Locating the materiality of anxiety and magical practices in Puritanical New England



This book review for The Archaeology of Magic: Gender and Domestic Protection in Seventeenth-Century New England, published in 2020 by C. Riley Augé. This book aims to explore how seventeenth century British colonists, new to New England, engaged in magical practice, specifically apotropaic or protective practices, and whether that practice differed across gender. As Augé explores, the practice and belief in magic is ubiquitous across time and cultures, so that the methodological and interpretative practices outlined in this book can serve as a template even to archaeologists studying disparate locals. Overall, the book is successful in this endeavor, Augé lays out a logical and straightforward method to not only designing an archaeological approach that is specific to the excavation of magical material culture but also ways in which to examine past excavations for such evidence. While this approach and methodological considerations are well founded for the topic, the analysis of why men and women differently utilized apotropaic practices is not fully flushed out in the present study.

Author Biography

Emily Jane Brennan, University of South Carolina

PhD Candidate

Department of Anthropology

University of South Carolina 


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