Motivations of Indigenous New England Potters and Researchers: Technical Choice, Social Context, and Identity Construction
Archaeological research on aboriginal ceramics in New England has been limited in content and scope since its beginnings in the late 19th century. Few studies have attempted to connect aboriginal ceramics research with contemporary Native peoples, either through past-to-present identity connections or through Indigenous community engagement. Additionally, there have been few efforts to integrate research across New England’s contemporary geopolitical boundaries. Recognizing these deficiencies in regional scholarship, this paper discusses two ceramics studies from New England—each exploring concepts of identity. One study centers on potters living in the Penobscot River Valley in Maine during the Ceramic Period (3050-450 B.P.), and the other focuses on the Late Woodland period (1300-1600 AD) through 17th century potters in the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts. Each study applied Indigenous archaeologies and technological choice strategies to an archaeological problem. However, the motivations behind the studies and the social contexts of the researchers influenced the research process and interpretations. This paper reviews these studies and the challenge of using ceramics as a central element in constructing or assigning identity while contemplating the range of factors that influence how researchers make connections between past and present peoples in the geopolitical landscape of New England.
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Motivations of Indigenous New England Potters and Researchers: Technical Choice, Social Context, and Identity Construction. Bonnie Newsom, Julie Woods. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444996)
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Abstract Id(s): 21570