The Red Shoes: Toward a Materialized Relationship Between the Living and the Dead

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Critiques of how effectively physical anthropology and archaeology have worked together to produce a more theoretically contextualized bioarchaeology argue generally for the need to incorporate social theory (Goldstein 2006; Sofaer 2006; Blakely 1977; Buikstra 1977). With regard to historical bioarchaeology, Buikstra (2000), among others, argues for recognition of the complexity introduced by social, economic and ideational factors(see also Blakey 2001; Perry 2007). Lack of integrating biological and archaeological data has hampered historic cemetery research, and incorporating multiple lines of evidence is certainly the implied goal of a bioarchaeological approach. This session considers the integrative analyses of material culture and biological data that can be used to explore the ways in which material objects acquire meaning through practice in an historic mortuary setting and how such objects create materialized relationships between the living and the dead.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Artifacts in the Archives: Material Culture Curated Within Milwaukee County Coroner’s Inquests (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brooke L. Drew.

    Historical archaeologists expect to encounter artifacts in the field or lab, but may not anticipate uncovering them in the library. While conducting research on individuals buried in the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery, the author came across a diverse assortment of material culture associated with the coroner’s inquests curated at the Milwaukee County Historical Society Research Library.  This paper will describe the various items uncovered including photographs, clothing samples, personal...

  • Beads, Burials, and African Diaspora Archaeology: Documenting a Pattern of Black and White Bead Use within African-American Mortuary Contexts (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Davidson.

    African Diaspora Archaeology has its roots in Plantation Archaeology of the 1960s and 1970s.    One artifact initially associated with enslaved contexts was the simple blue-glass bead (though other colors were recovered), recognized by some as signifying African-derived culture and beliefs, and by others as a controversial and potentially erroneous stereotype.  Simultaneously emerging in the 1970s was the field of historical mortuary archaeology, where graves of African-Americans as well as...

  • Clothing, if not called for within 30 days will be disposed of: The Material Culture of Death Forgotten at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patricia B. Richards. Catherine Jones. Eric Burant. Richard H. Kubicek.

    Historical Archaeology has recognized the impact the advent of mass production and distribution of goods had on the material culture of the 19th and early 20th century.  This is true of the category of burial garments. The burial shroud is thought to have given way to grave clothes made by individuals and then replaced by a burial garment industry characterized by the patent of a burial garment in 1912 by G.C. Holcomb "to resemble tailor-made garments." A remarkable variety of clothing and...

  • Cufflinks, Quarters, and Consumption: An Examination of Adolescent Burials at Dubuque’s Third Street Cemetery (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer E. Mack.

    From 1833 to 1880, members of St. Raphael’s Cathedral, a largely Irish parish in Dubuque, Iowa, interred their dead in the Third Street Cemetery. After the Catholic burial ground fell out of use, the graves were forgotten. The cemetery was inadvertently disturbed by construction in the 1940s, 1970s, and 1990s, and most of the remaining graves were excavated by the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist between 2007 and 2011. During this fieldwork, unique features were noted in several adolescent...

  • Distributed Remains, Distributed Minds: The Materiality of Autopsy and Dissection (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Catherine Jones.

    Excavations at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery produced a large subset of burials showing evidence of autopsy and dissection. In addition to the osteological evidence of autopsy and dissection, these burials also contained broken equipment and medical refuse which reflect the medical, pedagogical, and medicolegal procedures in use at the turn of the last century. An incorporated study of these materials is necessary to examine the connection between the practical engagement with...

  • Like Pulling Teeth: Relationships Between Material Culture And Osteology At The Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessica Skinner.

    Material culture is a mediator between the living and the dead (Hallam and Hockey 2017).  Items used by the living can leave their mark osteologically, can follow an individual into a burial context, or can become part of an individual. Each of these actions leaves archaeological evidence of cultural communication. This paper examines the dialectical relationships between artifacts and osteology through an integrative analysis of the multilayered relationships between osteological data, artifact...

  • Limbus Infantum: Shrouds, Safety Pins, and the Materiality of Personhood in Juvenile Burials at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brianne E Charles. Eric Burant. Patricia B. Richards.

    Of the over 2000 individuals recovered from the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (MCPFC), approximately one-third are juveniles under the age of 20. Age categories for the MCIG juveniles were established using a variety of dental, osteometric and nonosteometric methods. The example of juvenile lot 10007, (dental age assessment 5 postnatal months, osteometric age 39 fetal weeks) recovered with diaper fabric, safety pins, and a small angel pin, suggests that a more refined look at juvenile age...

  • Presence of Pathological Tuberculosis in Relation to Perimortem Institutionalization at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Helen Werner. Alexander Anthony.

    The goal of this study is to integrate three types of data from the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery: (1) bioarchaeological signs of tuberculosis, both gross anatomical changes to the skeletal remains and DNA evidence of the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, (2) material culture, including the distribution of artifacts associated with Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery burials, and (3) historic documents that elucidate practice within these institutional contexts, particularly...

  • Treating Material Culture Data and Biological Data Equally: An Example from the Alameda Stone Cemetery in Tucson, AZ (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lynne Goldstein.

    In the analysis of historic cemeteries, there are many instances, especially in recent years, of biological data taking precedence over data derived from material culture. In part, this is because analysts can often assign a probability to a biological decision, and material culture decisions do not come with specific probabilities. However, regardless of the nature of the data, all lines of evidence should be considered valid and significant. In the excavation and analysis of the Alameda Stone...

  • Who/What Is In That Vial? (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shannon Freire.

    Archaeologists typically conceptualize the "material" in an integrated analysis of material culture and biological data as artifacts/objects/things recovered through excavation from an historic mortuary setting. However, further explorations of meaning are possible when the definition of material encompasses both what is recovered and produced by archaeologists. Destructive testing, as a component of bioarchaeological analysis, creates additional materialized relationships between the living and...