring Diversity in Archaeology
Another Step Toward an Evolutionary Synthesis of Culture
Eren, M. I. & Buchanan, B. (eds)
Calculating the diversity of biological or cultural classes is a fundamental way of describing, analyzing, and understanding the world around us. Understanding archaeological diversity is key to understanding human culture in the past. Archaeologists have long experienced a tenuous relationship with statistics; however, the regular integration of diversity measures and concepts into archaeological practice is becoming increasingly important. This volume includes chapters that cover a wide range of archaeological applications of diversity measures. Featuring studies of archaeological diversity ranging from the data-driven to the theoretical, from the Paleolithic to the Historic periods, authors illustrate the range of data sets to which diversity measures can be applied, as well as offer new methods to examine archaeological diversity.
Nutritional Anthropology and Archaeological Methods
Chrzan, J. & Brett, J. (eds)
Biocultural and archaeological research on food, past and present, often relies on very specific, precise, methods for data collection and analysis. These are presented here in a broad-based review. Individual chapters provide opportunities to think through the adoption of methods by reviewing the history of their use along with a discussion of research conducted using those methods. A case study from the author's own work is included in each chapter to illustrate why the methods were adopted in that particular case along with abundant additional resources to further develop and explore those methods.
Going Forward by Looking Back
Archaeological Perspectives on Socio-Ecological Crisis, Response, and Collapse
Riede, F. & Sheets, P. (eds)
Catastrophes are on the rise due to climate change, as is their toll in terms of lives and livelihoods as world populations rise and people settle into hazardous places. While disaster response and management are traditionally seen as the domain of the natural and technical sciences, awareness of the importance and role of cultural adaptation is essential. This book catalogues a wide and diverse range of case studies of such disasters and human responses. This serves as inspiration for building culturally sensitive adaptations to present and future calamities, to mitigate their impact, and facilitate recoveries.
The Helmand Baluch
A Native Ethnography of the People of Southwest Afghanistan
Amiri, G. R.
In the 1970s, in his capacity as government representative from the Afghan Institute of Archaeology, Ghulam Rahman Amiri accompanied a joint Afghan-US archaeological mission to the Sistan region of southwest Afghanistan. The results of his work were published in Farsi as a descriptive ethnographic monograph. The Helmand Baluch is the first English translation of Amiri’s extraordinary encounters. This rich ethnography describes the cultural, political, and economic systems of the Baluch people living in the lower Helmand River Valley of Afghanistan. It is an area that has received little study since the early 20th Century, yet is a region with a remarkable history in one of the most volatile territories in the world.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Archaeology
Area: Middle East & Israel
House of the Waterlily
A Novel of the Ancient Maya World
Set in the Maya civilization’s Late Classic Period House of the Waterlily is a historical novel centered on Lady Winik, a young Maya royal. Through tribulations that mirror the political calamities of the Late Classic world, Winik’s personal story immerses the reader not only in her daily life, but also in the difficult decisions Maya men and women must have faced as they tried to navigate a rapidly changing world. Kelli Carmean’s novel brings to life a people and an era remote from our own, yet recognizably human all the same.
Innovation and Implementation
Critical Reflections on New Approaches to Historic Mortuary Data Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination
Mytum, H. & Veit, R. (eds)
Providing a comprehensive set of guidance to assist researchers wishing to carry out, curate and disseminate field research at a historic burial ground, chapters offer up to date methods for surface and subsurface survey and for the recording and archiving of burial monument data. Divided into three parts considering documentary research and recording of mortuary landscapes, reflections on memorial recording projects, and archiving and wider dissemination of data and interpretations. Also included is the archaeological potential of pet cemeteries and other pet memorials. Discussions therefore include how methodologies may or may not be applicable to both human and animal subjects.
Island Historical Ecology
Socionatural Landscapes of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean
Siegel, P. (ed)
In the first book-length treatise on historical ecology of the West Indies, Island Historical Ecology addresses Caribbean island ecologies from the perspective of social and cultural interventions over approximately eight millennia of human occupations. Environmental coring carried out in carefully selected wetlands allowed for the reconstruction of pre-colonial and colonial landscapes on islands between Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Comparisons with well-documented patterns in the Mediterranean and Pacific islands place this case study into a larger context of island historical ecology.
