Material Culture

Mikkel Bille, Tim Flohr Sørensen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopedia chapterResearch


The term material culture became dominant in archaeology during the twentieth century, yet in two very different ways. In one version, material culture is a category of objects that allows scientists a glimpse of the past; in another, it is the active capacity of material remains of human production to constitute social worlds. Material culture is thus both an object of scrutiny in terms of composition, provenience, and production techniques, and a symbolic reflection of and practical constituent of social values. But the term is also problematic, as it implies that it is either a subcategory of culture, or that there are other aspects of human lives that are not in any way related to material surroundings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences
EditorsSandra L. López Varela
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9780470674611
ISBN (Electronic) 9781119188230
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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