This is an article about archaeology and writing

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This article approaches the role of writing in the archaeological process. I revisit some earlier literature focusing on this topic within which is argued that the practice of writing participates in the shaping of the knowledge we produce about the past. This is so because writing entails a dialogue between the limits of the way we experience past materials and the limits of the languages we use to translate such experiences. In order to understand this dialogue, by following Michel de Certeau, we may ask what kind of subject are we while writing about past materials? And, how does such a practice entail a transformation of our subjectivity by seeking to create the conditions to express the difference of the past? I will discuss how this concern about the process of writing, and the exploration of different styles of narrative, help me to expand the study of late prehistory deposition contexts. By analysing the emplotment used in the study of these contexts, I will argue that deposition needs to be understood as an individual character, and not as just something resulting from practices of deposition. In arguing this, I present fable as a narrative style exploring alternative plots highlighting the irreducibility of archaeological evidences.
In this article, the concepts of ethnoarchaeology and archaeological ethnography are discussed. In the author's opinion, both are problematic, the former because of its emphasis on analogy, the second because it is scarcely archaeological (in the sense of the study of material culture). If we reject analogy as the main foundation of ethnoarcaheology, then it is necessary to speak about archaeology, full stop. However, this forces us to look for a new basis for the study of present societies with an archaeological methodology. Here it is argued that this basis is material culture. The remainder of the article focuses on the question of materiality and what archaeology can contribute to understanding contemporary societies through it.
People’s biographies are dominated by a multitude of factors. In recent years it has come to a general understanding that people’s life histories are embedded in things just as things are premising the biographies of people. Still, the scholarly discussion has concentrated heavily on individual biographies resulting in life-histories of bodies and individuals confined by their bodily framework rather than conceptualizing the person through the mutual interaction between people and things and the interrelationship between various presences in the revelation of the temporality and materiality of biography. In this paper I aim to explore the category of personal biography resting upon aspects of Heideggerian philosophy. I argue for biographical presences that are spread across time, subjected to shared participation and intrinsically intertwined with the narratives they generate. The argumentation rests upon my personal involvement with the biography of a seventeenth-century peasant from the farm Búðarárbakki in southern Iceland. The site and its material culture have emerged as the cause and consequence of our shared life-histories manifesting the notion of multi-temporality and materiality to the category of biography.
'Anasazi', the term archaeologists have used since the 1930s to describe the ancient Pueblo inhabitants of the American Southwest, is today a contested word — contested for misconstruing the Navajo concept of Anaasází, misrepresenting the Pueblo past, misleading the public, and misdirecting archaeological research. This essay examines how this single word, when unpacked, can provide insights into the larger issues of identity, affinity, and authority infused in archaeological practice. I argue that the fundamental questions about archaeology's operation in the world are prompted by — and perhaps ultimately can be resolved by — collaborating with descendant communities through methods that move across anthropology's disciplinary boundaries, from archaeology to ethnography. Who is — and who should be — empowered to interpret the ancient past? This is the tangled question at the heart of the controversy over 'Anasazi'. Its answer will help not only elucidate archaeology's labyrinthine past with Native peoples, but also illuminate the potential for the discipline's engaged and ethical future.
Archaeologists use writing as an important method of communicating results and interpretations, but have only recently started to consider what this implies about their research, and the effect that any style of writing has on the intended audience. Whilst public interpretation has widened forms of discourse to include narrative, performance and biography, few such academic and professional outputs have been attempted in British post-medieval archaeology, although in the wider discipline of North American historical archaeology there has been some experimentation. It is argued that biography offers new ways of encountering data, as well as opening up different modes of interpretation and communication within professional and academic arenas.
VASI ROTTI E PUNTI PRIVI DI SIGNIFICATO? RICOGNENDO IL PAESAGGIO RURALE DELL'ITALIA ROMANA In questo articolo mi domando come mai il rapido sviluppo metodologico delle indagini di superficie come tecnica per lo studio dell'Italia romana rurale non è stato accompagnato da sviluppi paralleli nelle branche teoretiche e interpretative. L'indagine di superficie rimane legata ad un limitato range di domande guidate da testi e domande ‘processuali’, ed è isolata da un più ampio pensiero archeologico circa la cultura materiale e il paesaggio. In forte contrasto con altre regioni e periodi, lo studio del paesaggio romano d'Italia continua a focalizzarsi sui siti, sulla ceramica e sui processi, piuttosto che sui luoghi, la gente e le idee. lo auspico un cambiamento epistemologico per portare gli studi verso un dialogo con la piu ampia disciplina. A questo scopo vengono sottoposte a critica pratiche teoretiche e metodologiche. La convinzione che la ricognizione è incapace di rispondere a questioni come l'identità sociale viene abbandonata attraverso una ‘decostruzione’ di come la conoscenza archeologica viene costruita. Una serie di potenziali soggetti di ricerca vengono discusse al fine di delineare una nuova agenda per le ricognizioni in Italia. Il fine è quello di stimolare una diversificazione degli approcci che realizzino pienamente il potenziale informativo della ricognizione come contributo alla studio dei paesaggi romani.
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