Archaeologies of Memory and Identity

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

This session welcomes contributions that consider how the materiality of places, landscapes, remains and objects (in the past or in the present) both reflect and shape practices and experiences that produce identity and memory, especially the role of the material in producing sensory, affective and embodied experiences of memory and identification. Current thinking about the archaeology of the recent past challenges archaeological paradigms, advocating a new, ethnographic approach, centred on the meaning of the past and its remains in the present. We believe this work has opened up an exciting new space for discussion and debate about archaeological work concerned with memory and identity in the past and present - concerns which have always been a key focus of the practices we know as historical archaeology.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Archaeological Significance, Professional Practice, and Public Praxis, Part 1: Archaeological Identity and the determination of archaeological site significance (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jed Levin. Patrice L. Jeppson.

    This paper (Part 1 of 2) examines how the construction of a dominant archaeological identity within the profession has determined how archaeological significance is constructed in US preservation law and policy. This formal legal framework guiding professional practice is then contrasted with the notion of significance that emerged during the public’s engagement with the President’s House site in Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA). The resulting contrast...

  • Archaeological Significance, Professional Practice, and Public Praxis, Part 2: Identity, Community Engagement, and the Significance of Archeological Sites (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jed Levin. Patrice L. Jeppson.

    This paper (Part 2 of 2) surveys public engagement with the President’s House Site In Independence Park (Philadelphia, PA, USA) in order to juxtapose how various communities of interest actively construct disparate notions of site significance from reservoirs of common memory and shared identity. The comparison makes clear that the archaeological profession represents but one particular community of interest whose restrictive practice does not encompass all that is valuable about a site. This...

  • Experiencing place: an auto-ethnography on digging and belonging (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen (Steve) Brown.

    At the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly in 2008, the ‘Québec Declaration on the Preservation of Spirit of Place’ was adopted. The declaration called for measures and actions to safeguard and promote the physical and spiritual elements that give meaning, value, and emotion to place. In this presentation I argue that excavation is a heritage practice/process that asserts and re-invigorates spirit of place. The case study is my home in the Sydney suburb of Arncliffe; the method personal and...

  • Living Pictures: Photographs, Reenactment and Colonialism (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jane Lydon.

    I begin by exploring the transformation of photos by living Australian Aboriginal relatives and communities, from historical signs to powerful entities that express family relationships and history. In recent years photographs have come to be considered by some theorists as objects, a shift linked to a new emphasis on how they are used rather than what they mean. This move has been stimulated in part by posthumanist approaches that argue for the agency of the non-human, as well as challenges to...

  • Manipulating Nostalgic Discourse at the Casas Museu da Taipa of Macau (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eliza Leong.

    This paper questions the discursive manipulation of memory work at the historic houses on the island Taipa in Macau. The houses of the Casas Museu da Taipa used to be the property of Portuguese families. I will talk about the objects which are connected with the Portuguese women. By examining these objects, I will explore how these women positioned themselves in social categories influenced both by Western Europe where they came from, and Macau to which they migrated. I focus on the...

  • Material memories. Some mysteries of the mantelpiece (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ralph Mills.

    Miniature objects are often bought to act as mementos and souvenirs. They memorialise past events in people’s lives. But perhaps all miniatures have some sort of memory attached to or invested in them, which might partly explain why they are so mysteriously popular. In this paper I look first at the concept of ‘material memories’ using examples from my historical archaeology collaborations in England and Portugal. I then focus on the objects I am particularly interested in, small-scale...

  • Problematic of Archaeology and Identity in a Multi-ethnic society like Mauritius (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jayshree Mungur-Medhi.

    Archaeology studies past identities; however, it also puts into discussion the identity of the present within a society. Simultaneously, archaeological data is being questioned by communities when the data does not really fit the latter’s expectations. These issues have to be dealt with each time one undertakes archaeological research on sites to which communities are emotionally affiliated especially in a countries like Mauritius. Mauritius where multi-ethnicity is at the base, Archaeology can...

  • Remembering Tomorrow: Wagon Roads, Identity and the Decolonisation of a First Nations Landscape (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Gibson.

    Roads embody the experiences of those who constructed, used and maintained them through time. Using a biographical approach I explore how memory and identity are entangled in the material form of a wagon road in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. First constructed by the Royal Engineers in 1859 to enable miners to reach the Fraser River goldfields, the importance of this road transcends its initial colonial origins. Local First Nations communities continued to use and maintain this road...

  • Saké, Memory, and Identity among Japanese Migrant Communities (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas Ross.

    There is considerable archaeological evidence for alcohol consumption among Japanese migrants in North America. However, among oral histories and other archival sources alcohol is rarely mentioned, and when it is the focus is on imported Japanese saké to the near exclusion of all other beverages. Based on data from an early 20th century salmon cannery in British Columbia, I argue that certain consumer goods that served important social functions in the homeland, including saké, also played an...

  • Tackling Identity from Anthropological and Archaeological Perspectives: A Case Study of the Ethnic Identity of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mariane Gaudreau.

    Cultural anthropologists’ and archaeologists’ interest in theorizing identity has a long history. Cultural anthropologists have generally focused on emic perspectives to gain insight into contemporary individual and group identity. In contrast, archaeologists have necessarily mainly relied on material culture to discern identity in the past, with relatively little attention paid to the views of contemporary peoples. Unfortunately, archaeological interpretations can conflict with those of...

  • The Un-Internable; The Enduring Material Legacies of the Domoto Family (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Paige Riggs.

    Although Japanese Incarceration denied the Domoto family the right to reside in the Bay Area, the family left a lasting impression within the region’s landscapes that endures. This paper presents the results of an investigation of the Domotos’ material legacies through contemporary survey of the Melrose District of Oakland, permanent garden displays, and the Amache Internment Camp. Paired with the analysis of one curated assemblage, oral histories, and documentary records, this research reveals...

  • Understanding Past and Present Cochineal Production in the Canary Islands (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Mattes.

    Following Spanish conquest in the late 15th century, a series of commodities were introduced and produced in the Canary Islands and, while the agricultural economy today is much smaller than the tourist economy, many of these colonial products are still produced today. One such commodity is cochineal, introduced in the early 19th century. American cochineal was, for centuries, a dominant source of red dyestuff and, for a few decades in the mid-19th century, the Canary Islands were the largest...

  • Up Close and Personal: feeling the past at urban historical archaeological sites (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tracy Ireland.

    Historical memory is increasingly being given material form in urban spaces. In the cities founded by settler colonialism the ‘archaeological imagination’ is now a means via which material memories are constructed, grounding genealogy, national origins and empathy for individuals caught up in histories both tumultuous and quotidian. I compare archaeological sites conserved in situ in Sydney, Australia, with Pointe-à-Callière in Montreal and the President’s House in Philadelphia to explore Sara...

  • Voices Not Lost: An archaeology of the past and present at Timbuctoo, New Jersey (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patricia Markert.

    The African American community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey, has existed as an archaeological site for little more than five years. As archaeologists, it is essential to evaluate this community, which sits directly at the crossroads between race in the past and race in the present, in the context of not only how it existed in the 19th and 20th centuries, but how it continues to exist today. The living former residents of the community contribute their life experiences of the 20th century in the...