Social Archaeology : Jaya Menon | Department of History

Social Archaeology : Jaya Menon

Tangible material space used by people to live in are evocative of their everyday lives.  Houses such as these, excaed by archaeologists, give us a glimpse into those quotidian aspects. Archaeologists bring forth remnants, traces such as these walls, and artefacts within them represent debris of lives long gone. The slow uncovering by the archaeologist’s trowel, layer by layer, floor by floor, walls exposed brick by brick, bring forth artefacts that inform us about past activities. Houses, such as these, are empty now of women, men, and children who occupied them, decorated them, repaired them, rebuilt them, and finally abandoned them. Some houses give archaeologists a sense of how each room was used, some were cleaned so well in the past that nothing remains in them; some show an equal use of outside spaces as within the house; others show how they adjusted to their neighbours, while there are those that stand aloof and separate from the rest. 

I am interested in social archaeology and particularly in spaces, social and domestic ones that served as microcosms of past societies. I am curious about the households that occupied these spaces, and how archaeologists can recover a sense of these households, their members, and what they did in these spaces. I am also interested in technologies and particularly in crafts practised in domestic spaces.