Archaeology has always been marked by its particular care, obligation, and loyalty to things. While archaeologists may not share similar perspectives or practices, they find common ground in their concern for objects monumental and mundane. This book considers the myriad ways that archaeologists engage with things in order to craft stories, both big and small, concerning our relations with materials and the nature of the past. Literally the "science of old things", archaeology does not discover the past as it was but must work with what remains. Such work involves the tangible mediation of past and present, of people and their cultural fabric, for things cannot be separated from society. Things are us. This book does not set forth a sweeping new theory. It does not seek to transform the discipline of archaeology. Rather, it aims to understand precisely what archaeologists do and to urge practitioners toward a renewed focus on and care for things.
Bjornar Olsen, Professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Tromso. Michael Shanks is Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Classics at Stanford. Timothy Webmoor is Research Fellow in Science and Technology Studies at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford. Christopher Witmore is Associate Professor with the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures at Texas Tech University.
Preface 1. Introduction: Caring about Things 2. The Ambiguity of Things: Contempt and Desire 3. Engagements with Things: The Making of Archaeology 4. Digging Deep: Archaeology and Excavation 5. Things in Translation: Documents and Imagery 6. Futures for Things: Memory Practices and Digital Translation 7. Timely Things: From Argos to Mycenae and Beyond 8. Making and the Design of Things: Human Being and the Shape of History 9. Getting on with Things: A Material Metaphysics of Care References Index