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Conversations and material memories : insights into household practices at the Old Kinchega Homestead

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2014, 14:59 by Penelope M. Allison
Since 1996, the Kinchega Archaeological Research Project (KARP) has been conducting a household archaeology project at the late-19th- to mid-20th-century Old Kinchega Homestead in outback New South Wales, Australia. The research is driven by investigations of the homestead’s material remains, but interactions with the local community are providing oral and documentary evidence that play a significant role, both as a contextual framework and in steering the project’s research agenda. This article discusses how different people, and different types of interactions and processes involved in gathering personal histories throughout the project, are impacting the interpretative procedures used for investigating household consumption practices at Old Kinchega Homestead.



Historical Archaeology (special edition), 2014, 48 (1), pp. 87-104

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF ARTS, HUMANITIES AND LAW/School of Archaeology and Ancient History


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Historical Archaeology (special edition)


The Society for Historical Archaeology



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Reviewer's comments This is a very detailed and thorough article, based on meticulous research, and which makes an excellent contribution to the volume. The methodology and indeed the provenance of the project are well set out (possibly even with more detail than is needed, but that is no bad thing), and we are given a strong sense of the project itself, and not just the resulting article. I like the idea of oral history being a series of 'encounters' as opposed to 'interviews' and this shows the reader that oral history and tradition collection is a broad church in terms of modus operandi. It is clear that in this case, oral testimony has largely been used to add extra contextual detail to the archaeological record, especially names and dates of occupancies. In that respect it is complementary to the main research process, rather than being some kind of balanced partnership of investigation between the disciplines. This does mean we are not given a great deal of detail from the voices of the informants themselves, and we do not get the extra 'colour' that this can bring. In some ways this is a shame, but on the other hand it is clearly not that kind of testimony-centred approach that is being followed here, and it never pretends to be. Overall, it is a very strong article and I have no suggestions for changes.


Webster, J.



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