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Adventures in Post-Colonial Archaeology: 2

August 24, 2021

By: Tim Murray

This short blog – the second of several engaging with some of the more important matters raised by a growing interest among practitioners in the development of post-colonial perspectives in archaeology – begins as a brief response to Allison Mickel 2021 Why Those Who Shovel Are Silent. A history of local archaeological knowledge and labor. University of Colorado Press.

The relationships between archaeologists and indigenous peoples has spawned a vast literature which explores the key elements of a complex interaction that has changed greatly over the last forty years. Its not surprising that much of this literature stems from the Anglo-Saxon world and its connections to the former British and American empires, given that these were the locales of significant indigenous dispossession, the massive demographic changes wrought by migration, and the oppression of indigenous populations. Over the same period there has been a focus on documenting the relationships between archaeologists and populations of the Old and New worlds, which have also been transformed by the decline of other empires (be they French, Spanish, Belgian, Portuguese, Ottoman or German), and the rise of post colonialist perspectives.

Those interested in the history of archaeology have long appreciated that our discipline (like many others) has been complicit in effectively conquering or colonising the pasts of other countries and peoples. Sometimes this has taken the form of an acquisition of those pasts to bolster the perspectives of social evolution, while in other cases the physical remains of those pasts have been exported to (and monetised by) Europe and North America. It is perhaps an over-simplification of a complex relationship, but we might generalise that until recent decades archaeology was most often done to colonised peoples rather than done with them.

I have no doubt that the discipline needs to continue this process of decolonisation – whether it be to the descendant communities of indigenous groups in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia, or to the inhabitants of contemporary countries that were once imperial territories. I also have no doubt that this process will have a greater chance of success if it is done in partnership with those peoples. Notwithstanding the common experience of colonialism, it is nonetheless true that the nature of those partnerships are unlikely to be precisely the same. Historical context is crucial here, as is the contemporary politics of archaeology and heritage management in each and every national instance. Thus the issues faced by archaeologists working in countries such as Turkey and Jordan – where nations set the rules governing the activities of international archaeological teams, and those experienced by non-indigenous archaeologists working on indigenous heritage in countries such as Australia, are not the same. This makes generalisation tricky, but it also provides a perspective for a comparative analysis specific colonial or post-colonial experiences.

Judging by the discussions in Why Those Who Shovel Are Silent the experience of archaeologists and the local labourers who work for (with?) them at Petra or Catal Huyuk are very different to those obtaining in Australia. Significantly the significant expansion in fieldwork related to the archaeology of pre-1788 Australia pretty much coincided with an even more significant expansion of indigenous activism related to land rights and control over heritage. Although archaeologists exploring the histories of indigenous North America have been active for much longer than in Australia, it is also true that in recent times there has been a strong commonality of perspective about the rights and responsibilities of the respective participants. For example, in Australia interactions reflect strict legislative controls on the activities of archaeologists, a recognition that indigenous Australians own their heritage, and a fundamental position that the interests of all are advanced through consultation and collaboration. Importantly there is also an understanding that differences of perspective and understanding can exist within a collaborative and cooperative framework.

While I appreciate that international archaeological teams have long operated in what used to be known as the Near East, and that the conditions of their operation have changed since work began in the 19th century, I was fascinated by the detail of Mickel’s archaeological ethnography. At Petra and Catal archaeologists have l been operating under permits granted by national governments that have set conditions pertaining to a wide range of activities – from site selection, excavation and retrieval strategies, employment of local labour, the management and distribution of finds, and the ‘return’ of information to the host countries. It is only natural that these conditions have changed on sites that have been the focus of long-running investigation, as the expectations of archaeologists and government authorities have changed over time. Of course this is entirely proper, as it surely must be the fundamental responsibility of the Turkish or Jordanian governments to manage the heritage of their countries as they see fit. 

I was particularly interested in Mickel’s discussion of strategies to decolonise interpretation and action on sites with a long ‘colonial’ history. Part of this relates to operationalising the strategy of changing the basis of cooperation and collaboration from simple employment to a deeper engagement with the perspectives of Mickel’s ‘silent shovellers’. I do not have the space to unpack all of the assumptions that underpin this strategy, but it seems that this more open and reflexive approach is long overdue. Nonetheless I am left wondering just how much has changed for both sides. Have archaeologists substantially changed the questions they ask or the strategies of interpretation and exploration they employ? Of course it might be too early to expect such transformations in approach and purpose, but it should also be understood that these will be necessary if we are to avoid the charge that this is more than simple window-dressing.

It would be foolish to believe that becoming more inclusive of differing perspectives on archaeology, history and heritage will be an easy and smooth thing. Certainly in Australia the last forty or so years have seen some anguish as old approaches are superseded and new aspirations have emerged. There have been bruising exchanges and heated arguments, but these can only be expected when really important matters of principle are debated and a new consensus established.

Notwithstanding a laudable desire to manage debate and to keep things positive, there is light years between this open exchange and a desire to suppress or to coerce (no matter who does this). So, you can imagine my surprise when Mickel observed (pp7-8):

Over the years, the project re-hired those who had worked on the project in the past, allowing these individuals to build on their previous training and to take on jobs with increased responsibility. Hodder (2000) also deliberately hired women, a decision that elicited vehement resistance at first from the conservative and patriarchal local community, but which Hodder has defended as essential to engaging and uplifting the local community as a whole, not just the men.

