Personal adornment and the construction of identity : a global archaeological perspective by Hannah V. Mattson (Editor)
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.