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

Hannah V. Mattson (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781789255959 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Publication: April 2021 | Language: English 224p, H240 x W170 (mm) B/w and colour
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken

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

I. Introduction: Exploring Identity Construction through Personal Ornaments by Hannah Mattson
II. Ornaments and Performance
a. Forging Identity: Social and Symbolic Significance of Torques in the Iron Age Castro Culture by Nadya Prociuk
b. The Materiality of Life and Death: Dress Ornaments and Shifting Identities at Hasanlu, Iran by Megan Cifarelli
c. Costume and Identity in Pacific Nicaragua by Geoffrey McCafferty and Sharisse McCafferty
d. Linking Beads, Linking People: A Social Network Approach to Exploring Identity in the Colonial Southeast by Elliot Blair
III. Ornaments and Memory
a. Garnets for the Vikings: Charismatic Jewelry and Family Memories in Early Viking Age Scandinavia by Zanette Glørstad
b. Beads, Ritual Practice, and Ontological Taxonomy: Ceremonial Deposition of Ornaments among the Ancestral Pueblo of the US Southwest by Hannah Mattson
c. Material Elaboration and Monumentality: Mortuary Beads, Pastoralists, and Social Innovation in Northwest Kenya by Carla Klehm
d. (title forthcoming—Nahua costuming, personal adornment, and the transmission of historical tradition) by Justyna Olko
IV. Ornaments and Biography
a. From Beads to Biographies: A Microwear Study of Late Precolonial Ornaments from the Dominican Republic by Catarina Guzzo Falci
b. Making Amber Beads: Technological Insights into a Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Craft Activity from the Netherlands by Annelou van Gijn and Matilda Sebire
c. (title forthcoming—trading networks associated with stone and glass beads from mortuary contexts, Cambodia) by Alison Carter
V. Conclusion: (title forthcoming) by Julian Thomas

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