Material Culture, Identity, and Practice: Methods, Theories, and Case Studies

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  • Analyzing personal narratives across disciplines: examples from nineteenth century Minnesota (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kaila Akina.

    Documentary sources are an important complement to material culture in archaeological analysis. One form specifically--personal narratives--provides us with ample opportunities to explore aspects of past people's worlds as they saw and experienced them. What makes these printed and oral accounts fascinating to explore is what gets recorded, who recoded it, and why. I argue that archaeologists would benefit from investigating these sources as critically as other documents. This paper offers a...

  • Being Intendant in New France, a Step Forward in a Cursus Honorum? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Olivier Roy.

    To rise through the ranks of "Ancient Régime" society, noblemen were called upon to fill various positions in the colonial administration. Being Intendant in New France might have been challenging and full of issues, but it was also a fast way to better your position. Among the challenges facing the Intendants, one of them was to reflect his wealth and social status necessary for the duty. Since the objective of my master’s thesis is to understand the symbolic importance of material culture as...

  • Feminist Post-colonial Theory and the Gendering and Sexing of Colonial landscapes in Western North America (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Suzanne Spencer-Wood.

    Research on landscapes of colonization and colonialism has been predominantly ungendered. Feminist post-colonial theories and research have revealed the centrality of gender and sexual systems and power dynamics in the formation of landscapes of colonization and colonialism.  Colonization involves what I call external colonialism, involving invasion and territorial conquest, which was a gendered and sexual landscape process called the conquest of women by the Spanish, and involving English...

  • Finding the Mikveh: Using technology to confirm oral histories at an early 20th century site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only E. Nadia Kline.

    During the summer of 2014, a group of archaeologists, volunteers, and students excavated at a former house site at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. Archaeological excavation was undertaken with the goal of locating a mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) in the basement. Physical evidence of this important component of Jewish community life and ethnic identity was undocumented, and the only proof of its existence was from oral histories.  A former resident of the house still living in Portsmouth...

  • Gimballed Beds and Gamming Chairs: Seafaring Wives aboard Nineteenth-Century Sailing Ships (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Laurel Seaborn.

    Women lived on sailing ships with their families during the 19th century, and chronicled their experiences in journals and letters now found in historical archives.  Their stories remain on the periphery, as their signature is difficult to find in the maritime archaeological record.  Primary documents make mention of several items built or brought on board specifically for their comfort or entertainment.  Five captain’s wives sailed on the 19th-century whaleship Charles W. Morgan, still afloat...

  • Identifying with the Help: an Examination of Class, Ethnicity and Gender in a Post-Colonial German Houselot (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Whitson.

    The German presence within the Mississippi River valley, has received little attention through archaeological investigation. German outbuildings (as well as those living and/or working within outbuildings) have received even less reflection and deserves to be addressed to better understand what life was like within the American interior for "the help" during the country’s formative years. Bought in 1833 by a German family, the Janis-Ziegler property quickly moved from one centered in French...

  • Living Waters, Living History: Investigating a 20th Century Mikveh at Puddle Dock (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexandra G. Martin.

    Over the summer of 2014, Strawbery Banke Museum archaeologists and students excavated at a house site, which oral history suggested was the location of an early 20th century mikveh (Jewish ritual bath).   Research found that the house was once owned by the Portsmouth, NH Hebrew Ladies’ Society, who later sold the house to Temple Israel, just a few blocks away.  By 1935, the mikveh was no longer in use.  This presentation explores the history of Portsmouth’s Jewish immigrant community, who...

  • Material Culture and Identity in Early Modern Ireland: Archaeological Investigations in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rachel S. Tracey.

    The early demise of Carrickfergus in the 18th- century has ensured the remarkable preservation of the town's post-medieval archaeology, a relatively unique phenomenon in urban archaeological investigations in Northern Ireland.  Established as an Anglo-Norman caput in the 12th-century, by the 17th-century Carrickfergus was serving as the cultural, commercial, and civic hub of Ulster; a trans-Atlantic port, home to the Lord Deputy of Ireland and a diverse population of competing political...

  • Message(s) in a Jar: Mason Jars, Archaeological Narratives, and Contemporary Fascinations (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kim Christensen.

    Mason jars, as workhorses of home food preservation beginning in the late nineteenth-century, have functioned both as indicators of social and economic status within archaeological contexts and currently as objects of fascination in the DIY marketplace. This paper parses out the various discourses within which mason jars have been placed historically and contemporarily by their users, promoters, and archaeologists, and seeks to understand how gender, race, class, and nostalgia continue to inform...