The Archaeology of Time

The Archaeology of Time

The Archaeology of Time

The Archaeology of Time

Synopsis

It might seem obvious that time lies at the heart of archaeology, since archaeology is about the past. However, the issue of time is complicated and often problematic, and although we take it very much for granted, our understanding of time affects the way we do archaeology.This book is an introduction not just to the issues of chronology and dating, but time as a theoretical concept and how this is understood and employed in contemporary archaeology. It provides a full discussion of chronology and change, time and the nature of the archaeological record, and the perception of time and history in past societies.Drawing on a wide range of archaeological examples from a variety of regions and periods, The Archaeology of Time provides students with a crucial source book on one of the key themes of archaeology.

Excerpt

This is a book I should have written many years ago. My doctoral thesis largely focused on the concept of time in archaeology, which I worked through with material from the Neolithic and Bronze Age of eastern Yorkshire in northern England. Yet, looking back, it has been nearly ten years since that was completed and I have published next to nothing on the concept of time - except one short paper in a non-archaeological journal (Lucas 1997). Part of the reason for this lies in the fact that soon after my PhD, I moved into a very different area of archaeological research; it was only when Julian Thomas suggested I write a short book on time for the Routledge series 'Themes in Archaeology' that I decided to use the opportunity to return to this early interest. This book inevitably draws heavily on the research and reading I did for my doctoral thesis, but in no way is it a published version of that thesis; it is a completely different and new piece of work which particularly - and extensively - draws on the massive increase in publications on time in archaeology since my thesis was written, as well as developments in my own thoughts on the subject. Indeed, in many ways, waiting ten years has produced a much better book; if I had written this book back then, it would have suffered from lack of case studies and examples, as well as breadth and diversity of investigation.

The writing of this book has benefited from a number of people who are warmly thanked here. First, to Julian Thomas who initiated the project, and to several anonymous reviewers who saw

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