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The Archaeology of Household activities

by Penelope M. Allison
Encyclopedia of Archaeology ()
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As a medium for the investigation of past household behaviour, houses alone produce a prescriptive view. Documentary sources for domestic behaviour tend to provide specific perspectives and anecdotal evidence on relationships between household members. The Archaeology of Household Activities expands the parameters of this investigation, providing a fuller understanding of changing domestic behaviour through a critical analysis of the complete record of household material culture the house, its content and their spatial relationships. This edited collection brings together case-studies of the household material culture from later prehistoric periods, including pre-Roman Britain, Classic Mayan, Greek, Roman, colonial Australia and the Americas. Engaging with recent research in different branches of the archaeological discipline, the book explores the archaeology of households to develop a greater understanding of household structure. The essays take an artefact-based approach to both material and textual evidence for household activities, irrespective of geographical region, and explore household behaviour through the distribution of material culture. Theoretical issues concerning concepts of household constitution are also addressed and provide a less structured approach to issues of spatial, gender and status organization. The Archaeology of Household Activities provides a comprehensive and accessible study for undergraduates and postgraduates into the material record of past households, and is an essential source for a wider understanding of our own domestic development.

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