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This collection of essays draws inspiration from the late James Deetz's In Small Things Forgotten (1977). Deetz's seminal work broke new ground by using structuralist theory to show how artefacts reflected the 'worldviews' or ideologies of their makers and users, and went on to claim that the American colonial world had been structured according to a British intellectual blueprint, the so-called 'Georgian Order'. Thirty years on, this influential thesis has been substantially revised by more recent scholarship, but Deetz's central premise, that the systematic study of mundane material objects such as tombstones, architecture, and furniture, can render palpable the intangible aspects of human cognition and belief systems, has become a fundamental tenet of modern historical archaeology. Drawing upon James Deetz's insight that everyday objects from the recent past are freighted with social significance, and that material culture operates alongside language as a system of communication, the authors present a series of case studies which unravel specific cultural moments in well-documented historical periods across the modern world. The very best historical archaeologies create intimate material histories that expose constructions of race, class, gender, and have the capacity to challenge taken-for-granted knowledge and received political histories. The studies in this volume range in date from the early 17th century to the late 20th century and are unified by the way in which they employ theory from archaeology and anthropology to elucidate the complex links between human thought and action. The authors in this volume make a significant contribution to archaeological knowledge through their ability to move beyond simple materialities to create interesting human stories that transcend purely descriptive show-and-tell accounts of archaeological sites. Chapters by international scholars from North America, Europe, and Australia demonstrate the vitality of their approaches to historical archaeology through a series of compelling case studies. For the first time to an Anglophone audience this volume presents the latest research from Finland and Spain.
Fernand Braudel famously observed that the 'mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization'. The way that food is prepared, served, and eaten reveals a great deal about the structure and workings of any society. It is therefore not surprising that food, and the culturally specific etiquettes and equipment that surround the act of eating have been studied by scholars from a wide range of disciplines. The papers in this volume consider the changes that occurred in Old and New World dining and related culinary activities between the 17th century and the early 20th century. This period saw the widespread acceptance of the fork in dining and the adoption of routinized etiquettes to govern eating. In the 18th century the rise of individualism ushered in new forms of segmented dining based upon symmetrically arranged tables and individual place settings. Against this backdrop of manufactured uniformity, made possible by advances in industrial production, highly stylized dining rituals and haute cuisine , which had previously been the exclusive domain of European courtly elites, entered the homes and routines of the 'middling sort'. Henceforth, material expressions of status and social identity became commonplace at the table, and an integral part of dining in all but the humblest homes. The unique contribution of this volume lies in the way in which a distinguished group of international historical archaeologists have combined the richness of primary archaeological evidence with a wealth of documentary evidence to create insightful new material histories of dining. The new light which this throws upon manufacturing processes, feasting rituals, the rise of respectability, the inter-continental spread of the Victorian cult of domesticity, and foodways among peripheral agricultural communities will be of interest to scholars beyond archaeology, in the cognate fields of anthropology, social and economic history, cultural geography, and material culture studies.
The Historical Archaeology of the Sheffield Cutlery and Tableware Industry 1750-1900 by James Symonds