Pushing the Paradigm: The Devotional Medals of El Buen Consejo in a Historical and Archaeological Context
Whitfield, Elizabeth H
Devotional medals have a long, but quiet history. With little written about the production, purpose, and distribution of theses religiously themed objects, scholars studying them must piece together bits of information from historical and archaeological sources. Kathleen Deagan (2002) has produced the only work that analyzed and documented medals found on a variety of Spanish colonial sites and shipwrecks, and her study provides a framework for the analysis of similar collections of devotional medals. This thesis conducts an iconographical analysis of a portion of possibly the largest intact collection of devotional medals in existence. It inserts the data generated into Deagan’s paradigm, acting as the first significant test of her work. In doing so, it extends the archaeological database, establishes additional patters, and provides a basis for future research. Additionally, this examination demonstrates that religious medals are valuable diagnostic tools that can aid scholars studying the Spanish colonization of the New World.