Mind the Gap: Archaeological Approaches to Null Data Spaces

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

"One of the basic tenets of archaeological practice is locating material remains and pinpointing their location. In doing so we often create arbitrary islands of data, both spatial and temporal; clusters on a map or timeline surrounded by blank space. Despite awareness that these 'empty' or null spaces were integral parts of past landscapes, they are often left out of or dismissed by archaeological interpretations. When gaps in spatial knowledge are equated with gaps in cultural knowledge and/or landscape use, null data areas become cordoned off behind seemingly rigid boundaries. Instead, archaeologists can problematize these spaces and theorize about the methodological, cultural, and natural processes that create and perpetuate gaps. In this session presenters with different temporal, spatial, and methodological specialties will confront the gaps in their data in an effort to create a comparative dialogue of how we treat empty space. "