Employment and training are very valuable outcomes of the archaeological process, but it seems to me that a great deal more was being attempted here. Archaeologists assuming the mantle of self-appointed agents of social change using economic coercion smacks of the very colonialism we should be striving to avoid. 

I look forward to further discussion of this strategy, and an evaluation of the outcomes of such interventions.

Adventures in Post-Colonial Archaeology: 1

July 8, 2021

This post comes to us from professor Tim Murray (University of Melbourne).

Author’s note: This blog – one of several that will engage with some of the more important matters raised by a growing interest among practitioners in the development of post-colonial perspectives in archaeology.

I am an Australian, now 66 years of age. I have research interests in the history and philosophy of archaeology, archaeological theory, historical archaeology, heritage archaeology, and the archaeology of Australia. I began at the University of Sydney (Gordon Childe’s alma mater) in 1973, straight after a high school career at Sydney Grammar School, steeped in History, Classics, Philosophy and Economics. The curriculum at school was intense and focused hard on developing our capacities for ratiocination, debate, and providing strategies for gaining knowledge of the world. Three of Australia’s Prime Ministers were educated there. 

Australia was deeply involved in the war in Vietnam when I was at high school, and I (like many students at the time) loved the whole business of contesting just about anything, be it about politics, social norms, music or fashion. Radical politics was in the air and we had learned much from Richard Neville’s Playpower (1970) as well as the Cohn-Bendit brothers’ Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative (1968). While hardly being a paradise for social or cultural contrarians, at that time a diversity of opinions and hard argument were encouraged. ‘Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’ as Mao Tse Tung had observed in 1957. It was a liberal education in the very best sense of the term, with the added benefit that contrarians were not executed, unlike many of those who took Mao at his word!

There were no trigger warnings (even though our parents were very frequently assaulted by their offspring banging on about the evils of the bourgeoisie or the virtues of Ho Chi Minh). I expect that we were all regularly offended. Sometimes it felt more like those epic scenes from Monty Python’s Life of Brian about the Judean People’s Front and its opponents. But for all of the turmoil, we left school and began university with a strong sense that culture and society could really only flourish if we were able to identify shortcomings and develop concrete proposals for fixing them. That sense was powerfully reinforced by the election of a Labor government in Australia in late 1972, the first in 23 years. The possibilities seemed endless, as Australians embraced real social and cultural change right across the spectrum from indigenous land rights to free tertiary education for all. Most of all it was a time when the thoroughly normal social, cultural and economic divisions in Australian society could co-exist without endangering the strength of the fabric that held it all together.

Fast forward to the new century, when most of those certainties have been eroded, and the things that unite us seem to be much less important than those that divide us. Of course this might readily be interpreted as the consequences of transformations in the social order, as new alignments of interests and perspectives (however these may be constituted) break down existing power structures, and foster the birth of new elements based around different identities. It is natural that these kinds of fundamental change can both excite some and be a cause of apprehension to others, if only because of the importance we all place on being able to correctly predict the outcomes of the actions of others.

It is hardly surprising that social commentators have drawn attention to the potential negative consequences of identity politics, cancellation, and the suppression of unpopular ideas. Indeed novelists such as Michel Houellebecq, especially in the novel Les Particules Élémentaires(translated as Atomised in 1998), have seen the atomisation of society, rather than the transformation of the social order, as being the most significant consequence of all this change. Houellebecq’s dystopian vision is really unpleasant, but it does merit careful consideration rather than outright rejection. 

In 2017 while I was a Scholar at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles I participated in what became a quite heated discussion with other Fellows and graduate students about the practice of iconoclasm – ancient and modern. This excerpt from the Getty’s PR statement for its 2017-2018 program gives a good sense of the point of all that dissension: 

Iconoclasm raises contentious questions that transcend cultural and temporal boundaries. It can be understood as vandalism, destruction, or a means of repression, all of which fundamentally put culture at risk.

However iconoclasm can also be a form of protest or a vehicle for creative expression. Iconoclasm is transformative, creating entirely new objects or meanings through alterations to existing artworks. Charged with symbolism, these remains testify to a history of reception, offering clues about the life and afterlife of an object. To a certain extent all radical changes in cultural production can be described as iconoclastic. 

Quite sensibly, all participants wanted to bring the discussion forward to the present – particularly to the removal (or sometimes destruction) of monuments related to the American Civil War. I was fascinated by the sharp differences of opinion, and even more by the fact that those differences tended to cluster around the ages of the disputants. Boomers like myself were opposed to sanitising historical landscapes, most opting for what is now referred to as the ‘retain and explain’ position. Our younger colleagues mostly took the view that statues of Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest (see images), and a host of others were so offensive that they needed to be expunged – if only to prevent them from becoming lighting rods attracting all manner of radical right groupings. They also pointed out that many of these statues were erected during the height of the Jim Crow laws effecting racial segregation in the South from 1877 to 1954, and were material expressions of that race-based prejudice. A further observation was that since iconoclasm was nothing new in human history, there was nothing especially problematic about continuing its practice., especially when the goal of reconciling the United States with its past might be achieved.

Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877). Confederate general, Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (1867-1869). Among other activities he was a slave trader. The statue and plaque have been removed from what was then known as Forrest Park (now known as Health Sciences Park) in Memphis, Tennessee. Statue erected in 1905. Photos by the author.

