Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 20, No 1 (2007)

The Role of Agency and Material Culture in Remembering and Forgetting: An Ethnoarchaeological Case Study from Central Spain

Kathryn J. Fewster
Issued Date: 29 Jul 2007


This paper considers how significance is given and denied to material remains from the past. It explores this issue by means of an ethnoarchaeological study conducted in and around the Castillian villages of Solosancho and Villaviciosa in the Amblés valley, Spain, between 1997 and 1999. It analyses the Iron Age and medieval symbolism used in a coat of arms produced in 1998, and argues that this object partially reflects a local narrative reasserting a sense of identity for Solosancho and its satellite village, Villaviciosa. This was done at a time when those two communities perceived themselves to be under social and economic threat. By concentrating on the performative, corporeal nature of the villagers’ interaction with their material culture in the present, the paper seeks to demonstrate how an ethnoarchaeological approach may help to illuminate the ways that memory and material culture may have been manipulated in the past, in the absence of large-scale, state-directed, structural intervention.

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DOI: 10.1558//jmea.2007.v20i1.89


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