Browsing History and Archaeology by Subjects
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Being Mesolithic in life and deathFifty years ago approaches to Mesolithic identity were limited to ideas of man the hunter, woman the gatherer, and evidence of non-normative practice was ascribed to "shamans" and to "ritual", and that was that. As post-processual critiques have touched Mesolithic studies, however, this has changed. In the first decade of the 21st century a strong body of work on Mesolithic identity in life, as well as death, has enabled us to think beyond modern western categories to interpret identity in the Mesolithic. Our paper reviews these changing approaches, offering a series of case studies of such approaches, before developing these case studies to advocate an assemblage approach to identity in the Mesolithic.
‘A Spectacle for the Cameras’: The survival of a Lakeland leisure tradition, 1930- c.1955This article examines the survival of rushbearing, a rural leisure tradition in the English Lake District. As a region popular with tourists throughout the 20th century, this case study offers important insights into how their presence shaped this ‘traditional’ leisure activity. Not only did annual rushbearing ceremonies offer opportunities for the region’s sense of place to be presented to outsiders, they were also an important way for local communities to reaffirm their connection to the Lake District and its past. These occasions were, however, increasingly influenced by an awareness of external influences and outside judgements, as the region’s popularity as a tourist destination boomed from the inter-war years. Although youth culture was increasingly standardised at a national level during this period, at a local level, young countrymen and women played an integral role in rushbearing’s survival, which promoted an idealised version of ‘traditional’ country life. This annual community event is therefore a useful example through which to examine the interplay between rural leisure traditions, tourism, and the role of young people in the countryside during this period.