Emergent Materialities of 19th c. Nipmuc Basketry

Author(s): Heather Law Pezzarossi

Year: 2016


This paper examines a collection of iron artifacts from the Sarah Burnee/Sarah Boston Site, a late 18th- and early 19th-century Nipmuc homestead in Grafton, Massachusetts. While the objects recovered have a broad range of purposes, the assemblage is assessed for its utility in the practice of woodsplint basketmaking, an emerging Indigenous industry in 19th-century New England, and the purported trade of one of the homestead’s inhabitants. Native woodsplint baskets were valued by Anglo-American consumers for their authentic and traditional "Indianess," yet many of their forms, decorations, and the associated toolkit were developed by Native artisans in the specific economic conditions of post-revolutionary New England and are thus entangled with Euro-American materialities. DeLanda’s (2006) ‘‘assemblage theory’’ is examined as an appropriate concept with which to reconcile the apparent tension of innovation and tradition in this collection, and in Indigenous historical archaeology at large.

Cite this Record

Emergent Materialities of 19th c. Nipmuc Basketry. Heather Law Pezzarossi. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434565)


Temporal Keywords
19th C.

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 958