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Living at the Margins: Archaeological and Ethnographic Research on Post-Eighteenth-Century Irish and Scottish Rural Life

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Margins, both socially and ideologically, are materially defined by local economic practices and national policies. This session focuses on post 18thcentury material life on the margins of Ireland and Scotland, defined in differing ways by researchers, governments, and those living along coastal and upland areas. Archaeologists in this session explore the conception of margins and marginality from a multi­faceted framework to interrogate the underlying assumptions about material culture, landscape, place, and economy in "marginal" locations and communities. The study of such porous spaces has revelatory potential to help us understand altered social dynamics. Through case studies, presenters considering the nature of life along the edge, how it is ascribed from different perspectives, and the linkages between the core and periphery.


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Documents

  • Celtic Crosses and Quetzal Masks: On the (Re)production of the Archaeological Record (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    In an era of globalization and mass production, archaeological objects and images are not immune to being transformed into commodities and sold for profit. This (re)production of the past can profoundly influence the ways that consumers understand the history of particular times and places—often erasing the experiences of marginality and resilience that archaeologists work so hard to recover. This paper examines two distinct cases in which historical images (and periods) are being transformed...

  • Cows, Wolves and Witches: The Question of Marginality within Transhumant Communities of Western Ireland (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Small-scale transhumant movements were once quite common in Ireland, and continued in places like Conamara, Donegal and Achill Island up to the late 19th century and early 20th century. Also known by the term ‘booleying’, these practices involved young people, usually girls, bringing dairy cows up to hill pastures for the summer so as to free up land at home for tillage and winter fodder. However, the seasonal landscapes and settlements which they visited have until recently been neglected by...

  • Island, Mainland, and the Space Between: The Role of Geography in Shaping Community Historical Trajectories of 19th and 20th Century Ireland (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    This study looks at the relationship between geographical ‘islandness’ and community formation in Western Ireland. In this paper we investigate to what degree geography shapes the social, economic and political experiences of a community. Furthermore, we examine to what extent these elements of community composition strengthen or diminish their influence on each other. We compare the 19th and 20th century island communities of Inishbofin and Inishark, Co. Galway against the complementary...

  • Marginality in a Connected World: Consumption and Consumerism in 19th-Century Rural Ireland (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Although, the rural Irish are often characterized as a geographically and economically isolated people, their material culture reveals that in the nineteenth century, they were part of a growing global economy—one that circulated both goods and people around the British Empire and beyond. While the industrial revolution and the spread of capitalism allowed for greater access to a variety of goods for the rural Irish, they also maintained a class system that perpetually confined the rural poor to...

  • Networks of Material Mediation: Shopkeepers in Rural Community Social Dynamics (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    While archaeologists have explored networks of trade and exchange of manufactured goods between rural communities, regional market towns, and urban centers, less attention has been given to the way that rural shops and shopkeepers played a significant role in the accessibility and distribution of material goods in local economies. Focused on the emergence of rural shops in Western coastal Ireland and islands of Inishark and Inishbofin, 1840-1950, this study will contribute to an understanding of...

  • On Grounding ‘Margins’ and ‘Marginals’: With Brief Visits to the Bennachie Colony (Scotland) and New Iceland (Canada) (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Marginality is a perennial trope within the literature of settler societies. This paper is concerned with how people, past and present, become caught up with labels of ‘marginality’, among other forms of ‘identity history’. The theory is grounded in what are potentially conflicting ideas: one that places emphasis on fluidity and change, the other which takes a firm materialist stand. The apparent impasse is resolved by clearly identifying contexts—both material and historical—where temporary...

  • Working on the Margins of the Modern World and Within Archaeology: The Historical Archaeology of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentith-Century Ireland (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    In Ireland, historical, post-medieval, or modern world archaeology as a discipline is located on the margins. The time period and material comprising our research is argued by many to be relevant only to the pursuits of historians and folk studies. In this paper I discuss the importance and relevance of a discipline on the margins and the study of Ireland’s impoverished class during the last decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This marks one of the most dynamic periods in Ireland’s...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America