Actor-Network Theory and other Relational Approaches in Historical Archaeology

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  • Documents (9)

  • Bruno's blueprint (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cassie Newland.

    ANT-archaeology (another hyphen I know!) is all about how we build our worlds. In a relational world where does fieldwork start? Where does it stop? And what part do we play as authors? This paper takes Bruno Latour's Reassembling the social as a blueprint for fieldwork (except the last chapter, which was a bit of a cop-out) and translates it into materially grounded archaeological methodology. The result is a whistle stop tour of the 1879 Cape Telegraph Cable taking in Chilean mining, Swedish...

  • Connecting the Living and the Dead: networks in Ulster historic graveyards (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Harold Mytum.

    The relationships displayed through actions and monuments within a graveyard are numerous. This study examines the relationships between the living and the dead, between monuments and monuments and with the wider landscape, and different categories of the living who visit the graveyard. It is possible to investigate the powerful symbolic, textual, physical and intra-site landscape connections and avoidances to reveal the ways in which these places, monuments, the dead, and the living were all...

  • Emergent Value: Archaeology and Inventories in Later Medieval England (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ben Jervis.

    Household inventories are an invaluable resource for identifying the range of objects which were present in the medieval home, but are not identified archaeologically. However, many items which are identified archaeologically are not regularly listed in these documents. Drawing on various relational approaches, it is my contention that rather than reflecting the inherent value of objects, inventories emerge as a set of relationships through which value was negotiated and maintained. I will...

  • Excavating an Excavator: Gerhard Bersu, his networks, and linking past and present (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kate Chapman. Harold Mytum.

    Actor-Network approaches allow connections between people and people, and people and things, to be explored in new ways. This is illustrated through a historiographical case study. Gerhard Bersu avoided Nazi persecution by being invited to excavate in the UK, only to be then interned on the Isle of Man in 1940, where he continued to excavate. We explore his social and intellectual networks at that time, together with his relationships with archaeological deposits, field records, and artefacts....

  • From central places to network-centrality? (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ulrich Müller.

    Networks are fashionable in contemporary archaeology, but what causes this fascination with network theory in medieval and post-medieval archaeology? This paper will briefly explain the state of current historical archaeology research in Germany, with a focus on how network theories can be profitably used. In particular, the connections between "Zentralorttheorie" and network theory will discussed. Networks detect interactions, and central places can be described as "density...

  • Inhabiting Vatnsfjörður, Northwest Iceland: land, sea and movement (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Oscar Aldred.

    In this paper I will examine the same locale, Vatnsfjörður, from the land and from the sea. Drawing on 19th and 20th century historical accounts and the surveying of archaeological sites, I will assess the degree to which taking a relational approach brings greater clarity to historical interpretation. The thesis is that relational approaches facilitate the actualization and the operation of strategies for understanding what it was like to live and work in a remote part of Iceland. The approach...

  • Magical thinking, relational thinking, and the archaeology of the modern world (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Vesa-Pekka Herva.

    Relational and other alternative ontologies and epistemologies have recently been discussed in archaeology, but those discussions have had only a limited impact on historical archaeology. This paper discusses the relationship between relational being/knowing and magical thinking in the modern Western world. It will be proposed that various forms of magical thinking, from Renaissance hermeticism to contemporary popular beliefs, can provide useful insights into the significance of relational being...

  • Mundane material culture and political identity in Long Kesh / Maze prison (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Laura McAtackney.

    Studies of the material culture of political imprisonment during the Northern Irish Troubles have hitherto concentrated on prisoner self-expression – especially through the creation of contraband and handicrafts - or the presencing of prison protests in external communities through wall murals. Of less aesthetic value, but highly significant as a both a signifier of compliance / dissent and criminal / political status, are the relationships between prisoners and prison-issue artefacts. From...

  • Valued relations: coin dies as actants (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nanouschka Myrberg Burström.

    In present-day Scandinavia a coinage was introduced c. AD 995 which imitated contemporary Anglo-Saxon coins. For more than thirty years the English and Scandinavian coinages were closely connected. Humans (commissioners, moneyers, artisans) and objects (e.g. coin-dies) moved between the mints. Coinage is often seen as articulating sovereign rights in a certain area, but the Anglo-Scandinavian coinage network instead cut across kingdoms from west to east. Despite ongoing state-formation...