Images of the Recent Past

Article excerpt

Images of the Recent Past. Edited by CHARLES E. ORSER, JR. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 1996. 477 pp., figures, tables, references, notes. $49.00 (cloth, ISBN 07619-9141-7), $24.95 (paper, ISBN 0-7619-9142-5).

Images of the Recent Past is a collection of 20 previously published articles, divided topically into six sections, and touching on diverse aspects of historical archaeology. Together they reflect Orser's philosophy of historical archaeology as the study of the modern world Many of the volume's contributors are recognized as leaders in the field.

Orser's introduction explains the importance of studying the recent past He underscores the role played by historical archaeology in presenting the voices of those for whom the document,aly record is silent Studies of such historically disenfranchised groups comprise an important part of the volume, along with articles on the methods and theories used to reveal their lives.

Part I (Recent Perspectives) includes articles by Kathleen Deagan and Barbara A. Little, who review the field and provide a context for the more topically focused contributions that follow.

Part II (People and Places) contains five papers. David Hurst Thomas reviews 15 years of archaeology at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale; Michael Parrington, Helen Schenck, and Jacqueline Thibaut discuss the material lives of individual soldiers stationed at Valley Forge during the Revolution; Theresa A. Singleton reviews the archaeology of slave life; Edward Staski discusses the Overseas Chinese in El Paso, Texas; and Donna J. Seifert considers prostitutes in Washington, D.C.

Part III (Historic Artifacts: A Focus on Ceramics) presents material culture studies by Sarah Peabody Tumbaugh, on lead-glazed redwares; Susan L. Henry, on consumer behavior in Phoenix; Leland Ferguson, on Colono ware pots in South Carolina; and Mary C. Beaudry, Lauren J. …