I was not alone in rejecting these arguments – if only because one of the great lessons to learn from history has been not to reject it, nor to destroy our capacity to remake it. In that sense, removing Jim Crow-inspired monuments detracts from our capacity to witness the materiality of prejudice. While retaining them ran the risk of their continuing capacity to inspire racism, removing them ran an even greater risk of infantilising a population thought to be incapable of confronting its past. Furthermore, suppression drives race-based prejudice underground and does not facilitate the kinds of discussion that might foster change in what are clearly highly entrenched ways of thinking. It is going to be a long journey. As Mark Bradley wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (June 23, 2020):

The famous George Santayana quote: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s the thing, though. None of us have forgotten. Darned if we’re not repeating it anyway.

Debate around these issues has intensified in the US, England and Australia over the last couple of years, as people have struggled to deal with the history of dispossession, racism and slavery in those and other societies. The desire to commemorate in this case is now firmly balanced by the desire to expunge from cultural memory, and through this to create new presents and futures. There is much more to be said, and it is vital that a conversation about such important matters can proceed. It is difficult to see how the sensibilities of the participants cannot be offended at least some of the time, but it is a small price to pay for a clearer understanding of what happened and why it is so important to our presents and futures.

Call for Papers: “Where knowledge is created – places of research, exchange and learning in ancient studies”

April 22, 2021

Our colleagues from the research cluster 5 of the German Archaeological Institute are organizing the following conference on the history of archaeology: Where knowledge is created – places of research, exchange and learning in ancient studies. Please find more details below.

Dear colleagues, The research cluster 5 of the German Archaeological Institute (History of archaeology) is organizing a conference entitled “Where knowledge is created – places of research, exchange and learning in ancient studies” on November 24-25, 2021. Subject of the conference is the role of learning sites such as universities, museums, research institutions, long-standing excavations, and congresses for knowledge generation in ancient studies. The conference will take place in Frankfurt am Main (if possible) and online. Please find the detailed Call for Papers in the attachment. Contributions can be submitted until 30.06.2021 at You are welcome to forward this call to colleagues who might be interested.
We are looking forward to interesting contributions! 

With kind regards Sandra Schröer, Gabriele Rasbach, Thomas Fröhlich (Spokespersons of DAI-Cluster 5)

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen / Dear colleagues (for english version see below),das Forschungscluster 5 des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (Geschichte der Archäologie) veranstaltet vom 24.-25.November 2021 eine Tagung mit dem Titel “Wo Wissen entsteht – Orte der Forschung, des Austauschs und des Lernens in den Altertumswissenschaften”. Gegenstand der Tagung ist die Rolle von Lernorten wie Universitäten, Museen, Forschungsinstitutionen, langjährige Ausgrabungen sowie Kongresse für die Wissensgenerierung in den Alterumswissenschaften. Die Tagung wird in Frankfurt am Main (sofern möglich) sowie online stattfinden. Den ausführlichen Call for Papers finden Sie im Anhang. Beiträge können bis zum 30.06.2021 unter eingereicht werden. Gerne können Sie diesen Call auch an interessierte Kolleg*innen weiterleiten.
Wir freuen uns auf interessante Beiträge! 

Mit freundlichen GrüßenSandra Schröer, Gabriele Rasbach, Thomas Fröhlich (Sprecher/innen des DAI-Clusters 5)

Tales of the Modern City

March 12, 2021

Another interesting post from professor Tim Murray (University of Melbourne).


Over several decades I have had the great good fortune to spend a significant amount of time in great libraries in Europe and the United States, pursuing research on the history and philosophy of archaeology, and the historical archaeology of the modern city. This has meant that I have had the opportunity to live for extended periods in London, Paris, Leiden, New York City, Washington DC and Los Angeles, and in doing this to spend many hours waiting for trains, trams and buses, as I made my way around. 

It’s a commonplace that one of the best ways to learn to live in a new city is to develop a reasonable command of its public transport system. Yet the near endless variety of solutions reached by city governors to ensure that the population can get from A to B (and back again), has never ceased to amaze me. Some cities, such as Tokyo, have superb systems that operate at the extremes of population – an example being Shinjuku station having over 3 million visitors every day. Others, such as my own city of Melbourne, are far less efficient and sometimes downright irritating. Nonetheless wherever a city’s public transport system sits on the continuum from excellent to terrible, the commuter always has to wait.

So, how to occupy your time? International data costs make using your mobile as a form of info/entertainment an expensive business, and even Angry Birds or Candy Crush can pall after a while. Then there are the advertisements plastered beside the tracks, but even the best ones change too infrequently to hold your interest beyond the first day or so. Observing fellow commuters is always fun, especially as a source of inspiration for creating fantasy stories about urban lives. But too much staring can come across as creepy!

My standby (and that of family members when we travel together) has been to closely examine the metro map of whichever city I am working in. When the pastime first began I was mostly focused on identifying interesting or amusing station names, and enjoying the pretty harmless diversion this provided. The London Underground and the Paris Metro were perfect for this. All of my family members have their favourites, but I have long been attracted to Mudchute in London, Picpus in Paris, Clot in Barcelona, Onkel Tom’s Hutte in Berlin, Principe Pio or possibly Prosperidad in Madrid, Los Heroes in Santiago Chile, and Malatesta in Rome. To me these are far more exotic than the stations names we find in Melbourne, Sydney and (most boring of all) New York City – accurate about location, but totally lacking any humour or mystery.

