International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 153–166 | Cite as

Colonization and the Commodification of Nature

  • Stephen A. Mrozowski


This paper explores some of the theoretical issues surrounding the commodification of nature and its value as a research topic. In particular it examines the relationship between European colonization, the rise of capitalism and the increased use of abstract space. An appeal is also made for adding environmental history to the research agenda of historical archaeology. Case studies from South Africa and Virginia illustrate the manner in which abstract notions of space and the environment contributed to the commodification of nature. The Virginia case study from Jamestown Island provides a particularly vivid example of how micro- and macro-level environmental changes can be linked to important political and economic events.

commodification abstract space environmental history 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Mrozowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBoston

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