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dc.contributor.advisorThomas, Timothy
dc.contributor.authorFindlater, Amy Margaret
dc.identifier.citationFindlater, A. M. (2011). Recontextualising Material Culture: an investigation of the minnow lure shanks from Kawatiri River Mouth and Wairau Bar, Southern New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Arts). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis research examines the problem of the concept of context for New Zealand archaeology and material culture studies. It is argued that it is not a lack of context associated with material culture but the perception of context that is problematic for archaeological interpretation. Although central to material culture studies, traditional archaeological perceptions of context have treated the concept as something to be mitigated against in archaeological practice. This has resulted in the underdevelopment of material culture studies and a focus on morphological, chronological and functional or utilitarian interpretations through the categorisation of material culture. A case study investigating the lives of minnow lure shanks is developed in line with international perceptions of the concept to show instead how material culture shifts through contexts. A laboratory study of minnow lure shanks from Wairau Bar and Kawatiri River Mouth is juxtaposed with ethnographic accounts, museum collections, exhibitions, artist inventions and mātauranga Māori which provide alternative sources of data and analogy. A life history approach is used to focus on the interconnectedness between social and technological processes in the past and present to show how lures have come to be through multiple biographies and transformations. The outcome was a recontextualisation of lures with implications for the future of all New Zealand material culture studies. I argue that the shift from pearl shell to stone in New Zealand prehistory and its later abandonment was a lot more complex than a simple raw material switch involving the use of existing and transported social and technological strategies. The methodology adopted uncovered the variation in lures, reflecting broad strategies, and compared processes, choices and intentions. Minnow lures are bodies, connected to bodies and found with bodies with natural and aesthetic properties connected to the ritual and mundane - tapu and noa. Lures are part of a living tradition as one point of interaction and attraction between people, ancestors, the land, sea and taonga. This study urges archaeologists to consider their roles as kaitiaki taonga and kaitiaki maumahara to ensure material culture remains an enduring centre of enquiry.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectfishing gear
dc.subjectmaterial culture
dc.subjectWairau Bar
dc.subjectKawatiri River Mouth
dc.subjectminnow lure shanks
dc.titleRecontextualising Material Culture: an investigation of the minnow lure shanks from Kawatiri River Mouth and Wairau Bar, Southern New Zealand
dc.typeThesis of Anthropology and Archaeology of Arts of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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