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The dynamic processes of knowledge production in archaeology and elsewhere in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly viewed within the context of negotiation, cooperation and exchange, as the collaborative effort of groups, clusters and communities of scholars. Shifting focus from the individual scholar to the wider social contexts of her work, this volume investigates the importance of informal networks and conversation in the creation of knowledge about the past, and takes a closer look at the dynamic interaction and exchange that takes place between individuals, groups and clusters of scholars in the wider social settings of scientific work. Various aspects of and mechanisms at work behind the interaction and exchange that takes place between the individual scholar and her community, and the creative processes that such encounters trigger, are critically examined in eleven chapters which draw on a wide spectrum of examples from Europe and North America: from early modern antiquarians to archaeological societies and practitioners at work during the formative years of the modern archaeological disciplines and more recent examples from the twentieth century. The individual chapters engage with theoretical approaches to scientific creativity, knowledge production and interaction such as sociology and geographies of science, and actor-network theory (ANT) in their examination of individual–collective interplay. The book caters to readers both from within and outside the archaeological disciplines; primarily intended for researchers, teachers and students in archaeology, anthropology, classics and the history of science, it will also be of interest to the general reader.

Society, economy and environment, c. 1300–1650

Tower houses are the ubiquitous building of pre-modern Ireland. A type of castle, the tower house was constructed c.1350–1650, and extant examples number in the thousands. This book examines the social role of the tower house in late medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to uncover the lived experience of a wide range of people. This enables exploration of the castle’s context, including how it was used as a social tool and in environmental exploitation for economic gain. By challenging traditional interpretations of the Middle Ages we find new evidence for the agency of previously overlooked individuals, and thus a new insight into the transition from medieval to modern. Each chapter in the book builds on the one preceding, to echo the movement of trade good from environmental exploitation to entry into global economic networks, keeping focus on the role of the tower house in facilitating each step. By progressively broadening the scope, the conclusion is reached that the tower house can be used as a medium for analysing the impact of global trends at the local level. It accomplishes this lofty goal by combining archival evidence with archaeological fieldwork and on-site survey to present a fresh perspective on one of the best-known manifestations of Irish archaeology.

Art, process, archaeology

This book presents a study of material images and asks how an appreciation of the making and unfolding of images and art alters archaeological accounts of prehistoric and historic societies. With contributions focusing on case studies including prehistoric Britain, Scandinavia, Iberia, the Americas and Dynastic Egypt, and including contemporary reflections on material images, it makes a novel contribution to ongoing debates relating to archaeological art and images. The book offers a New Materialist analysis of archaeological imagery, with an emphasis on considering the material character of images and their making and unfolding. The book reassesses the predominantly representational paradigm of archaeological image analysis and argues for the importance of considering the ontology of images. It considers images as processes or events and introduces the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. The book is divided into three sections: ‘Emergent images’, which focuses on practices of making; ‘Images as process’, which examines the making and role of images in prehistoric societies; and ‘Unfolding images’, which focuses on how images change as they are made and circulated. The book features contributions from archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists and artists. The contributors to the book highlight the multiple role of images in prehistoric and historic societies, demonstrating that archaeologists need to recognise the dynamic and changeable character of images.

Tim Ingold

of lead and tin. Once cooled, the plaster cast could be broken open to reveal the animal, exquisitely formed in metal, with every detailed faithfully preserved. The historian Pamela Smith, whose investigations of early modern methods of life casting have extended to their experimental replication, argues that craftsmen aimed to do more than satisfy the tastes of their wealthy patrons. For they saw their practice, in itself, as a kind of nature study – a way of understanding the processes thought to be at work in the spontaneous generation of life-forms through

in Images in the making
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Victoria L. McAlister

Medieval Ireland is increasingly viewed within its wider social context, including its experiences framed as a pan-European phenomenon, or even in the context of a globalised Middle Ages. This book seeks to push such developments even further, to argue that tower houses are a remarkably effective means of understanding the socio-economic actions of the majority of people within late medieval Ireland. In part, this is due to who built tower houses – a type of castle dating from the later Middle Ages and opening decades of the early modern

in The Irish tower house
Lifeblood of the tower house
Victoria L. McAlister

being grown in the vicinity. Surprisingly perhaps, such mills are recorded in fertile regions across the country, not solely within the bounds of the Pale. A mill was one of the key components of a manor; therefore, this chapter evaluates to what extent a manorial economy survived into late medieval and even early modern Ireland. The continued use of a mill is strongly suggestive of at least a partially grain-based economy. Mills likewise provided a neat linking point between land and water, and water will be the focus of the following chapters

in The Irish tower house
The tower house complex and rural settlement
Victoria L. McAlister

the archaeological record. The contemporary historical and cartographical record for Ireland is similarly lacking in precise details. In terms of documentary evidence, aside from a few notable writers, such as Luke Gernon, Richard Stanihurst and the Gaelic bardic poets, the appearance of castles and the impression they made on those who saw them are little discussed (Barry, 2006 ). As a useful visual source concerning dependent settlement at castles, however, we have early modern campaign maps from English military actions in Ireland, the best known and most useful

in The Irish tower house
Abstract only
Katherine Fennelly

the early modern period and was not suitable for large numbers of fee-paying patients of the noble class, let alone a king. By no means the only dedicated lunatic asylum in the city of London, Bethlem was distinctive. It is distinguishable from other asylums built before 1800 for both its antiquity and its dedication to the lower classes. Bethlem was a public asylum serving the needs of the city of London, with medieval monastic origins and a historical reputation for the charitable reception of the insane – though better accommodation was

in An archaeology of lunacy
Victoria L. McAlister

other parts of Europe. The impact of political change on trade, and by extension on the tower houses, in the early modern period (up until the cessation of tower house construction in the mid-seventeenth century) is more contentious. Some scholars have argued that trade expanded thanks to the imposition of a central government. A centralised economic and political system meant that merchants no longer had to negotiate individually with local lords and port towns, so the costs of trade were suddenly reduced (Gillespie, 1991 ). It may have

in The Irish tower house
Abstract only
Technique and the lives of objects in the collection
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

of environmental processes according to size, classification and mode of preservation. The remainder of this chapter is devoted to these storage techniques, and to tools and staff involved in exhibiting the select few items deemed suitable for display. The gallery space in the Museum barely doubled over the Museum’s history. The collections, however, grew eightfold between 1890 and 1990. Almost all the Museum’s specimens, it follows, were out of sight. In the early modern cabinet of curiosities, everything had been on display; in the Victorian ‘new museum’ there

in Nature and culture