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45 3 • Archaeology and Everyday Life As seen in the social theoretical literature, there is no self-identified subfield of archaeology called “everyday life archaeology,” yet there are a number of subfields that have long explored aspects of past everyday lives. This chapter discusses and relates four of these: household archaeology , feminist archaeology, spatial archaeology, and historical archaeology. Brought into dialogue, these approaches illustrate how powerful the material and spatial dimensions of the archaeological record are for furthering critical discussions of everyday life. Household archaeology has shown how past peoples organized and made meaningful their domestic spaces. By focusing on the complexity of day-to-day life within the domestic domain and the diverse nature of its inhabitants, household studies have been important in demonstrating how people, their practices, and differences play a crucial role in the organization of past societies (e.g., Allison 1999; Hendon 2004, 2010; Hutson 2010; King 2006; Robb 2007; Robin 2003, 2004). Feminist and gender studies further illustrate the need to incorporate the lives of all social groups into archaeological analysis—not only gender but also class, ethnicity, age groups, and so on (e.g., Brumfiel 1992; Gilchrist 1999; R. Joyce 2000, 2004; Meskell 1999, 2002; Meskell and Joyce 2003; Pyburn 2004; Robin and Brumfiel 2008). Space, place, and landscape research extends these agendas by showing how all living spaces are meaningfully constructed and experienced by people during their daily lives (e.g., Ashmore 2002, 2004; Ashmore and Knapp 1999; David and Thomas 2008a; Johnson 2007; A. Joyce 2004, 2010; Robin and Rothschild 2002; A. Smith 2003; Tilley 1994, 2010). 46 · Everyday Life Matters: Maya Farmers at Chan Historical archaeology has been particularly attuned to furthering studies of the material remains of everyday life, which are often neglected in the documentary record (e.g., Cantwell and Wall 2001; Hall and Silliman 2006; Hauser 2008; Hicks and Beaudry 2006; Johnson 1996; Meskell 2002; Wilkie 2000, 2003). Deetz (1977: 4) defined historical archaeology as being concerned with the “small things forgotten.” The material remains of daily life identifiable in the archaeological record provide a means to both complement and challenge the macro-narratives of powerful people that tend to consume documentary sources. The colonial encounter, in particular, brought taken-for-granted assumptions about how life worked to the foreground for both indigenous peoples and colonizers (an example of what Bourdieu would refer to as a rupture of doxa). Thus, for archaeologists of the colonial period, studies of everyday life are particularly fruitful ways to learn about the struggles and strife of colonial encounters (e.g., Hauser 2008; Lightfoot 2005; Oland 2009, 2012; Voss 2008a). As Silliman (2004: xviii) discusses in relation to the hundreds if not a few thousand Native Americans who worked at Rancho Petaluma between 1834 and 1857, “‘Practice’ may involve the mundane and seemingly innocuous events of everyday life. . . . Sometimes daily practices implicated politics of resistance and subversion; at other times it demarcated individuals’ attempts to live in and through the colonial rancho world and both to uphold and to make tradition.” As seen in the Rancho Petaluma case, and discussed in chapter 2, in relation to the social theoretical literature: everyday life simultaneously enables socialization into existing social orders and creates new visions of society. The “new traditions” (Pauketat 2001) that emerge in the colonial period are not simply the result of accepting one or the other of two worldviews presented by two societies in conflict, as in a structuralist model; they involve the making of new traditions by people across their everyday lives within conflicted colonial worlds. They also relate as much to the longterm histories of indigenous lives as to new colonial situations linking the academically defined domains of historic and prehistoric archaeology (Lightfoot 1995; Oland 2009; Oland et al. 2012; Stahl 2001). I see that prehistoric and historic archaeologists have more in common , because of their mutual focus on the material remains of the past, than they differ because of the presence or absence of written documents. Historic and prehistoric archaeology also can be difficult concepts to operationalize in particular temporal contexts, such as colonialism, as the Archaeology and Everyday Life · 47 aforementioned authors note. Another case in which historic and prehistoric archaeology are difficult to operationalize is Maya archaeology, long considered a prehistoric study, but for which recent advances in hieroglyphic decipherment have now illuminated a corpus of elite writing. In this chapter, rather than address the research of historic and prehistoric archaeologists separately, I explore their unique and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813048567
Related ISBN
9780813044996
MARC Record
OCLC
867742191
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2013-12-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
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