Other people seem to derive similar pleasure from this past time. Once when I was staying with friends in Silver Springs, Maryland and riding the DC metro to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, I was entertained by a couple of young girls reading out the station names and then falling about laughing when they came to Foggy Bottom – or as they said it Fargy Bartom. Commuters need to make their own fun!

But what first started as a game of identifying amusing or interesting names has gradually morphed into a more serious pursuit as my interest in the historical archaeology of the modern city has grown. Being naturally nerdy I began to dig a bit deeper into the station names that had first piqued my interest. Google (and Wikipedia) were my research assistants here as I began to use that station names as a vector for understanding the histories of those cities. I soon came to realise that I had located a seam of gold that connected place and history from (in one case) the 11th century to the present. It also allowed me to connect with parts of those cities that are generally off the normal tourist itinerary.

My first excursion was into the London stations of Mudchute (which I particularly liked) and Tooting Bec (beloved by my son).

Mudchute is a station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) located on the Isle of Dogs, which opened in 1987 and has undergone several transformations in the years to 2009. The original plan was to name it Millwall Park, but this was shelved due to a particularly vicious outbreak of football hooliganism among fans of the club. A local landmark, the Mudchute, was suggested as an acceptable alternative. The Mudchute was the outcome of the creation of the Millwall Docks in the 1860s. Spoil from the excavation in the form of liquid mud was dumped via hydraulic pumps there. Despite what was described as being the source of a terrible stink , the Mudcute quickly becoming a wildlife sanctuary. The site is now known as the Mudchute Park and Farm covering some 13 hectares, and is an important conservation area as well as being the largest urban farm in Europe!

If Mudchute was the product of the expansion of British imperial trade in the 19th century then Tooting Bec has a longer and richer history, most recently burned into memory by Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Little Britain in the episodes featuring Ting Tong from Tooting. The station opened in 1926 and was originally known as Trinity Road. Tooting Bec station is on the Northern Line. 

The area is named after the St Mary de Bec-Hellouin Abbey in Normandy and was partly owned by Westminster Abbey, title to the land being granted after the Norman conquest of 1066.  Tooting Bec is on Stane Street which is formed from the remains of a Roman road linking London   with the port of Chichester. The area appears in Domesday book  of 1086 as Totinges (its original Saxon name). Among much interesting information about the place since the time of the Saxons, is the fact that Finnish punk rock group Hanoi Rocks wrote the song Tooting Bec Wreck (Andy McCoy 1983), about life there in the early 1980s. You can see it performed This excerpt from the lyrics gives a good sense of their contribution to late 20th century rock.

I’m the living wreck, I live in Tooting Bec,
I’m the Cosmic Ted spaced out of my head
I’m the living wreck, I live in Tooting Bec,
And I’m equal to anyone I’ve met.

Picpus was the next one to get the in-depth treatment, revealing a wonderfully rich (and very sad) slice through Parisian history. Thestation on line 6 of the Paris Métro in the 12th arrondissement, opened on 1 March 1909 as Saint-Mandé , but renamed Picpus on 1 March 1937 to avoid confusion with Saint-Mandé on line 1. Picpus has the additional name of Courteline, named after author Georges Courteline (1858–1929). The area is particularly famous for the Picpus Cemetery, which is the largest private cemetery in Paris, and one of only two private cemeteries in the city, the other being the Cimetière des Juifs Portugais de Paris. Although the cemeteries of Pere Lachais and Montparnasse are more popular with tourists, Picpus has a special story.

The Picpus Cemetery was created during the Revolution of 1789 on land seized from the Catholic Church. It came into heavy usage due to it being located a very short distance from where the infamous guillotine was operating at top speed during the Terror (14th June to 27th July 1794). The remains of 1306 decapitated people were buried in two mass graves there. The names of all of the victims are found on the walls of the nearby chapel. Of the 1,109 men there were 108 nobles, 108monastics, 136 members of the clergy, 178 military personnel, and 579 commoners. There are 197 women buried there, with 51 from the nobility, 23 nuns and 123 commoners. 16 of the nuns were Carmelites, later made famous in Poulenc’sopera Dialogues of the Carmelites. They were beatified as martyrs in 1906.

The Cemetery is also particularly notable as the resting place of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, made famous through his participation in the American Revolutionary War. The Daughters of the American Revolution tend his gravesite and keep Old Glory flying. His wife is buried next to him, and several of their relatives were among those interred in the nearby mass graves.

The sadness does not end there. 

In 1852 the banker James Mayer de Rothschild built a hospital and hospice next door to the cemetery which treated only Jewish patients until the First World War. After the Nazi occupation the Jewish population were assembled at the Drancy internment camp in the northern suburbs of Paris. Between 1942 and 1944 some 67,000 Jews (including 6,000 children) were deported to the death camps. At the time of liberation only 1,542 remained alive. During this time the hospital became an extension of the Drancy camp where pregnant women, the seriously ill and children were housed prior to deportation.  A plaque dedicated to their memory was erected at the Picpus Cemetery.

