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The Encounter

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the association between material culture and the social category of ethnic identity. It deals with the history of the scholarly study of cultural identity and material culture. The chapter is intended as a concrete elucidation of the main theme of the book, cultural transfer, from a theoretical and empirical point of view, with special focus on pottery. The discussion of ethnicity and cultural identity has deep roots in archaeology. In medieval archaeology the transfer of style has been equated with innovation and trade. But the acceptance of a new tradition takes place in several other ways and on terms dictated by people in the place of origin and by the recipients. The association between identity, style, and cultural transfer is important for understanding how an abstract concept can be translated into artefacts distributed outside their area of origin.

Keywords: cultural identity; ethnicity; material culture; medieval archaeology; pottery



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