Objects of the Past in the Past: Investigating the Significance of Earlier Artefacts in Later Contexts [Paperback]

Matthew G. Knight(Editor); Dot Boughton(Editor); Rachel E. Wilkinson(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789692488 | Published by: Archaeopress Access Archaeology | Year of Publication: 2019 | 196p, H8 x W10.75, 77 figures, 11 tables (43 pages in color)
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Objects of the Past in the Past: Investigating the Significance of Earlier Artefacts in Later Contexts


How did past communities view, understand and communicate their pasts? And how can we, as archaeologists, understand this? In recent years these questions have been approached through studies of the extended occupation and use of landscapes, monuments and artefacts to explore concepts of time and memory. But what of objects that were already old in the past?

Interpretations for these items have ranged from the discard of scrap to objects of veneration. Evidence from a range of periods would suggest objects of the past were an important part of many later societies that encountered them, either as heirlooms with remembered histories or rediscovered curiosities from a more distant past.

For the first time, this volume brings together a range of case studies in which objects of the past were encountered and reappropriated. It follows a conference session at the Theoretical Archaeological Group in Cardiff 2017, in which historians, archaeologists, heritage professionals and commercial archaeologists gathered to discuss this topic on a broad (pre)historical scale, highlighting similarities and contrast in depositional practices and reactions to relics of the past in different periods. Through case studies spanning the Bronze Age through to the 18th century AD, this volume presents new research demonstrating that the reappropriation of these already old objects was not anomalous, but instead represents a practice that recurs throughout (pre)history.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Objects of the Past in the Past – by Matthew G. Knight, Dot Boughton and Rachel E. Wilkinson

Chapter 2. Doubtful associations? Assessing Bronze Age ‘multi-period’ hoards from northern England, Scotland and Wales – by Matthew G. Knight

Chapter 3. Connecting with the past: Earliest Iron Age multi-period hoards in Wessex – by Dot Boughton

Chapter 4. The Devil or the Divine? Supernatural objects and multi-period hoards in later prehistory – by Alex Davies

Chapter 5. Iron Age antiques: Assessing the functions of old objects in Britain from 400 BC to AD 100 – by Helen Chittock

Chapter 6. The Antique Antique? – by Mark Lewis

Chapter 7. Rethinking heirlooms in early medieval graves – by Brian Costello and Howard Williams

Chapter 8. Medieval engagements with the material past: some evidence from European coin hoards, AD c. 1000–1500 – by Murray Andrews

Chapter 9. Deep Time in the ruins of a Tudor Palace? Fossils from the Palace of Placentia, Greenwich – by Peter J. Leeming

Chapter 10. A shifting chronology of combat damage: Reassessing the evidence for use and reuse on Irish Bronze Age swords – by David R. Bell

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