Molded Malevolence: Instrumental Symbolism Rendered in Clay

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This article examines an example of the material culture of folk religion beliefs and practices in nineteenth century Virginia. Such archaeological interpretations of past meaning systems should be based on the closest fit possible with available evidence of the attributes of such material culture and the context in which it was most likely created and used. Applying such an interpretative framework, this article analyzes an example of instrumental symbolism uncovered at a northern Virginia archaeology site. This material culture is initially evocative of an interpretation that it was created in accordance with particular African-American beliefs and practices, but is most persuasively interpreted as a past expression of German-American folk religion beliefs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-273
Number of pages4
JournalCeramics in America
StatePublished - 2003


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