Introduction: Objects, Scale, and Identity Entangled



Three elements – objects, scale, and identity – are entangled in the chapters in this collection. The authors have been tasked to center both material culture and the scale of the individual in their interpretations of the archaeological record. Archaeologists have always prioritized material things in the study of the past; the artifact is central to the archaeological endeavor. Nonetheless, as a number of scholars have recently pointed out (Meskell, 2005; Cochran and Beaudry, 2006; Loren and Beaudry, 2006), interpretive approaches to materiality – those that take an interdisciplinary perspective on material culture and also employ an approach developed in anthropological material studies – have been slow to percolate into the collective archaeological perspective. There are now a number of encouraging developments in this regard that indicate a new intensity of interest in material culture studies with a distinctly archaeological approach (Beaudry, 2006; White, 2005; Meskell, 2005), including a new series of guides published by Left Coast Press (White and Scarlett, 2009). One of the major aims of this volume is to demonstrate the potential of an approach to the archaeological record that takes materiality as its focus and uses substantive case studies to explore a common theme: individuality.


Archaeological Site Material Culture Archaeological Record Individual Life Historical Archaeology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Nevada-RenoRenoUSA

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