Material memories. Some mysteries of the mantelpiece

Author(s): Ralph Mills

Year: 2014


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 representations of real and imagined originals, and discuss how they might act as or trigger memories, even if not acquired with that in mind. I also suggest that they may independently form a special class of material memories. I finally look at the roles that material memories and miniatures in particular might play in establishing or reflecting identity, both deliberately and accidentally.

Cite this Record

Material memories. Some mysteries of the mantelpiece. Ralph Mills. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437016)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-47,07