The Long Shore
Archaeologies and Social Histories of Californias Maritime Cultural Landscapes
Meniketti, M. (ed)
The archaeology of maritime cultural landscapes offers insights into cultural traditions, social transitions, and cultural relationships that reach beyond the narrow confines of waterfronts and beach strands and helps construct meaningful social histories. The long shore of California is not limited to the land that borders the Pacific Ocean, but includes the navigable waters that reach inland, the off-shore islands, and the riverways flow to the sea. Authors investigate the multifaceted character of maritime landscapes and maritime oriented communities in California’s equally diverse cultural landscape; viewed through an archaeological lens, and emphasizing social behavior and community as material culture in order to reveal intersections and commonalities.
Area: North America
Global Perspectives on Scenes in Rock Art
Davidson, I. & Nowell, A. (eds)
Dating back to at least 50,000 years ago, rock art is one of the oldest forms of human symbolic expression. Geographically, it spans all the continents on Earth. Scenes are common in some rock art, and recent work suggests that there are some hints of expression that looks like some of the conventions of western scenic art. In this unique volume examining the nature of scenes in rock art, researchers examine what defines a scene, what are the necessary elements of a scene, and what can the evolutionary history tell us about storytelling, sequential memory, and cognitive evolution among ancient and living cultures?
Modeling the Past
Archaeology, History, and Dynamic Networks
Terrell, J., Golitko, M., Dawson, H., and Kissel, M.
How do researchers use dynamic network analysis (DYRA) to explore, model, and try to understand the complex global history of our species? Reduced to bare bones, network analysis is a way of understanding the world around us — a way called relational thinking — that is liberating but challenging. Using this handbook, researchers learn to develop historical and archaeological research questions anchored in DYRA. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professional historians and archaeologists can consult on issues that range from hypothesis-driven research to critiquing dominant historical narratives, especially those that have tended to ignore the diversity of the archaeological record.
Mythology and Symbolism of Eurasia and Indigenous Americas
Manifestations in Artifacts and Rituals
A system of myths, symbols, and rituals, dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic, survives in present-day imagery. In exploring this system, special attention is drawn to the linkage between ancient and contemporary civilizations of Eurasia and Mesoamerica, as seen in their cosmology, and expressed in common mythological and iconographic themes. The author examines contemporary Middle American and eastern European textiles, especially women’s garments, that contain an elaborated sacred code of symbols, and include remnants of the four horizontal directions, and the three vertical worlds that portray the structure of the universe. The cosmology contained in patterns around the world denotes striking parallels that attest to internal connections between different cultures, beyond time and place.
Subjects: Archaeology Anthropology (General)
Architecture, Material Culture and the Workhouse under the New Poor Law
Newman, C. & Fennelly, K.
The Poor Laws in the United Kingdom left a built and material legacy of over two centuries of legislative provision for the poor and infirm. Workhouses represent the first centralized, state-organized system for welfare, though they maintain a notorious historical reputation. Workhouses were intended to be specialized institutions, with dedicated subdivisions for the management of different categories of inmate. Examining the workhouse provision from an archaeological perspective, the authors demonstrate the heterogeneity of the Poor Law system from a built heritage perspective. This volume forms a social archaeology of the lived experience of poverty and health in the nineteenth century.
Rethinking Our Evolutionary Past
Martin, M. K.
What set our ancestors off on a separate evolutionary trajectory was the ability to flex their reproductive and social strategies in response to changing environmental conditions. Exploring new cross-disciplinary research that links this capacity to critical changes in the organization of the primate brain, Social DNA presents a new synthesis of ideas on human social origins – challenging models that trace our beginnings to traits shaped by ancient hunting economies, or to genetic platforms shared with contemporary apes.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Archaeology
The Sound of Silence
Indigenous Perspectives on the Historical Archaeology of Colonialism
Äikäs, T. & Salmi, A.-K. (eds)
Colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and European state powers are overarching themes in the historical archaeology of the modern era, and postcolonial historical archaeology has repeatedly emphasized the complex two-way nature of colonial encounters. This volume examines common trajectories in indigenous colonial histories, and explores new ways to understand cultural contact, hybridization and power relations between indigenous peoples and colonial powers from the indigenous point of view. By bringing together a wide geographical range and combining multiple sources such as oral histories, historical records, and contemporary discourses with archaeological data, the volume finds new multivocal interpretations of colonial histories.
The Southeast Asia Connection
Trade and Polities in the Eurasian World Economy, 500 BC–AD 500
Chew, S. C.