I had a very different experience chasing down Onkel Tom’s Hutte station on the Berlin U-Bahn U3 line, although Himmler’s SS made an appearance here too. The area was named after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), which clearly made quite an impression on Berliners. In 1885 an entrepreneur called Thomas opened a pub just outside the Grunewald Forest, and erected some shelters to keep the drinkers dry. These came to be known as ‘Tom’s Cabins’ and the link to the novel was quite easily made. Over time the name was applied to the railway station, the main street, some shops and a cinema, but most famously to a housing estate designed by the great modernist architect Bruno Taut. This is a truly remarkable place and although it is not widely known outside of architectural circles, it stands as one of the great Bauhaus developments in Berlin built between 1926 and 1932. It stands in stark contrast to the houses in an adjacent residential quarter, which were constructed to house families of members of the SS. This was ‘total’ architecture expressing in concrete form the cherished values of the Nazi regime – especially the importance of ‘traditional’ German culture. It is marvellous that both housing estates survived the Second World War and the subsequent upheavals in German history.

I could go on and reveal the outcome of my research into Clot, Malatesta and all of the others that helped me while away the time waiting on platforms around the world, but I hope that I have already made my point that its proved to be time very well spent. At the very least it has helped reveal the riches of the local histories and geographies that go to make up the biographies of great cities stretching away from more commonly visited points of historical interest. There are plenty more hidden gems to find!

The Dig: A very partial history of the first excavation of Sutton Hoo

March 1, 2021

This post comes to us from professor Tim Murray (University of Melbourne).

By now I am well and truly over talking and writing about the horrors of Covid 19, so I will spare everyone by simply observing that  it was an  unexpected treat being able to watch The Dig on Netflix rather than having to don the mask and be socially distant at the cinema. After so many months of rigid lockdown in Melbourne you would think that everyone would relish the chance to get out of the house and to watch something other than the latest Scandinoir. Normally you would be right,  but  The Dig has been made for TV so it was time to move the cat further along the sofa, put the kettle on, and return to the world of streaming.

I am glad that I did. Watching the action from the perspective of  someone interested in the history of archaeology I was fascinated by the choices which the director, Australian Simon Stone, made about what stories to tell and the ways they would be told. Yes, there was a focus on the excavation and the fantastic grave goods that were brought to light, but the archaeology was only peripheral to the action. We get a recreation of all those wonderful photographs of the excavation and a fair buit of action barrowing dirt, scraping away with a trowel,  and peering at ‘the finds’, but Stone really wants to talk about class, gender, amateurs versus professionals, institutional politics, and of course sex, rather than the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England.

Responses to the film have been generally positive but it comes as no surprise that archaeologists who knew Grimes, Crawford, Stuart Piggott and Charles Phillips have taken issue with the portrayal of some of the dramatis personae – Piggott and Phillips in particular. Of course its easy to remind everyone that the script is based on a novel (The Dig 2007 written by John Preston,  who was the nephew of Stuart Piggott’s then wife Peggy) and that it is not a historical documentary. 

However, by  now we have so much experience of living in a ‘post truth’ world that  it is probably important to carefully separate fiction from fact. I only met Stuart Piggott once when he gave an interesting lecture at  the  Mill Lane in Cambridge in 1981, so I have absolutely no basis on which to respond to the imputation made  in The Dig that he may have been homosexual. Certainly Piggott can’t comment himself. Was Charles Phillips a bombastic archaeologist  determined to derive as much professional benefit from Sutton Hoo as he could? Was he almost as keen to advance the cause of the British Museum at the expense of the Ipswich Museum? The history of archaeology is crowded with big egos and intense institutional conflicts so there is at least the possibility that Phillips could have behaved as portrayed. Nonetheless people who knew him have rejected this while acknowledging that Phillips and Reid Moir (from the Ipswich Museum) did not get along.  Hardly damning stuff.

There is no need to continue building the catalogue of ‘post truths’ in the film, whether they be about the state of the Piggott’s marriage at Sutton Hoo, or other more minor matters such as who took the marvellous site photographs  (in the film it’s the male love interest, and Peggy Piggott was the only female on site, apart from the owner, Edith Pretty). Anyone familiar with the history of research at Sutton Hoo  will be able to list many more concessions to the perceived need to to heighten the drama by focusing  on people and their doings,  and the looming war. Of course hopeless archaeology nerds would have been more than happy to do something different and perhaps explore the long history of excavation there and the perceived need to achieve exemplary standards of excavation and analysis in order to do justice to such a wonderful site. Notwithstanding these matters, it’s a drama and not a doco.

We live in a time when the State has assumed the powerful role of manager and steward of archaeological heritage. Imagine deciding to excavate a few attractive mounds in your back yard, hiring some local excavators and getting down to it! Needless to say Edith Pretty would not be able to do the same today, and I very much doubt whether there would be much opposition to the argument that such important stuff should be left to the experts. It’s a salutary experience returning to the 1930s when no one seemed to care – until something really important popped up. The Dig allows us to contemplate the evolution of strategies to manage archaeological heritage  from John Lubbock’s Ancient Monuments Protection. Act (1882) to today. It also underscores the benefits of massively expanding access to both secondary and tertiary education regardless of class, gender, or economic opportunity.

But what to do about  bending history to suit  the needs of the drama – or perhaps the interests of the novelist? We are fortunate that Sutton Hoo has  been well and truly served by the excavators and analysts who have worked on the site and the finds for such a long period. There is much excellent (and accessible) writing about the place and its history. Notwithstanding the strong possibility that many of the people watching The Dig may be completely unaware of this, or indeed that many of the same dramatic tropes might also be explored in dramas about other aspects of life in the 1930s, the film presents an account that has obviously resonanted with many. On balance that is as good an outcome as we can reasonably hope for.

