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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Archaeological studies of homelessness are recent and mostly exploratory, offering an evidenced-based approach to understanding lifeways of homeless people outside shelters. Carried out in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, research includes ethnography, collaborative survey and excavation with homeless people, and numerous other approaches. Results challenge stereotypic dominant narratives that most roofless people are uneducated, addicted, or mentally ill, or responsible for their own situation. Homeless people often prove to be extremely adaptable to difficult situations, and some even choose to live ‘home free’. Artefact analysis shows what is or is not useful in campsites, suggesting ways to improve support services, while archaeological interpretation demonstrates that homelessness is a complex heritage of postmodern society that ought to be recognized, but to reach full value, such archaeological research must be translated into activism.

Keywords: homelessness, roofless, collaborative, activism, dominant narratives

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