Peterborough Chapter - Using Changes in Costumes to Understand Changes in Culture

  • September 25, 2018
  • 7:00 PM
  • Trent University, Gzowski College, Room 111

Topic: Using Changes in Costume to Understand Changes in Culture

Speaker: Dr. Catherine Mathias

The Peterborough Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society is pleased to announce the first public archaeology presentation of the fall season. Our speaker will be Dr. Catherine Mathias. Using her research into remnants of 17th century costumes found in Ferryland, Newfoundland. Dr. Mathias will explore how cultures change over time.

As Dr. Mathias noted in the introduction to her doctoral thesis, “researchers of Art History or Archaeology of the Early Modern Period evidence must be multidisciplinary in order to understand all aspects of culture. Objects which become popular as a costume component can serve as markers for changes in culture.”

She went on to say, “my presentation will demonstrate the value of one such marker, the bootspur of the 17th century. Examples are taken from an archaeological site in Ferryland Newfoundland.

“The bootspur,” she said, “re-surfaces as an important item of dress in the 1900s.” For anyone interested in seeing a modern example of this element of fashion, a bootspur from the 20th century is accessible to the public via the Victoria County Historical Society.

Dr. Mathias is an Art Historian who works with archaeological material culture to put context to largely print culture and other visual culture. She has worked in the field of art conservation for some time. Much of the material culture she has studied and conserved comes from Red Bay Labrador and Ferryland Newfoundland. She has also worked on a large amount of material culture from the Middle East, both in Qatar and Afghanistan. Her most recent research project involves the movement of metalwork out of current day Mosul Iraq.

She has also worked with a 200BC site in Southern Italy conserving buckets of terra sigillata wares and was responsible for the conservation of much of the West Coast aboriginal objects, now in our History Museum in Ottawa.


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