See my Curriculum Vitae
for more publications.
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 individuals social and
economic worth as well as the familys 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.