Feeling the Juju: Archaeological Survey as Traditional Knowledge

Author(s): Sean Dunham

Year: 2018


The practice of archaeological site reconnaissance falls within the western scientific tradition and relies on consistent methodology, precise measurement, and sampling strategies. However, there is also an experiential element to archaeological survey in which practitioners consciously and unconsciously observe patterns in the field that lead them to hunches or gut feelings that drift beyond quantifiable, empirical observation. While such hunches are occasionally crafted into hypotheses, they are more commonly shared and discussed among practitioners without finding their way into the official project record. The experiential knowledge obtained through archaeological survey is the result of accumulated observations of archaeological and geographic phenomena as well as interactions with the environment. From this perspective there is a common theme with forms of traditional knowledge especially those related to experiential knowledge acquisition and reading landscapes. This paper explores the premise of archaeological survey as a form of traditional knowledge.

Cite this Record

Feeling the Juju: Archaeological Survey as Traditional Knowledge. Sean Dunham. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444099)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -103.975; min lat: 36.598 ; max long: -80.42; max lat: 48.922 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20836