Animating archaeology: local theories and conceptually open-ended methodologies

Alberti, Benjamin and Marshall, Yvonne (2009) Animating archaeology: local theories and conceptually open-ended methodologies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 19, (3), 344-356. (doi:10.1017/S0959774309000535).


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Animists’ theories of matter must be given equivalence at the level of theory if we are to understand adequately the nature of ontological difference in the past. The current model is of a natural ontological continuum that connects all cultures, grounding our culturally relativist worldviews in a common world. Indigenous peoples’ worlds are thought of as fascinating but ultimately mistaken ways of knowing the world. We demonstrate how ontologically oriented theorists Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Karen Barad and Tim Ingold in conjuncture with an anti-representationalist methodology can provide the necessary conditions for alternative ontologies to emerge in archaeology. Anthropo-zoomorphic ‘body-pots’ from first-millennium ad northwest Argentina anticipate the possibility that matter was conceptualized as chronically unstable, inherently undifferentiated, and ultimately practice dependent.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1017/S0959774309000535
ISSNs: 0959-7743 (print)
1474-0540 (electronic)
Keywords: archaeology, relational ontologies, feminist theory, argentina
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Archaeology
ePrint ID: 79847
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 2009Published
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:16

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