The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Archaeological Research: Examples from the Comparative Study of New World English Colonial Capitals
Author(s): Marley Brown III
This paper argues that archaeological research, while guided by general research questions, can be most productive when it needs to contextualize unanticipated discoveries - the surprises that often make archaeological fieldwork worth doing. Such contextualization takes the form of a multifaceted dialogue between an unexpected archaeological find, an existing historiography, additional historical research and archaeological analysis prompted by the surprise finding, and, most importantly, a newly conceived overarching interpretive framework derived from existing anthropological concepts. Examples of this research process are provided from excavations of eighteenth-century domestic sites in Williamsburg, Virginia and St. George’s, Bermuda that not only produced unexpected results but led to new insights about the local environments, provisioning systems, social orders, and cultural outlooks of these two important English colonial capital towns.
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The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Archaeological Research: Examples from the Comparative Study of New World English Colonial Capitals. Marley Brown III. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436883)
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