This book explores the diverse understandings of the archaeological record in both historical and contemporary perspective, while also serving as a guide to reassessing current views. Gavin Lucas argues that archaeological theory has become both too fragmented and disconnected from the particular nature of archaeological evidence. The book examines three ways of understanding the archaeological record - as historical sources, through formation theory and as material culture - then reveals ways to connect these three domains through a reconsideration of archaeological entities and archaeological practice. Ultimately, Lucas calls for a rethinking of the nature of the archaeological record and the kind of history and narratives written from it.
Gavin Lucas is Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Iceland. He is the author of three books, Critical Approaches to Fieldwork, An Archaeology of Colonial Identity and The Archaeology of Time. He is also the editor of several volumes, including Hofstadir: Excavations of a Viking Age Feasting Hall, Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past (with V. Buchli) and Interpreting Archeology (with Alexandra Alexandri et al.).
1. The trouble with theory; 2. The total record; 3. Formation theory; 4. Materialized culture; 5. Archaeological entities; 6. Archaeological interventions; 7. A 'new' social archaeology?