Archaeology of People

What animals were like (Archaeology of People) Part 4

Mythic dimensions I have argued so far that a rationalised, abstract and distanced view of animals is limiting. Animals were complex symbols, and as such an important component of fluid senses of identity. I have also stressed, in trying to reach a sense of what animals were like in early agricultural communities, the continued significance […]

Looking back (Archaeology of People) Part 1

My discussion so far has been about the complexity, not to say messiness, of existence, as seen in what constitutes daily routines, the characterisation of individuals and their relationships to larger groupings, the moral community framed by values and intentions, and the ties between people and animals. In exploring what carries life forward, I have […]

Looking back (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Myth It may seem a considerable leap from memories to myth, but I want to consider them both in the context of looking back, of making reference to a past or the past, which is often sharply defined but also timeless. Myth is important, though rarely explicitly considered by archaeologists. It is powerful, widespread, deals […]

Looking back (Archaeology of People) Part 3

Monuments and remembering The recent literature on monuments is considerable (e.g. Bradley 1993; 1998a; Edmonds 1999; Thomas 1999; Tilley 1994; 1999) and has brought many new insights into the character and meaning of monumental constructions of a very wide variety. They stand for this or that idea, their conceptualisation enables other views of the world, […]

Lives (Archaeology of People) Part 1

Likewise the anthropologist Maurice Bloch has referred to the ‘the long conversation that is Balinese society’, in which ‘at some time, one notion of time is used, and others, another’ (Bloch 1977, 284). Archaeologists wrestling with the relationship between ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ and the satisfactory definition of these terms may have much to learn from […]

Lives (Archaeology of People) Part 2

Shorthouse settings The wealth of evidence from the settlements of the Alpine foreland has been known since the mid-nineteenth century. Here there is no problem, as with the LBK, with non-existent house floors or occupation surfaces, though little survives absolutely intact or undamaged by various post-depositional processes. The wealth of timbers has allowed the development […]

Lives (Archaeology of People) Part 3

Living by mounds and mountains There is no one agreed hypothesis for the beginnings of the Neolithic in southern Britain. An older model of colonisation was replaced in the 1980s by models of indigenous acculturation, based in part on perceived continuities in lithic technology and mobility of lifestyle. These in turn have come under review […]

What happened in history? (Archaeology of People)

Soon before and then in the middle of the Second World War, Gordon Childe published two topics, Man makes himself and What happened in history (Childe 1936; 1942). These were in many ways remarkable, on the one hand for their scope and bold generalisations, and on the other for the employment of archaeological evidence to […]