Introduction to Small Finds, Big Implications: The Cultural Meaning of the Littlest Artifacts

International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Vol. 20 no. 4 (2016)
Eva MacDonald
International Journal of Historical Archaeology

Why do the smallest artifacts found during the excavation of a site elicit the most visceral response from those who find them and study them? Is it because they are portable items that can be tied to people, such as coins, smoking pipes, and children’s toys, or is it because often they are visually appealing? While the range of small finds discussed in this collection will be diverse, the contributors all share a passion for deriving cultural meaning from the context in which they were found. It will be proven that small finds can have big implications when an anthropological framework is employed during analysis.