CfP Session — Between Autochthonism, Marxism and Turboslavism: Concepts of Slavs and Slavic Origins Through Space and Time

January 20, 2021

HARN Member, Monika Milosavljević, has been in touch about the forthcoming EAA session — Between Autochthonism, Marxism and Turboslavism: Concepts of Slavs and Slavic Origins Through Space and Time. Please note that the deadline for proposals is February 11, 2021:

#178: Between Autochthonism, Marxism and Turboslavism: Concepts of Slavs and Slavic Origins Through Space and Time

“The Slavs” of the past are associated with a national idea that may relate to ethnicity, an individual state or Pan-Slavism. Academic conceptualizations of the Slavic people(s) and their origins spanned into a wide range of disciplines from early on, including archaeology, linguistics, historiography and physical anthropology. Even now a whole variety of approaches and results are negotiated in academic discourse, while neo-romantic concepts of Slavic identity and ancestry undergo a growing revival in different public fields, be it populist propaganda or popular culture. Often they seek to ground national identity in ancient ethnic origins, like turboslavist creations of a Slavic past that interlocks scholarly knowledge production with identity and memory politics, old and new nationalisms, neo-pagan spiritualization as well as references to DNA data in order to locate ethnic origins. Where there is a growing idea to “make Slavs great again”, it seems largely based on outdated academic concepts and often lapses into pseudoscience.

Approaching and reflecting different understandings of “the Slavs” as well as the changing ideas tracing their origins and continuity, can disclose similarities and differences in scientific conceptualizations and constructions as well as public narrations and visualizations of Slavic identity. The organizers would like to form a dialogue with scholars within scientific and public discourse to explore the representation of Slavs and Slavic origins in academia and beyond approaching complex questions of collective identity. The session aims to enable a reflexive discussion on the entanglements of scholarly perspectives, public representations and political use of the Slavic issue, from autochthonist-allochthonist dichotomies, Nazi counter narratives, to communist rule and Marxist interpretations up to current megalomaniac phantasmata built on pseudoscientific and nationalistic notions. All contributions related to the topic are welcome, referring to diverse regions, historical periods and the present, to different political systems and social contexts.


Slavs, Slavic Origins, History of Archaeology, Turboslavism, Autochthonism, Marxism


Karin Reichenbach (Germany), Leibniz-Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO)

Monika Milosavljević (Serbia), Departement of Archaeology, University of Belgrade

Zenta Broka-Lāce (Latvia), Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia

Call for contributions ends on Thursday 11 February 2021, 23:59 CET.

Book Review: A History of Archaeological Tourism: Pursuing Leisure and Knowledge From the Eighteenth Century to World War II

September 3, 2020

Review of: Margarita Díaz-Andreu. A History of Archaeological Tourism: Pursuing Leisure and Knowledge From the Eighteenth Century to World War II. Springer, 2019.

by Kathleen Sheppard (Missouri S&T)

Díaz-Andreu’s newest book is part of the Springer Briefs in Archaeology, Archaeological Heritage Management series. It is a wide-ranging investigation into archaeology, travel, tourism, and leisure. It is well-researched and useful for a number of audiences. Díaz-Andreu’s main goal is clear and two-fold: first, “to explain how tourism for curiosity and tourism for leisure played out around ruins;” and second, to investigate the development of archaeological tourism and understand its separation from archaeology as a profession (1). Through time—the book begins in antiquity—and space—from Europe and the Mediterannean and beyond—Díaz-Andreu does just that.

The first chapter is a well-researched historiography of the history of archaeology, the history of tourism, the history of archaeology and nationalism, and tourism studies. All of these fields come together in the history of archaeological tourism. The second chapter begins in antiquity, and takes the reader from travel to tourism, both philosophically and chronologically. In antiquity, travellers explored the world for both political and educational purposes. As Díaz-Andreu moves the reader into the early modern period, more people are able to travel for curiosity and leisure, which is beneficial for education, too. The Grand Tour becomes a fashionable and more wide-spread activity. Chapter three really dives into archaeological tourism in England, Italy, and France—the closest destinations for the population the author is focused on. Guidebooks proliferated because more and more people were venturing out of their home countries. They also focused on archaeological monuments and remains as draws for visitors. This chapter introduces and goes into depth about nationalism and travel. However, the fourth and fifth chapters move into the 20th century and focus on archaeology and nationalism, and how that impacted travel in the early part of the 20th century, through two world wars. This is one main area of the author’s expertise, and it really shows. Through both the development of tours in other countries and the visiting archaeological remains in their home countries, nationalism became synonmous with travel. An important section within the fifth chapter, “The Promotion of Archaeological Tourism in Right-Wing Dictatorships,” is a salient argument about leisure, the national past, and propaganda. Chapter 6 concludes the whole book, arguing that archaeology plays an important political role in the state, making it essential to support archaeological research and allowing leisure time for its people to enjoy it and learn from it.

A History of Archaeological Tourism is interesting to read, for scholars in tourism studies and the history of archaeology. It is also important for a general interested reader who may be going to see Rome’s material remains for the first, or tenth, time. For scholars, it is easy to see what a broad range of expertise Díaz-Andreu has. Her readers should be familiar with this by now, anyway. As a historian of archaeology and tourism scholar myself, I see so much potential for further study throughout the book. She provides long lists of sources for each chapter, which anyone could use for further reading. Díaz-Andreu recognizes and depends on all the previous work that has been done in these areas. This is not a criticism, per se, but it seems that each chapter could be its own full-length monograph, and even some of the chapter sections could be (and have been!). There is so much detail that could be added, but it is a Springer Brief. Nonetheless, it is useful to have a full synopsis of this work, grounded in original research and a unique theoretical framework, in one full-length book. A note on the publication formatting—if possible, choose the eBook format. It is searchable, sources are linked to the bibliography, and it is very easy to navigate. You can get this on your kindle and notate it as well. 

