By S. J. Shennan
Examines the severe implications of cultural id from quite a few views. Questions the character and boundaries of archaeological wisdom of the prior and the connection of fabric tradition to cultural id.
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Extra resources for Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (One World Archaeology)
2); the interpretation of the 17th century New England cemetery is played one way or the other, in relation to the current interests of the Native American group who see it as part of their heritage (Nassaney, Ch. 4). In short, one’s position affects how one sees the world: What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms and anthropomorphisms—in short a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are….
Emblemic style is (Wiessner 1983, p. 257): formal variation in material culture that has a distinct referent and transmits a clear message to a defined target population about conscious affiliation or identity…. Most frequently its referent will be a social group…, and thus it will be used to express objective social attributes of identity. Because it has a distinct referent, emblemic style carries information about the existence of groups and boundaries and not about degree of interaction across or between them.
The political significance of archaeological ‘cultures’: it is precisely because of their political rôle through their identification with ethnic groups that ‘cultures’ have played such an important part in archaeological interpretation. This was the reason for their introduction to the discipline in the 19th century, and it is why they have again become important in recent years after a period during which their significance declined. In other words, it is only rarely, and then usually only on a local scale, a question of objective groupings of material being discovered by the archaeologist which are then available for use in political arguments (for example, Ucko 1983a, b).
Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (One World Archaeology) by S. J. Shennan