Materiality, 'ambiguity' and the unfamiliar in the archaeology of inter-societal confrontations: A case study from northwest Australia

Harrison, Rodney (2007). Materiality, 'ambiguity' and the unfamiliar in the archaeology of inter-societal confrontations: A case study from northwest Australia. In: Cornell, Per and Fahlander, Fredrik eds. Encounters|Materialities|Confrontations: Archaeologies of Social Space and Interaction. UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, pp. 42–57.

URL: http://www.c-s-p.org/Flyers/Encounters---Materiali...

Abstract

While many culture contact studies in archaeology have been framed by acculturation theory, which calls for the delineation of distinct material culture forms and correlations, this paper argues instead that the texture of agency and the contact experience can be better understood through a study of particular, ‘unfamiliar’ or ‘idiosyncratic’ artefacts and events which may better frame the ambiguity of both short and long term culture contacts in settler societies. This idea is developed with reference to a case study in contact archaeology from Old Lamboo in the southeast Kimberley region of northwest Australia, where Aboriginal labourers and white pastoral managers and their families experienced prolonged culture contacts throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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