By S. J. Shennan
Examines the serious implications of cultural identification from numerous views. Questions the character and bounds of archaeological wisdom of the prior and the connection of fabric tradition to cultural identification.
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Additional resources for Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (One World Archaeology)
Traditional European archaeologists take a concern with cultures as self-evidently of importance, and use them as the basis of much routine archaeological activity. In doing so they have largely lost sight of the origins of the ‘culture’ concept in the romantic nationalism of the 19th century, and have taken their definition as a simple matter of inductive pattern recognition in the way discussed above. Indeed, as Veit (Ch. 1) points out (see also Shennan 1978) some of them have regarded the definition of such entities as one of the few legitimate goals which prehistoric archaeology can pursue, given the data at its disposal.
Smith (1986) has drawn attention: …nostalgia for one’s ethnic past has become more acute and widespread and persistent in the modern era, with the decline of tradition and salvation religions. In this sense, ethnic nationalism becomes a ‘surrogate’ religion which aims to overcome the sense of futility engendered by the removal of any vision of an existence after death, by linking individuals to persisting communities whose generations form indissoluble links in a chain of memories and identities.
Gellner 1987c). Personal identity is not so strongly implicated. In other words, if one follows through the implications of this line of argument, ethnicity as defined above, SPATIAL VARIATION, STYLE AND IDENTITY 17 and discussed by Bentley, Smith and others, does not exist outside the orbit of early states. Spatial variation, style and identity This still leaves the question of the nature and significance of the spatial variation which is apparent almost universally in the archaeological record.
Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (One World Archaeology) by S. J. Shennan