Historical Archaeology: Back from the Edge

Historical Archaeology: Back from the Edge

Historical Archaeology: Back from the Edge

Historical Archaeology: Back from the Edge

Synopsis

Historical Archaeology demonstrates the potential of adopting a flexible, encompassing definition of historical archaeology which involves the study of all societies with documentary evidence. It encourages research that goes beyond the boundaries between prehistory and history.Ranging in subject matter from Roman Britain and Classical Greece, to colonial Africa, Brazil and the United States, the contributors present a much broader range of perspectives than is currently the trend.

Excerpt

This book is derived from a theme entitled ‘Changing Perspectives on Historical Archaeology’ at the World Archaeological Congress 3 in New Delhi, India (4-11 December 1994) (for further discussion on the conference see Golson (1995), Sawday (1995) and Quinn, this volume, Chapter 5). the overall theme was organized by Pedro Paulo Funari and Siân Jones and consisted of four sub-themes: ‘Exploring epistemological problems: questions of definition of the subject’ (organized by Pedro Paulo Funari); ‘The plurality of material culture: race, ethnicity, tribe, class and gender’ (organized by Siân Jones); ‘Archaeology and the representation of modern identities: national, colonial, imperial’ (organized by Tim Champion); and ‘Feminist historical archaeology’ (organized by Suzanne Spencer-Wood).

Over forty scholars from all over the world contributed, addressing a wide variety of periods and regions ranging from Classical Greece, to early medieval Ireland, to nineteenth-century Australia. the subject matter addressed signalled a clear departure from the orthodox conceptualization of ‘historical archaeology’ in North America, as a discipline concerned with European colonial societies. Such a view was challenged at the World Archaeological Congress in New Delhi, and one of the aims of this volume is to discuss the epistemological implications of an international historical archaeology, the boundaries and purposes of which are very much subject to debate.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Indian organizers and the international secretariat of wac 3 for all their hard work in making the conference possible. We would particularly like to thank Vanessa Balloqui, Makkhan Lal and Peter Ucko for help with the organization of this theme. We also wish to express our gratitude to all those who participated in the conference theme, but who are not now represented in the book, either due to publication commitments elsewhere or because the subject matter of their papers lay outside the framework of this book. Finally, we would like to thank the contributors of this book for their hard work and patience.

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