Historical Archaeology

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 105–116 | Cite as

Consumption as communication in nineteenth-century Paradise Valley, Nevada

  • Margaret Purser


Historical archaeologists have studied consumption practices to identify social categories like class or ethnicity, and processes like emerging capitalism and industrialism. This paper examines the material culture of 19th-century Paradise Valley, Nevada, in terms of consumption as a process of communication. This model allows the integration of a broad range of material culture categories, from the bottles and tin cans of consumer goods to agricultural machinery, household appliances, and residential and commercial architecture. It also describes connections between local and national scale changes in the material culture and avoids a more limited causality focused on either measures of the penetration of capitalist social and economic organization, or the resistance of local forms and norms to national trends.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Purser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySonoma State UniversityRohnert ParkUSA

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