This groundbreaking work considers one of the central themes of archaeology, time, which until recently has been taken for granted. It considers how time is used and perceived by archaeology and also how time influences the construction of identities. The book presents case studies, eg, transition from hunter gather to farming in early Neolithic, to examine temporality and identity. Drawing upon the work of Martin Heidegger, Thomas develops a way of writing about the past in which time is seenm as (...) central to the emergence of the identities of peoples and things. He questions the modern western distinction between nature and culture, mind and body, object and subject, and argues that in some senses the temporal structure of human beings, artefacts and places are similar. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study to explore the relationship between archaeology and modern thought, showing how philosophical ideas that developed in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries still dominate our approach to the material remains of ancient societies. It discusses the modern emphasis on method rather than ethics or meaning, our understanding of change in history and nature, the role of the nation-state in forming our views of the past, and contemporary notions of human individuality, the mind, and materiality. Julian (...) Thomas also addresses the modern preoccupation with depth, which enables archaeology to be used as a metaphor in other disciplines. The book concludes by advocating a "counter-modern" archaeology that refuses to separate material evidence from political, moral, rhetorical, and aesthetic concerns, as well as meaning. (shrink)
This volume gathers together a series of the canonical statements which have defined an interpretive archaeology. Many of these have been unavailable for some while, and others are drawn from inaccessible publications.