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Material Culture - Objects Title


Material Culture Objects Annotated Bibliography


Fagan, Brian M. Archaeology: A Brief Introduction, 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 2003.
A standard introductory text. Note the discussion of the Ice Man, pp. 266-268.

Fagan, Brian M. ed. Eyewitness to Discovery: First-Person Accounts of More than Fifty of the World's Greatest Archaeological Discoveries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.
A well-selected anthology illustrating vividly the excitement of archaeological discovery and the significant changes in its methods and interpretations.
Gosden, Chris and Marshal, Yvonne. “The Cultural Biography of Objects” World Archaeology 31/2 (1999):169-178.
Develops an excellent example of the writing of such a biography.

Graves-Brown, Paul et al. Cultural Identity and Archaeology: The Construction of European Communities. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.
Several essays provide quite accessible discussions of problems of how often politicized interpretations color the interpretation of material culture evidence.

Hodder, Ian. The Archaeological Process: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
A stimulating although not always easy text by one of the advocates of newer interpretive methods in archaeology. The author has done innovative work in Africa, using anthropological observations to help interpret the function of objects of material culture. Also he is currently one of the main figures in the excavation of an important Neolithic settlement at Çatalhöyük in central Turkey (see website information below).

Pearson, Michael Parker.“ Tombs and Territories: Material Culture and Multiple Interpretation” in Hodder, Ian et al., eds. Interpreting Archaeology: Finding Meaning in the Past, 204-209. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
A very accessible reinterpretation of the famous 7th-century Sutton Hoo “Viking” ship burial in England. The origins of the objects found in the burial form an important part of the discussion, which, however, reminds us that we may never know enough to provide a single convincing interpretation of such evidence.

Preston, Beth.“The Function of Things: A Philosophic Perspective on Material Culture” in Graves-Brown, P.M., ed., Matter, Materiality and Modern Culture, 22-49. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.
This is a very helpful guide to conceptualizing the issue of what an object's function may be. The other essays in this collection provide a range of rather too specific perspectives and examples regarding the study of material culture.

Richards, Colin.“Knowing About the Past” in Hodder, Ian et al., eds. Interpreting Archaeology: Finding Meaning in the Past, 217-219. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
A concise summary emphasizing the importance of interpretation taking place simultaneously with archaeological excavation.

General Archaeology Websites

Archaeologica. Valuable for current news items on archaeological finds and for Web links to other sites.

Archaeology Magazine. Includes Web versions of recent articles, news items, and a very valuable set of links. Note especially the page for "Online Excavations," which has links to some interesting interactive sites.

Archaeology on the Net. Extensive set of links organized by cultures, periods, regions, etc.

ArchNet (WWWVirtual Library—Archaeology). A wide range of links, the ones to regions of theworld accessible via an interactive map. Other categories include subjects andmuseums.

Dig: The Archaeology Magazine for Kids. Fun and games for the younger grades.

Ice Man

Cullen, Bob.“Testimony from the Iceman.” Smithsonian (Feb., 2003): 42-50.
A nicely illustrated overview of his history, including information on the latest we know about how he died.

Dickson, James Holms. “Plants and the Iceman: Otzi's Last Journey”.
Analysis of plant remains (not including the contents of the ice man's intestines).

Fowler, Brenda. “The Iceman's Last Meal,” Nova Online.
This is part of the larger “Ice Mummies” Nova site, with much other material on the frozen Inca mummies found in Peru. The site has a helpful set of pages called “Reading the Remains,” focusing on one South American burial and the kinds of questions one might try to answer.

Fowler, Brenda. Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
A well-informed popularization, which shows clearly the important role played by highly sophisticated scientific analysis and how interpretations may evolve substantially with the analysis of new data. A major part of this story is the distressing saga of mistakes made during the excavation of the body and how academic and international politics interfered with the study of the results.

Roberts, David. “The Ice Man: Lone Voyager from the Copper Age.” National Geographic (June 1993): 36-67.
Illustrated with the usual NG elegance, the article provides a good overview of the discovery and the initial analysis and places it all in the broader context of the European copper age.

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Bolzano, Italy).
Nicely illustrated Web pages with pictures and drawings and brief descriptive text.

Byzantine Coins and Their Imitations

Alram, Michael. “Coins and the Silk Road” in Juliano, Annette L. and Lerner, Judith A., eds. Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China, Gansu and Ningxia, 4th-7th Century, 270-89. New York: Abrams and the Asia Society, 2001. A sampling of the material from this exhibit is also to be found on the Asia Society's website.

“Byzantine solidus and its Islamic Imitation” Byzantine, 610-13 CE, from Carthage, Imitation: struck before AH 85 / 704 CE, Department of Coins and Medals, The British Museum

“Gold dinar with a Standing Caliph” Umayyad dynasty, AH 76 / 695-6 CE, Probably from Syria, Department of Coins and Medals, The British Museum

“Gold Dinar of caliph Abd al-Malik” Umayyad dynasty, AH 77 / 696-7 CE, Probably from Syria, Department of Coins and Medals, The British Museum

“Gold Imitation of a Byzantine Coin Found in China” From the Astana cemetery, near Turfan, northwest China, 6th century CE. Department of Coins and Medals, The British Museum

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