Imatge de l'autor
11 obres 1,421 Membres 12 Ressenyes 2 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Obres de James Deetz


Coneixement comú

Data de naixement
Data de defunció



"If we could find in some way find a way to understand the significance of artifacts as they were thought of and used by Americans in the past, we might gain new insight into the history of our nation." Such is the purview of the historical archaeologist. In this small book, James Deetz, gives us a short, very readable and intriguing overview of some of the interesting work done by historical archaeologists, including himself, in New England (he does occasionally reference work done in Virginia and other early colonies). He begins by noting that there are certain factors that favor the survival of some objects and not others, and those surviving objects are 'not necessarily representative of their period.' So, as not to rely solely on museum collections, historical archaeologists do digs.

Deitz shows us how such objects found reveal how people lived and thought in early times. He discusses three early periods in our cultural history and his chapters explore such topics as gravestones, buildings, ceramics, but also the changes in tools, food preparation, the disposal of refuse, furniture (lack of chairs!) and music. Intriguingly, He also discusses a dig of the once small community of African Americans near Plymouth, Massachusetts, called “Parting Ways” which show ties back to African roots. There are so many interesting bits in this book.

At the end of the book Deitz implores us NOT to forget the little, seemingly insignificant things "for in the seemingly little and insignificant existence is captured. We must remember these bits and pieces, and we must use them in new and imaginative ways so that a different appreciation for what life is today, and was in the past, can be achieved. The written document has its proper and important place, but there is also a time when we should set aside of perusal of diaries, court records, and inventories, and listen to another voice… "Don’t read what we have written; look at what we have done."

The reader will probably not look at his or her fork quite the same again.
… (més)
avaland | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Jan 22, 2021 |
A mildly interesting book - unusually for me, I found the details rather dull but his sweeping conclusions quite interesting. I suspect it was the author's PhD dissertation - that style. It's about historical archaeology, specifically in the area of the East Coast of the US, mostly New England; there's a lot about how what can be determined with historical (written) evidence can bolster or contradict physical (dug-up) evidence, and how awareness of those contradictions can be useful in pre-historic archaeology as well. Specifically, most of the book was a sketch of how American culture changed from the 17th to the 19th century, as evidenced by...dishes, houses, gravestones, music... various evidence. Then it ended with a dig of a small African-American settlement, which looked (from surviving pictures, and historical evidence) very like all the other settlements of the time - but the dig came up with some serious differences (size and style of houses, locations of hearths, food waste - bones and the like). His sweeping conclusion was something along the lines of "just because you're within an area of a culture, don't assume that everything there reflects that one culture". Hmmm - I don't know if I read the revised edition or the original - probably the original, I didn't see anything about revision. I'm glad I read it, but I don't intend to reread.… (més)
1 vota
jjmcgaffey | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Sep 30, 2019 |
I attempted to read this revision too soon after reading the much shorter first edition. This is too much 'same but different' for me. I do say, be aware, this is almost revised & expanded enough to be a whole different book. The first was focused on New England, this includes more of Virginia and the Chesapeake. This also has more of the African and African-American experience.
Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Jun 5, 2016 |

Potser també t'agrada

Autors associats



Gràfics i taules