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Mixing Enamel & PMC3 by Mary Ellin D'Agostino.  Studio PMC, Volume 6 Number 4, Winter 2003.

Privy Business by Mary Ellin D'Agostino.  Archaeology, Volume 53 Number 4, July/August 2000.  http://www.archaeology.org/0007/abstracts/chamberpots.aspxl


Household Stuffe: Material Culture and Identity in the Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Colonial World by Mary Ellin D'Agostino.  Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.  Professors Margaret W. Conkey and James F. Deetz, Co-chairs. 1998.

 This study examines the primary importance of personal and cultural identities and social roles in household and family life by approaching seventeenth-century household (probate) inventories as archaeological catalogs replete with contextual and provenience information.  Fondly regarded and mined for valuable insights into many aspects of history and culture, probate inventories were frequently taken at the death of a head of household.  That these lists were part of the ritual process surrounding death, constituting a final accounting of an individual’s social and economic worth as well as the family’s position in the community, are less commonly appreciated.  Literally, the inventorying process was part of the social production and reproduction of community, household, and family.  As lists, inventories are similar to archaeological databases, which include information on the provenience, names, and descriptions of artifacts, as recorded by members of the communities under study.  Combined with a comparative approach, these characteristics make the inventories a powerful source for an anthropological and archaeological study of culture and society.

This research uses a variety of statistical techniques in conjunction with an anthropological approach to examine 391 household inventories from Plymouth Colony in New England, Maryland in the Chesapeake, and the Atlantic Island colony of Bermuda (1670-1679).  The lists are employed to re-examine the categories that scholars have often used to study seventeenth-century material life.  Revised categories are then applied to a spatial analysis of the data, which takes the lists’ sequence as provenience and uses all of the available documents.   Prior to this, only inventories taken on a room-by-room basis were considered to have enough information for spatial analyses.   The results highlight some of the fundamental organizing principles of seventeenth-century Anglo-colonial social relations.   Economic, social, and demographic factors intrinsic to the colonial process and the exposure to Native Americans cultural practices posed serious threats to the colonists’ identities as English men and women.   The data reveal some of the ways the people in each colony used cultural conceptions of proper patterns of gendered work and social interaction to order their material world and actively shape colonial realities to conform to English cultural ideals.

UMI order # 9922796: Go to http://www.umi.com and select Dissertation Services, or contact me directly for a copy.