Personal Adornment and the Construction of Identity: A Global Archaeological Perspective [Paperback]

Hannah V. Mattson(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789255959 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2021 | 224p, H9.4 x W6.7, B/w and color
Status: Out of Stock, Available in 6-8 weeks

Also available as an ebook from:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Apple Apple
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Kobo Kobo
Buy From Google Google

Casemate will earn a small commission if you buy an ebook after clicking a link here.

Personal Adornment and the Construction of Identity


Objects of adornment have been a subject of archaeological, historical, and ethnographic study for well over a century. Within archaeology, personal ornaments have traditionally been viewed as decorative embellishments associated with status and wealth, materializations of power relations and social strategies, or markers of underlying social categories such as those related to gender, class, and ethnic affiliation. Personal Adornment and the Construction of Identity seeks to understand these artefacts not as signals of steady, pre-existing cultural units and relations, but as important components in the active and contingent constitution of identities. Drawing on contemporary scholarship on materiality and relationality in archaeological and social theory, this book uses one genre of material culture - items of bodily adornment - to illustrate how humans and objects construct one another.

Providing case studies spanning 10 countries, three continents, and more than 9,000 years of human history, the authors demonstrate the myriad and dynamic ways personal ornaments were intertwined with embodied practice and identity performativity, the creation and remaking of social memories, and relational collections of persons, materials, and practices in the past. The authors’ careful analyses of production methods and composition, curation/heirlooming and reworking, decorative attributes and iconography, position within assemblages, and depositional context illuminate the varied material and relational axes along which objects of adornment contained social value and meaning. When paired with the broad temporal and geographic scope collectively represented by these studies, we gain a deeper appreciation for the subtle but vital roles these items played in human lives.

Table of Contents

1. Personal adornment and identity construction in archaeology: An introduction
Hannah V. Mattson

2. Continuity in ornament traditions: What details can tell us. Perforated shell from the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition at Franchthi Cave (Greece)
Catherine Perlès

3. Costume and identity in Pacific Nicaragua
Geoffrey McCafferty and Sharisse McCafferty

4. Performing place-based identity: Dress, language and acculturation strategies in the Nahua world
Justyna Olko

5. Forging identity: The social and symbolic significance of torques in the Iron Age Castro Culture
Nadya H. Prociuk

6. Disc-on-bow and penannular brooches: Exploring aesthetics, traditions and political change in the Early Viking Age
Zanette Glørstad

7. Itineraries and networks of the Mission San Joseph de Sapala beads
Elliot H. Blair, Richard W. Jefferies, and Christopher R. Moore

8. Material histories of African beads: The role of personal ornaments in cultural change
Carla Klehm

9. The dynamism of dress items in the Period IVb mortuary assemblages at Hasanlu, Iran
Megan Cifarelli

10. A relational perspective on ornaments in pre-Hispanic ritual deposits in the northern U.S. Southwest
Hannah V. Mattson

11. Assembling ornament and assembling identity
Julian Thomas

Additional Information


Product Tags

Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.