History and Material Culture: A Student's Guide to Approaching



By Sam Franklin

For many years, historians have relied on texts to teach, research and learn various aspects of culture. Text literature has its limiting factors because some of it gets destroyed while others get altered to fit a certain research need. Students can no longer purely rely on these texts but they have to combine other sources during research. 
This book is written by Karen Harvey and she explores the alternatives for text sources and looks deeply into material sources available globally across several centuries. A student who studies this book can have a wholesome look at history based on both text and material sources. 

Material culture and historical narratives
In their study about History and Material Culture, historians rely heavily on stories narrated by people who were present at the time historical events were happening. They record stories from older people and stories that are already written. These two sources have helped shape today’s world and cultures in a big way. 
Experts of history also agree that texts and stories from people may not offer conclusive observations about history. Artifacts can help experts to dig deeper into the ways history was shaped through art and the features that are still prominent in today’s art. 
Materials such as ceramics and porcelain have been passed down from one generation to the next and each generation improves on the artifacts. Some historians have discovered the role ceramics played in early industrial revolutions.
Studying ornaments
Historically, cultures used ornaments for various purposes. There were ornaments worn during initiation ceremonies, and there were specific ornaments for weddings. In some cultures, married women had their unique distinguishing ornaments, and the same case applied to young girls, warriors, kings, queens, eunuchs, etc. 
Ornaments served diverse social, political, and religious practices and beliefs. Their history was carefully passed down from one generation to the next until the beginning of the 20th century, when modernism and mass immigration affected the very roots of cultures and traditions. It was not until recently when historians began researching ornaments and their effects on morality, dance, intelligence, and other forms of traditions. 
Where to find more information about Cultural Identity 
There are many sources you can use to research cultural identity. Information sources available in the college library and website can be very helpful in education, but you can find more intriguing information by reading research papers related to a cultural identity online. Most students have found the cultural identity essay examples on Paperap helpful during research. College essays on cultural identity might seem difficult to research on but when you have the right sources, you realize they are the easiest to research and write about. 

Effects of both natural and artificial landscapes
Archaeologists have studied the origins of civilization and the earliest cultures. They have noted a common trait on the earliest human settlements. Many people lived in gorges, on mountains, or on plains. Each culture developed unique economic and cultural activities depending on where their ancestors settled first. Some became pastoralists, while others became farmers, miners, and traders. In recent history, historians were able to identify the social-economic status of people by the way they designed their backyards or areas of residences. 
Dressing and home décor
Textile manufacturing is as old as human history but each cultural phase improved on its fabric and made it better than its predecessors. Since fabric was in high demand globally, the earliest traders made bought fabric from weavers and went to sell it in far and near markets. 
As years passed by, newer and more complex weaving beams were invented while newer material colors, textures, and material sources were discovered. Many fabric manufacturing industries evolved from the traditional style of making fabric. 
Buildings and architecture
Some buildings around the world are as old as 4,000 years. Some cities like Greece, Britain, and Ireland began developing in the 15 century. Each building was constructed to meet a specific need, with some constructed as palaces and others as tombs, barracks, theatres, and homes. Historians can study these buildings and compare the people’s lives in those years to today. 
History helps shape traditions and culture from one generation to the next. Historians have heavily relied on written literature to help understand how culture helped shape the modern lifestyle. Although text sources have been helpful in the study of history, they have had many limitations that have created huge gaps in research. The use of other sources like buildings, ceramics, fabric, and ornaments have helped researchers of history close these gaps and provide more concrete evidence on various facts about history. 
Author's Bio:
Emma Rundle works for a tech company and is a core member of the team that’s developing AI-based writing software for use by school and college students. She’s a researcher and academic writer and her work background has helped the company to develop some great writer’s tools in the past. Her hobbies include digital painting, biking and playing beach volleyball.