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Archaeology, conflict and contemporary identity in the north of Ireland. Implications for theory and practice in comparative archaeologies of colonialism

  • Audrey J. Horning

Abstract

Current trends in historical archaeology emphasize the centrality of capitalism and colonial discourse in examining commonalities in the archaeologies of fictive worlds such as the British Atlantic. Yet far from informing archaeological practice, overly simplistic incorporation of postcolonial and neo-Marxian approaches in comparative archaeologies can actually impede our ability to disentangle the complexities of the early modern colonial experience in a socially relevant fashion. While the disparate colonial settlements of the Atlantic share a recognizable material culture as physical testament to the overarching impact of European expansion, contemporary implications and memories of colonial entanglements vary wildly. A critical consideration of the role of overtly theoretical approaches in developing a nuanced archaeology of the early modern period in the north of Ireland, where the construction of present-day identities is firmly rooted in dichotomous understandings of the impact of British expansion in the 16th and 17th centuries, raises broader questions about our responsibilities in addressing conflict and in redressing the disjuncture between espousing and practising theoretically informed archaeology.

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Archaeology, conflict and contemporary identity in the north of Ireland. Implications for theory and practice in comparative archaeologies of colonialism

  • Audrey J. Horning

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