The contribution of Southeast Asia to the world economy (during the late prehistoric and early historic periods) has not received much attention. It has often been viewed as a region of peripheral entrepôts, especially in the early centuries of the current era. Recent archaeological evidence revealed the existence of established and productive polities in Southeast Asia in the early parts of the historic period and earlier. This book recalibrates these interactions of Southeast Asia with other parts of the world economy, and gives the region its due instead of treating it as little more than of marginal interest.
The Spirit of Matter
Modernity, Religion, and the Power of Objects
A range of meaningful objects—exhibits of human remains or live people, fetishes, objects in a Catholic Museum, exotic photographs, commodities, and computers—demonstrate a subordinate modern consciousness about powerful objects and their ‘life’. The Spirit of Matter discusses these objects that move people emotionally but whose existence is often denied by modern wishful thinking of ‘mind over matter’. It traces this mindset back to Protestant Christian influences that were secularized in the course of modern and colonial history.
These Were People Once
The Online Trade in Human Remains and Why It Matters
Huffer, D. & Graham, S.
People buy and sell human remains online. Most of this trade these days is over social media. In a study of this ‘bone trade’, how it works, and why it matters, the authors review and use a variety of methods drawn from the digital humanities to analyze the sheer volume of social media posts in search of answers to questions regarding this online bone trade. The answers speak to how the 21st century understands and constructs ‘heritage’ more generally: each person their own expert, yet seeking community and validation, and like the major encyclopedic museums, built on a kind of digital neocolonialist othering of the dead.
Unlocking the Love-Lock
The History and Heritage of a Contemporary Custom
Explores the worldwide popularity of the love-lock as a ritual token of love and commitment by considering its history, symbolism, and heritage.
“[T]his is an eminently enjoyable and thorough investigation of a popular phenomenon through the lens of heritage and folk tradition.”—Sara De Nardi, Western Sydney University
A padlock is a mundane object, designed to fulfil a specific – and secular – purpose. A contemporary custom has given padlocks new significance. This custom is ‘love-locking’, where padlocks are engraved with names and attached to bridges in declaration of romantic commitment. This custom became popular in the 2000s, and its dissemination was rapid, geographically unbound, and highly divisive, with love-locks emerging in locations as diverse as Paris and Taiwan; New York and Seoul; Melbourne and Moscow.
From the introduction:
I was distractedly perusing the photo frame aisle, my eyes skimming the generically sentimental stock pictures of happy families smiling at the camera, pretty landscapes, cute pets and couples walking hand-in-hand, when I came across one that jumped out at me…. I recognised the image instantly as a photograph of love-locks: the padlocks that had been appearing en masse on bridges and other public structures on a global scale since the early 2000s. And, having been researching the custom known as lovelocking for about five years at that point, it was with a peculiar sense of pride that I realised love-locks had accomplished the status of a stock image.
Unusual Death and Memorialization
Burial, Space, and Memory in the Post-Medieval North
Kallio-Seppa, T., Lipkin, S., Väre, T., Moilanen, U. & Tranberg, A. (eds)
Most cultures and societies have their own customs and traditions of treating their dead. In the past, some deceased received a burial that deviated from tradition. The reasons for unusual burial could result from reasons such as outbreaks of epidemics or wars, or from premature births, distinctive social status, or disability. Authors present a selection of cases addressing the issue of unusual deaths, burials, or ways to remember the deceased. Chapters explore theoretical views related to social memory of death and memorializing the deceased and their resting places during modern period. The case studies introduce varied views on ‘otherness’ that are visible in burial customs and memorialization.
Subjects: Archaeology Anthropology (General) Memory Studies
World Heritage Craze in China
Universal Discourse, National Culture, and Local Memory
There is a World Heritage Craze in China. China claims to have the longest continuous civilization in the world and is seeking recognition from UNESCO. This book explores three dimensions of the UNESCO World Heritage initiative with particular relevance for China: the universal agenda, the national practices, and the local responses. With a sociological lens, this book offers comprehensive insights into World Heritage, as well as China’s deep social, cultural, and political structures.
Areas: Asia Asia-Pacific
World Heritage on the Ground
Brumann, C. & Berliner, D. (eds)
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 set the contemporary standard for cultural and natural conservation. Today, a place on the World Heritage List is much sought after for tourism promotion, development funding, and national prestige. Presenting case studies from across the globe, particularly from Africa and Asia, anthropologists with situated expertise in specific World Heritage sites explore the consequences of the World Heritage framework and the global spread of the UNESCO heritage regime. This book shows how local and national circumstances interact with the global institutional framework in complex and unexpected ways. Often, the communities around World Heritage sites are constrained by these heritage regimes rather than empowered by them.