Archaeology of People

This topic is about being there: about the nature of past lives at a time remote from the present. It tries to capture something not only of the central concerns but also of the many-sidedness and frequent messiness of existence. It seeks to show how we can avoid reducing social existence, and the people who […]

Being there (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Structure and agency The starting point of this topic is that while a lot of research has been concentrated on particular aspects or scales of the kinds sketched so far, rather little has been offered by way of integration. It is an appropriate time to try, as these sorts of issue have begun to be […]

The daily round (Archaeology of People) Part 1

Routines are the stuff of life: innumerable, repeated actions, which time after time keep the world in existence. It is impossible to envisage a Neolithic world in any detail without thinking about the conditions in which people, day after day, and from season to season, cooked, ate, gathered, talked, resided, looked after their animals, or […]

The daily round (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Movements and tasks in the routine of residence So far in this topic I have considered the importance of routines in general, and suggested, with the help of analogies, various aspects of embodied daily life which are normally neglected. The discussion so far has been rather out of context, lacking a sense of why such […]

Difficult individuals (Archaeology of People) Part 1

The previous topic has discussed several different dimensions of agency, and gave particular attention to daily life and routines. The details of such basic activities as eating, sleeping, resting, moving and working could constitute what has been called, with reference to life beside the Amazon, ‘another type of identity’ (Harris 2000, 7). This is the […]

Difficult individuals (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Individuals on the Great Hungarian Plain: Early Neolithic to Early Copper Age Here I will use the regional evidence to try to document changes in the way individuals were represented. Though the overall interpretation is difficult, at least it should be clear that individualism in the sense discussed above was not static, timeless or universal. […]

Difficult individuals (Archaeology of People) Part 3

Society, culture and the moral community If individuals are elusive, can we not simply stick to the larger entities to which they belonged and which they helped to constitute? Once upon a time, that would hardly have been problematic from a theoretical point of view. Since Durkheim, anthropologists had stressed the notion of the dominant, […]

What animals were like (Archaeology of People) Part 1

Animals have been treated in many different ways, not only in the past millennia which are the subject of this topic but also in the divergent traditions of anthropology and archaeology. When the British Early Agriculture Project, for example, was being formulated in the 1960s and renewed attention was being given to the criteria for […]

What animals were like (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Physicality, intimacy and sociality People in the millennia which are the principal focus of this topic lived in a world full of animals. The emphasis on colonisation and domestication in much of the literature encourages us perhaps to forget the diversity of this natural situation. Whether people regularly hunted and consumed wild animals or not, […]

What animals were like (Archaeology of People) Part 3

Public arenas In the example of Jura households,it might be argued that the patterns of bone deposition were simply the result of repeated routines. In that case, one could suggest either that people were barely conscious of the symbolisms involved, or, as I prefer, that these were deeply embedded in daily life. In the case […]