Archaeological Ethnography: A Multitemporal Meeting Ground for Archaeology and Anthropology
Posted: 2 Nov 2011
Date Written: October 2011
Archaeology and anthropology, despite their commonalities, have had a rather asymmetrical relationship, and the periodic attempts at closer collaboration resulted in mutual frustration. As both disciplines have recently undergone significant changes, however, with anthropology embracing more fully materiality and historicity, and archaeology engaging in contemporary research, often involving ethnography, the time is ripe for a new rapprochement. Archaeological ethnography, an emerging transdisciplinary field, offers such an opportunity. Archaeological ethnography is defined here as a transcultural space for multiple encounters, conversations, and interventions, involving researchers from various disciplines and diverse publics, and centered around materiality and temporality. It is multitemporal rather than presentist, and although many of its concerns to date are about clashes over heritage, this article argues that its potential is far greater because it can dislodge the certainties of conventional archaeology and question its ontological principles, such as those founded on modernist, linear, and successive temporality.
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