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Linking Beads, Linking People: A Social Network Approach to Exploring Identity in the Colonial Southeast

Author(s): Elliot Blair

Year: 2017

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Summary

Beads and other ornaments were important objects involved in early colonial entanglements between Europeans and Native Americans, with the color, texture, and physical properties of these objects fostering the embodiment of new social roles within changing colonial worlds. In this paper I discuss how such objects were involved in the material manifestation of social identities as pluralistic native communities aggregated in the Spanish missions of La Florida. Looking specifically at the aggregated population of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, a 17th century mission located on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, I use the methods of social network analysis (SNA) to explore how mission neophytes utilized European glass trade beads to both foster the persistence of social identities and to create new communities in the context of population aggregation. Presenting a bipartite network reconstruction of the Santa Catalina community, I discuss how both individuals and objects of adornment acted together to materialize changing colonial identities.


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Linking Beads, Linking People: A Social Network Approach to Exploring Identity in the Colonial Southeast. Elliot Blair. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430408)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16465

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