Approaching the archaeology of value: a view from the modern world
journal contributionposted on 12.02.2021, 04:07 by Penelope Crook
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. SUMMARY: The abundance of goods in the modern world has a tendency to prejudice interpretation of their value, but the way people value their goods is complex, relative and changeable — scarcity is just one factor. There is a long history of value theorization across the social sciences, but archaeological considerations of value remain uncommon and focused on prestige goods. In this paper, I review alternative conceptions of value through the lens of the modern world, with an example of Spode creamware used by a governor in the early decades of colonial Sydney. I argue that the process of devaluation, through discard and waste, offers a unique archaeological understanding of the shifting values people of the modern world placed on commodities.