Robert Leonard Carneiro (4 June 1927–24 June 2020)

August 19, 2020

This post comes to us from Monica Barnes, a HARN administrator and the lead editor of Andean Past.

Robert L. Carneiro in the Field. Photo courtesy of Brett Carneiro.

When Robert Leonard Carneiro died in New Hampshire last month, listening to Beethoven, with his son Brett at his side, one of the longest, and most distinguished careers in anthropology came to an end. While this was not an unexpected shock, the news is melancholy. In this tribute I emphasize Bob’s role in the history and development of archaeology.

Robert Carneiro grew up in the Riverdale neighborhood of New York City’s Bronx borough and lived there for many years as an adult. He attended Riverdale’s prestigious Horace Mann private school. However, instead of going to university in New York, he obtained all of his degrees from the University of Michigan: his B.A. in 1949 with a major in political science, his M.A. in anthropology in 1952, and his doctorate in anthropology in 1957. His mentor was cultural evolutionist Leslie Alvin White (Carneiro et al. 2008; Dillingham and Carneiro 1987; Dole and Carneiro 1960).

Like White, Bob remained a staunch cultural evolutionist throughout his life (Carneiro 1960c, 1964b, 1967, 1968a, 1969a, 1969b, 1970a, 1970c, 1970d, 1972b, 1972c, 1973a, 1973b, 1974a, 1974d, 1979b, 1979d, 1981a, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986b, 1987a, 1987b, 1988a, 1988b, 1988c, 1988d, 1990a, 1990b,1992a, 1992b, 1995, 1996a, 2000b, 2000c, 2002, 2003, 2004a, 2005a, 2005c, 2007a, 2010b, 2012a, 2012b, 2018; Carneiro [editor] 1967; Carneiro and Brown 2007; Carneiro and Tobias 1963), arguing that, over time, most cultures follow a trajectory from simple to more complex, and passing through similar stages. For almost his entire career, he was a curator in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, being hired in 1957 after the premature death of Harry Tschopik (1915–1956; Freed 2012:903–906). In 2010 Carneiro retired as Curator Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at the museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School. However, he continued to be a regular presence in his office until shortly before his death.

Although primarily a South American ethnologist and theorist, as a cultural evolutionist, Bob was archaeology-friendly (Carneiro 2009b, 2013:3) and made real contributions to our field. His work appeared in American Antiquity (Carneiro 1958, 1970e, 1972a, 1974b) and Latin American Antiquity (Carneiro 2000a), arguably the US’s primer archaeology journals. In 1952, on his honeymoon in Cuba with his first wife, Gertrude Evelyn Dole, the couple excavated a cave in Matanzas Province, that contained evidence of the nonagricultural, pre-Taino culture of western Cuba, often called Siboney or Guanahatabey (Barnes 2003; Carneiro 2008).

Carneiro remained alert to archaeology throughout his career. In an early article “An Instance of the Transport of Artifacts by Migratory Animals in South America” (Carneiro 1958), that followed upon an article by Frank Heizer (1944), Carneiro points out that naturalist John Graham Kerr (1950) documented the transport of stone artifacts in the Gran Chaco by rheas, who sometimes swallowed exotic axe heads and hammer stones, probably as large as five centimeters, to serve as gizzard stones. In a thought experiment with Daisy F. Hilse, he applied statistics to an estimate of population growth during the Neolithic in what is known as the “Near East” (Carneiro and Hilse 1966). He attempted to quantify the “cultural development” of the ancient Near East and of Anglo-Saxon Britain (Carneiro 1969b), and he applied his theoretical perspective to predynastic Egypt (Carneiro and Bard 1989). He suggested a method for archaeological seriation (Carneiro 1997c). Bob didn’t hesitate to comment upon archaeology and review the work of archaeologists (Carneiro 1971a, 1971b, 1974b, 1975b, 1984, 1993, 2000a, 2004a, 2009d, 2010a). For example, he reviewed a book on Mississippian political economy (Carneiro 1998a) before he had been to Cahokia and other important Mississippian sites. In 2001 he became an academic advisor to the Research Center for Ancient Civilizations and the Institute of World Prehistory of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In 2006 he was the co-organizer of a symposium on Olmec archaeology at the 52nd meeting of the International Congress of Americanists held in Seville.

Carneiro made substantial contributions to both archaeological and political theory. In an early article entitled “The Culture Process” (Carneiro 1960a) he sets out the general principles and methodology of a processual anthropology as it developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Although, at the time of writing, Carneiro could not have foreseen the development of processural (or “New”) archeology in the 1960s, upon reading his essay, it is easy to draw the conclusion that this theoretical orientation is a direct development from anthropologists’ attempts to discern regularities in culture change through time by defining systems and their components, by searching for laws, and by applying statistical techniques and other explicitly scientific methods. One of Carneiro’s fellow students at Michigan was Louis Binford (1931–2011), a leading developer of New Archaeology (Kuhn and Stiner 2011). The influence of White on both is apparent. As a mature scholar, Carneiro continued to apply processual methodology in his own work (Carneiro 1962, 1968a, 1969b, 1969c, 1970c, 1972a, 1972c, 1988c).

