Deep Time and Human Action: An Introduction

Author(s): Stephen Berquist; Thomas Hardy

Year: 2018


The end of history has ended. Our social conditions, and indeed many of our greatest social ills, are now understood to have been generations in the making, the result of accumulations and sedimentations of quotidian human action. This introduction posits that such accumulations and sedimentations are not mere metaphor, and that the material world is the ongoing expression of the force of history. Following key post-structuralist insights, we argue that the contents of these histories are not internal to the human mind, nor to abstract ideological structures, but are produced through embodied practices that mobilize material objects and leave material traces, whether those traces be ceramic sherds, architectural remains, or bureaucratic documents. As such, archaeology is poised to not only engage with critical theoretical discussions in the social sciences but also to impact to our understanding of the "long now" of the present. Recent archaeological and anthropological publications have indeed proposed frameworks for conducting archaeological interpretation and analysis of the longue durée. This paper will review these important contributions, putting them in the context of the broader historical and archaeological turns in the social sciences, before opening the session to our contributors.

Cite this Record

Deep Time and Human Action: An Introduction. Stephen Berquist, Thomas Hardy. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445295)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21478