The Invisibility of Experience: Accessing Ancient Sensory Frameworks

Author(s): Robyn Price

Year: 2018


While archaeological analyses that focus on the experiential and sensorial past are becoming more common, scholars continue to discuss and dispute what knowledge of the past is accessible. Without moving beyond the material remains and into the realm of the self-reflexive researcher (Hamilakis 2013: 119), this paper will demonstrate that archaeologists do not need to stray too far from their traditional methods to uncover rich evidence of past sensory lives. By drawing from the field of art history and linguistics, the elaborate depictions of tomb scenes from Eighteenth dynasty Egypt might truly come to life as evidence for an ancient sensory framework. In addition, these tomb scenes were not designed for the dead, but also engaged with by the living. Though these scenes were augmented by their inclusion of deceased people and other such occurrences not commonly visible to the living, the activities depicted such as banqueting or hunting were those experienced by ancient Egyptians every day. How might the visible representations of invisible sensory experiences in these scenes be reconciled with the daily life of the ancient Egyptians? This paper seeks to understand this relationship with special emphasis on the visibility of the senses and the invisibility of experience.

Cite this Record

The Invisibility of Experience: Accessing Ancient Sensory Frameworks. Robyn Price. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445236)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 24.961; min lat: 22.065 ; max long: 35.332; max lat: 31.616 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22475