In Search of the Hidden Irish: Historical Archaeology, Identity and "Irishness" in Nineteenth Century South Australia

Heather Burke, Susan Arthure, Cherrie De Leiuen, Janine McEgan, Alice Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Dominant historical models for conceptualizing the Irish in Australia emphasize their ordinariness, characterizing them as largely indistinguishable from their British counterparts except in religious terms. In contrast, archaeological analyses of architecture, land use, graves, and personal items from three colonial sites in South Australia demonstrate forms of “Irishness” that distinguished the Roman Catholic and Protestant Irish as a collective from the non-Irish around them, while at the same time indicating the existence of sectarian tensions within the Irish community. Moreover, material markers created different forms of identity depending on their relative degree of fluidity and the context in which interaction took place. Markers associated with the close interpersonal territory of the body, such as buttons and jewelry, signaled conformity to a new, common habitus of capitalism, while more stable and less mobile markers, such as architecture and headstones, signaled abiding forms of both individual and group difference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-823
Number of pages26
JournalHistorical Archaeology
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Irishness
  • sectarian tensions
  • architecture
  • headstones
  • identity
  • memorialization

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