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The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity. Peter Metcalf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 345 pp., 19 figures, appendix, bibliography, 2 indices. Hardback, £82, US $129. ISBN 9780521110983; 2012 Paperback, £36, US $57. ISBN: 9781107407565.
|Title:||The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity. Peter Metcalf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 345 pp., 19 figures, appendix, bibliography, 2 indices. Hardback, £82, US $129. ISBN 9780521110983; 2012 Paperback, £36, US $57. ISBN: 9781107407565.|
|Abstract:||The work of anthropologist Peter Metcalf will be familiar to many archaeologists. His 1992 co-authored Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual is widely cited by burial archaeologists (Metcalf and Huntington 1992). Metcalf’s interest in the function and meaning of ritual in small scale communities stemmed from his doctoral research on Borneo in the early 1970s, and those who enjoyed Celebrations of Death should seek out his entertainingly detailed A Borneo Journey into Death (1982). A further short classic is Metcalf’s They Lie, We Lie: Getting on with Anthropology (2002), a highly recommended read for all archaeologists involved with community-based projects. In his latest book, The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity, Metcalf revisits his study area of the Brunei hinterland on Borneo to write a detailed historical narrative spanning the last 200 years. He explores the contingent relationships between domestic architecture, pre-modern trading systems, political and ritual economies, and ethnicity – all topics which concern archaeologists. Metcalf maintains the high level of scholarship evident in his earlier work, and with his intimate knowledge of the material is able to convey the intricacies of these narratives and make the book a pleasure to read. In short, it is a work that deserves to become as equally well-known and cited as his earlier books.|
|Appears in Collections:||
Asian Perspectives, 2018 - Volume 57, Number 1 (Spring)|
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