Identity and material culture in the later prehistory of Central Europe

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27 Scopus citations


Examination of the archaeological evidence for the expression of identity in later European prehistory provides a new and promising approach to understanding change in this period. New views of the role of material culture in the communication of meanings, of the nature of identity, and of agency in the past provide a useful framework for approaching the evidence. Analysis of patterns of sameness and difference in style and decoration of manufactured objects indicates how people used their material culture to structure and to communicate their identities-on the level of the individual, of groups such as families and residential communities, and of larger entities commonly referred to as ethnic groups. This approach offers insights that complement social and economic models of change in later prehistory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-298
Number of pages60
JournalJournal of Archaeological Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Much of the research for this paper was undertaken with the support of the National Science Foundation, Grant SBR-9506958; and a Graduate School Fellowship, a McKnight Summer Fellowship, travel grants from the McKnight Foundation and the Institute of International Studies and Programs, and the Department of Anthropology, all of the University of Minnesota. I thank all of these institutions for their support. The following individuals provided important information and bibliographic materials that helped me in the preparation of the paper: Bernard Bachrach, Minneapolis; Karl Bohm, Bogen; Ingrid Burger-Segl, Kelheim; W. Andrew Collins, Minneapolis; Ann and James Coone, Oberursel; Michael Dietler, Chicago; Bernd Engelhardt, Landshut; Otto-Herman Frey, Marburg; Ulla Lund Hansen, Copenhagen; Jurgen Hoika, Schleswig; Hans-Eckart Joachim, Bonn; Zbigniew Kobylinski, Warsaw; Jes Martens, Lund; Matthew Murray, Mankato; Misha Penn, Minneapolis; Johannes Prammer, Straubing; Michael M. Rind, Kelheim; Nico Roymans, Amsterdam; Susanne Sievers, Frankfurt; and Willem Willems, Amersfoort. For permission to reproduce figures I thank the Bayerisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege, Munich; Otto-Herman Frey, Marburg; Oxford University Press, Oxford; the Romisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archaologischen Insti-tuts, Frankfurt; the Romisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz; and Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart.


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