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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: JOURNEY'S END (?): THE INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE TRAVELS OF THE OBJECTS IN LA VENTA OFFERING 4
Author: SUSAN GILLESPIE (University of Florida)   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:30 PM
Co-Author(s): SUSAN GILLESPIE (University of Florida) 
Abstract: The values of history-accumulating objects will shift as they enter into new social fields and index different places on their itineraries. Their potential transformations may also depend on whether objects travel solo or with others. In the latter case their intersubjective linkages may be reoriented towards their fellow travelers while they journey together. Such was the case for Offering 4, excavated in 1955 at the Olmec capital of La Venta, Mexico. In this ritual cache sixteen stone anthropomorphic figurines were grouped in standing position against a backdrop of vertical greenstone celts. They formed a tableau dominated by four figurines “walking” in a line towards another figure facing them. Although the cache may initially have referenced a journey’s end, the objects continued to “circulate” in memory and interaction because they were later dug up enough to view, and then covered over in antiquity. Significantly, the excavators realized that the Offering 4 objects were not made for that collective destiny. Crafted of different materials and with variable levels of skill, worn and broken, each object likely had an independent biography before it ended up in a group. Nevertheless their individual histories are now over-shadowed by that final assemblage. Unlike other La Venta cache objects, arrayed separately in museum cases, those in Offering 4 continue to circulate collectively in museum displays and photographs. Archaeological interpretation of these objects has thus depended less on the material indicators of their individual itineraries and more on the circumstances of a particular stopping point on their journeys.

Program Number: 3-0760
Session Title: THINGS IN MOTION: OBJECT HISTORIES, BIOGRAPHIES, AND ITINERARIES
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Archaeology Division and Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
Organizer(s): SUSAN GILLESPIE (University of Florida), ROSEMARY JOYCE (University of California-Berkeley) 
Chair(s): ROSEMARY JOYCE (University of California-Berkeley)  
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