Taking Archaeology to Heart: Reflections on Passions and Politics

Author(s): Stephen Silliman

Year: 2017


Talking about "heart-centered archaeology" is not necessarily easy, but it is easily necessary. Those of us who work with descendant communities know the power of the personal in making those projects possible, desirable, and enjoyable. As analytical as we must be, we must also have open hearts to those who experience the past(s) in more palpable, less academic, more heart-centered ways already. These can be profoundly transformative and positive, as they require more emotional and personal elements than archaeologists might normally engage. On the other hand, there are other non-archaeologists who seek discriminatory pasts to handle their own anxieties, nostalgias, and agendas. These are still heart-centered approaches, but much darker ones that we must confront with evidence and with stronger, more just hearts. All of these circumstances have changed my own engagements and passions. I entered archaeology decades ago because "I loved it" and the way it blended body and mind, but it has been important for me to engage not just body and mind but also heart in this long-term process. The heart that now propels my work is less the personal one about passions and more the social one about anger and rights.

Cite this Record

Taking Archaeology to Heart: Reflections on Passions and Politics. Stephen Silliman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429782)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17202