Landscape Archaeology: Reading and Interpreting the American Historic Landscape / Edition 1

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The essays collected in this volume represent exciting new directions in the study of America's landscapes. Written from a post-processualist viewpoint, these analyses go beyond directly observable phenomena to explain the particular significance that people have attached to the environments they create for themselves. As the editors note, "This volume includes many searching looks at the landscape, not just to understand ourselves, but to understand the context for other peoples' lives in other times, to unravel the landscapes they created and explain the meanings embedded in them." The book's overall approach is interpretive and interdisciplinary, drawing not simply on archaeological evidence but on oral history, written sources, ethnographic data, and human experience. The contributors examine a variety of questions and methods for recovering and interpreting past landscapes. How, for example, did an elite family in eighteenth-century New Jersey express its status and values through its manipulation of the landscape and how, indeed, do archaeologists derive that information from remains in the ground? What do the ruins left standing in a rural landscape say about attitudes toward time and family? How do the fields and yards of small farms reveal sociopolitical forces affecting the society at large?
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Editorial Reviews

Landscape archaeology is a relatively new subspecialty within historical archaeology. The 12 articles in this volume focus on the interpretation of historical landscapes using archaeological evidence, oral history, written sources, ethnographic data, and human experience. The essays in Part I study gardens which belonged to elite men and women, including those of American presidents. The essays in Part II look beyond the confines of single properties to reveal broader patterns in the historical landscape. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870499203
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.18 (w) x 10.42 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: Reading the Historical Landscape
Introduction: Close Attention to Place - Landscape Studies by Historical Archaeologists
1 Why Gardens? 3
2 Method in Landscape Archaeology: Research Strategies in a Historic New Jersey Garden 6
3 The Greenhouse Effect: Gender-Related Traditions in Eighteenth-Century Gardening 32
4 Giant in the Earth: George Washington, Landscape Designer 52
5 The Archaeology of Rachel's Garden 70
6 Father Rapp's Garden at Economy: Harmony Society Culture in Microcosm 91
7 Social Relations and the Cultural Landscape 121
8 "One of the Best Farms in Essex County": The Changing Domestic Landscape of a Tenant Who Became an Owner 147
9 Farmers and Gentlemen Farmers: The Nineteenth-Century Suburban Landscape 175
10 Charleston Townhouses: Archaeology, Architecture, and the Urban Landscape, 1750-1850 193
11 The Construction of Sanctity: Landscape and Ritual in a Religious Community 228
12 "The Transient Nature of All Things Sublunary": Romanticism, History, and Ruins in Nineteenth-Century Southern Maryland 249
Selected References 273
Contributors 279
Index 285
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