Archaeologies of Marginality | Mon Dec 16 13:30:00 | Room 784
The study of marginalized groups and individuals is gaining increased attention in archaeological research. Archaeologies of Marginality will address past inequalities by looking at social stratification and growing social complexity in deep history, with a focus on the multidimensional facets of social exclusion and their intersectional aspects. In this session, we discuss the development of appropriate theoretical and methodological frameworks to investigate marginality in the past to promote marginality studies in archaeology. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
● dynamics of resistance and the agency of the socially excluded;
● violence and coercive power;
● poverty and marginality in relation to socio-economic status; warfare and war crimes, migration, forced labor and slavery
● disease and disability
● gender, personhood, age and the life course; marginality and social exclusion in relation to motherhood, pregnancy and childhood neglect;
● marginality in times of collapse, crisis and environmental stress;
● marginal landscapes, peripheral regions and ethnic marginality;
● material culture and technology between deprivation and elite consumption;
● anomalous burial rites, funerary deviancy and marginal burial;
● bioarcheology, ancient DNA analysis and science-based approaches to past marginality;
● marginality and social exclusion today; marginality in academia, epistemology; accessibility, inclusivity and diversity;
● Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and the safeguarding of marginalized people's endangered cultural heritage.
13:30 | Session organisers
13:40 | Anna Bloxam, UCL
Accessing marginal practices, peoples, and identities in prehistory
This paper presents new evidence about the burial practices of the Beaker phenomenon and the implications of this for the study of marginal practices, peoples, and identities in prehistory.
14:00 | Floor Huisman, Cambridge Archaeological Unit
Souls of sedge in a marginal marsh? The role and place of ‘fen slodgers’ and the former East Anglian Fens within the wider landscape
Wetland landscapes, including bogs, marshes and fens, are generally categorised as marginal landscapes because they are unsuitable for agriculture. Often, the communities using or inhabiting these landscapes are equally side-lined. In the former East Anglian Fens for instance, historic sources describe a group of local Fenlanders who lived of hunting, fishing and gathering the Fens’ many wild resources. These ‘wild’ and uncivilised ‘fen slodgers’ were a marginalised group, clearly different from surrounding ‘civilised’ dryland folk. Yet these wetland people cared deeply for their wetland world and way of life, as reflected in their sabotage of distant landowners’ drainage efforts of the Fens’ ‘watery wastes’ in the 16th century.
14:20 | Richard Kendall, University of Edinburgh
Scholars can’t be Choosers; Homelessness in Pre-Christian Rome
As a position defined by a lack of architectural and material possessions, it is easy to dismiss the archaeological investigation of homelessness as an exercise in futility. Without textual testimony, it is difficult to definitively assert even their existence historically, let alone their experiences. Even in contemporary societies, the study of homeless individuals and culture is a relatively recent development, despite the almost universal presence of destitution in modern cities.
14:40 | Jake Weekes, Canterbury ARCHAEOLOGICAL Trust
The Empire of History
Prehistory never ended. From c. 50BCE in Britain, for example, elitists, and then a competitive middle class, dabbled with creole Gallo-Roman popular culture of material, ritual, and some inscription and statuary, and collaborated with the imposition of a Roman historical context, announced by biographies and portraits on coinage, and milestones along the new roads of a revised geography. Romans dragged barbarians on to the margins of Roman history, which narratives spawned the idea that prehistory had ended, the idea taken up by later British imperialists as the basis for a chronology that tacitly backed their own colonial mission. The end of Roman Britain was still seen by British historians as a decline and fall, a descent into the “dark ages”. A new documentary culture in the medieval period only recorded certain people and aspects of life in laws, taxes, wills and records of punishments, the history of the Establishment and its economy. Even printing and enlightenment left most lives largely ‘prehistoric’, unnoticeable except through the archaeology of their material residues. In these post-medieval empires slaves were named by history, and the census quantified and qualified the working classes, but only partially. The Empire of History still defines and rules as it lists and narrates, and holds sway over constructions of “the past”, yet still knows little of actual lives, which remain ‘prehistoric’ until recorded by accounts or licences, or when we transgress. The ideological hallmarks of historical society nevertheless hold sway: myths of shared destiny, obsession with biographies, idealised images of the powerful who made history.
15:00 | Canek Huerta Martinez, UNAM, Mexico
“Vecindario Tlailotlacan: An Archaeology from the edges”
The Barrio Oaxaqueño, named by Millon (1967), Fowller and Paddock (1975) and Rattray (1993), also known as Tlailotlacan (Spence, 1989), settled on the southern slope of Cerro Colorado Chico, between the 300CE and 650CE. It is located three kilometers west of the Calzada de los Muertos of Teotihuacan. According to the most recent studies it was an enclave of migrations (mainly from what is now known as the western states Oaxaca and Michoacán), which could have given the Teotihuacan urban center a unique dynamic and singular vitalization during the Classic Period (Ortega, 2014).
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15:50 | Rosamund E. Fitzmaurice (Rosie), UCL
Ethnohistory and “Slavery”: to what extent can we use ethnohistory to understand indigenous dependency in Precolumbian central Mexico?
Slavery is a term often associated with the US Antebellum South, the ancient Mediterranean, and with feudal serfdom, but is it an appropriate way to understand disenfranchised peoples of Precolumbian central Mexico? The majority of our knowledge, pertaining mostly to the years CE 900-1521, of indigenous “slavery” comes to us from Spanish accounts of ritual “slave-bathing”, “slave” markets, and gambling pastimes.
16:10 | Oscar Toro Bardeci, UCL
From bordering to marginalised. The process of incorporation of pehuenche groups to the chilean state in the 19th century
The Pehuenche are indigenous people of Andean South America who became incorporated into the Nation States of Chile and Argentina. Until the 19th century Pehuenche Territory was beyond the Spanish-indigenous border of the Biobío River. They practiced transhumance between the high valleys of the Andes and Pampas and became commercial intermediaries for goods and resources moving between indigenous and Spanish settlements. However, between 1862 and 1884 their home territory was invaded by the armies of recently independent nations of Chile and Argentina who wished to achieve a ´better economic exploitation´ of these territories. Pehuenches were re-allocated to ´reductions´ -piece of lands assigned by the Chilean state- and were also divided into ´indigenous communities´, causing their social and physical marginalisation.
16:30 | Lan CoCo Shi, UCL
Marginalised intangible culture in Wanjian Village
This paper investigates the marginalised heritage in Wanjian Village located in Anhui, China. Modernisation and migration has caused huge social changes in the village. Through the contact with cities, city lifestyle has influenced the village’s traditional cultural values.The Qing dynasty building used for ancestral worship for the Yang Family has gradually lost its daily role as a place to gather. Ethnography was carried out to study the relationship people have with local forms of cultural activities. The opera stage located in the ancestral building is becoming marginalised by local villagers and only used occasionally by outside performers. The community who inherit the traditional operatic skills are often the elderly, who are limited financially and see pursuing this form of art as a burden for their children. Without the support from the core members of the village community, the intangible heritage of local opera is facing the danger of disappearing completely.
16:50 | Session organisers
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