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Managing madness in early nineteenth-century asylums

An archaeology of lunacy examines the historic lunatic asylum from an interdisciplinary perspective, employing methods drawn from archaeology, social geography, and history to create a holistic view of the built heritage of the asylum as a distinctive building type. In the popular imagination, historic lunatic asylums were dark, monolithic, and homogenous, instruments for social confinement and punishment. This book aims to redress this historical reputation, showing how the built environment and material worlds of lunatic asylums were distinctive and idiosyncratic – and highly regional. They were also progressive spaces and proving grounds of architectural experimentation, where the reformed treatment practices known as moral management were trialled and refined. The standing remains of the nineteenth-century lunatic asylum system represent a unique opportunity to study a building-type in active transition, both materially and ideologically. When they were constructed, asylums were a composite of reform ideals, architectural materials, and innovative design approaches. An archaeological study of these institutions can offer a materially focused examination of how the buildings worked on a daily basis. This study combines critical analysis of the architecture, material remains, and historical documentary sources for lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. Students and scholars of later historical archaeology and built heritage will find the book a useful overview of this institutional site type, while historians of medicine will find the focus on interior design and architecture of use. The general public, for whom asylums frequently represent shadowy ruins or anonymous redevelopments, may be interested in learning more about the buildings.

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accumulation of collections, as well as in the exchange of ideas and people. European, American and colonial museums set up a quite extraordinary international traffic in natural historical, archaeological and anthropological ‘specimens’. 25 Geological, mineralogical, zoological and entomological collections were exchanged between Europe and the colonies, among European museums, and from colony to colony

in Museums and empire
W. G. Sebald’s Corsica

linear evolutionary scheme; rather, the Corsica pieces remain unfinished business, teasing texts for Sebald then, for us now. And then, of course, there are the actual thematic correspondences themselves. Both of these undertakings take as their focus distinctive features of French society of the recent past as read through the double optic of contemporary commentary and present-day interest. Both are panoramic historical-archaeological projects preoccupied with the ruinous residues of the nineteenth century and, in particular, the ‘dreamworld’ of empire (the First for

in A literature of restitution
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The innovative and original contribution made by the tower house to the fields of archaeology and history is assessed. A new methodology is elucidated that combines historical, archaeological, architectural and geographical sources. The introduction likewise locates the book within its wider historiographical context.

in The Irish tower house
An archaeological perspective on the use of recipe books

post-medieval period, usually taken as being c .1450 onwards, has emerged as a specific field its own right. In the UK the discipline is sometimes termed post-medieval archaeology. An alternative term, ‘historical archaeology’, is, however, increasingly preferred, as it can be linked more seamlessly with the parallel growth of post-colonial archaeological work, especially in

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
Mass graves in post-war Malaysia

investigation involving mass graves has led to the adoption of specific protocols, much of which has been established through experience by organizations such as the Physicians for Human Rights. In 1991, the United Nations introduced an examination protocol in its ‘Manual on effective prevention and investigation of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions’. See N. Collins, ‘Giving a voice to the dead’, Human Rights, 22:1 (1995), p. 48; and W. Haglund, M. Connor & D. Scott, ‘The archaeology of contemporary mass graves’, Historical Archaeology, 35:1 (2001), 57

in Human remains and identification
English county historical societies since the nineteenth century

identified over a thousand historical, archaeological and kindred societies in the United Kingdom.2 This figure does not include the 67 national societies and 54 societies covering more than one county also identified in the same survey. This was an increase in numbers from a previous survey, conducted by S. E. Harcup in 1965, that had listed around 800 such societies for the British Isles.3 The majority of those listed were local societies, specific to a town, county or region. Allowing for problems of comparability and definition, the impression is of an active and

in People, places and identities
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. Susan Piddock’s book on lunatic asylums in Australia and Britain firmly roots ‘institutional archaeology’ as an emerging field in historical archaeology, deriving from socially-focused feminist approaches to archaeology and material culture ( 2007 : 8). Seeking to contribute to this emerging field of institutional archaeology, this study draws on Piddock’s effective application of archaeological principles, methods, and theory to the study of asylum buildings, in which she establishes a clear method for the critical and comparative use of documentary evidence and

in An archaeology of lunacy

and Their Slaves – A Study in Historical Archaeology , Cambridge University Press. 35 Kelso, W. M. 1984 Kingsmill Plantations, 1619–2800: Archaeology of Country Life in Colonial Virginia , Academic Press; idem 1986 ‘Mulberry Row: Slave Life at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

in Colonial frontiers
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the state and the asylum. The conclusions reached through this analysis of the built environment and material management of asylums contribute to the scholarship on the historical archaeology of institutions and lunatic asylum archaeology by assessing the practical application of the rhetoric of reform and considering the roles of staff members who fall outside official narratives and more traditional histories of medicine. The early nineteenth-century asylum is presented here as a dynamic archaeological space whose material environment

in An archaeology of lunacy