In 1970 Carneiro published his seminal contribution to theories of early state formation. This is the first version of his “Circumscription Theory”, an explanation of how warfare contributed to the development of the state. According to this, civilizations first occurred in six areas–in the Nile Valley, in what is now Peru, in Mesoamerica, in China’s Yellow River Valley, in the Indus River Valley, and in Mesopotamia. Later civilizations ultimately developed from these. In these places, highly concentrated agricultural populations were under ecological constraints. They could not expand their territories because they were “circumscribed” by deserts or other areas of low potential for human settlement. Warfare developed with the aim of gaining control of the resources of neighbors through force. Defeated groups could not flee, because there was nowhere for them to go. They had no choice but to accept the governance of outsiders, and the early state was born.

Carneiro, therefore, postulated that societies evolved from simple, autonomous Neolithic villages into ever-larger and more complex polities, as they passed through various stages of development, including the chiefdom. The culmination of this process was the formation of pre-industrial states and empires. Thus Carneiro saw the development of the chiefdom as a prelude to the formation of the state (Carneiro 1981a, 1991a, 1993, 1998b, 2002, 2004a, 2004c).

According to Carneiro, in areas which were not densely populated, and where resources were evenly distributed, such as the Amazon rainforest, people could flee marauders and the state never developed. 

Published prominently in Science (Carneiro 1970a), the Circumscription Theory has been much debated (Navarra 1997; Rozov 2012; Tenorio 2002) and Carneiro’s 1970 article appeared in many anthologies. An issue of the American Behavioral Scientist (1988) and one of Social Evolution and History (2012) were devoted to a consideration of circumscription and the evolution of society. Carneiro continued to develop his ideas on the subject throughout the rest of his long life (Carneiro 1979b, 1987a, 1988a, 1988b, 1988c, 1988d, 2000c, 2012a, 2012b, 2018).

Ironically, another of Carneiro’s contributions to archaeology helped to debunk the idea of an empty Amazon, a “counterfeit paradise” as Betty Meggars put it (Meggers 1971). Even before he filed his 1957 dissertation, Bob questioned the apparent lack of Amazonian socio-political complexity (Carneiro 2013). He was probably only the second person to recognize the significance of Amazonian “black earth” or “terra preta” as these soils are called in Portuguese. The first was geologist Charles Frederick Hartt. In 1870 Hartt lead eleven Cornell University students to Brazil. In addition to geological sampling, Hartt conducted what were probably the first archaeological excavations in the Amazon. In the course of these he observed that certain soils were darker, and contained more organic material than others in the region. Noting that indigenous inhabitants sought out these earths for their gardens, Hartt postulated that they were anthropogenic and deliberately created. In 1874 Hartt returned to Brazil where he contracted yellow fever and died at age 38. Consequently, his insights were largely forgotten until Carneiro and his first wife, ethnologist Gertrude (Trudie) Evelyn Dole went to the Upper Xingú region of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state in 1953–1954 to work with the Kuikuru (Carneiro 1956–58, 1957a, 1957b, 1961, 1977a, 1978a, 1977b, 1983, 1989b; Dole 1956–57, 1957, 1964, 1978). There Carneiro learned that the Kuikuru maintained these soils precisely because they were more fertile. For many years Bob tried to interest archaeologists, including me, in this phenomenon, having identified these earths as both anthropogenic and ancient because of the pottery they contained. Eventually, beginning in the 1970s geographers, including William Denevan, Wim Sombroek, and William I. Woods (Glaser and 2004; Lehmann et al. 2003; Teixeira et al. 2010; Woods 2013:16; Woods and McCann 1999; Woods et al. 2009) independently discovered the importance of black earths, and more archaeologists began to work in the Amazon.

Our understanding of prehistoric Amazonian settlement patterns has been revolutionized in recent years. We now know that before the epidemics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries C.E. this region was densely populated, and its inhabitants had built extensive stable, and productive man-managed environments.

Although he usually published in top tier anthropology journals, Bob was willing to seek other audiences. His work appeared in periodicals as diverse as Gambling Times (Carneiro 1978b), The Journal of Libertarian Studies (Carneiro 1981b), and Vistas in Astronomy (Carneiro 1995). His interests were wide-ranging. His first published article, which appeared before his dissertation was filed, was on marital freedom among the Kuikuru Indians (Carneiro 1956–58), anticipating current interest in polyamory by many years.

After completing their dissertations Bob and Trudie returned to fieldwork in 1960–1961, this time among the Amahuaca living in Peru’s Upper Ucayli drainage (Carneiro 1964a, 1970b; Dole 1960–1961, 1998). In the 1970s I helped Trudie with the transcription of her (still unpublished) Amahuaca dictionary. It was then that I encountered an article in Time magazine that sensationalized the lethal violence among that group. I asked Trudie how it felt to be living where disputes sometimes turned fatal. She sighed, and said in her slow, mild voice, “You try not to offend them.” 

Carneiro returned to the Kuikuru in 1975. At that time Gertrude Dole’s health, which had suffered as a result of previous field work, prevented her from accompanying him. That year he also worked with the Yanomamö Indians of southern Venezuela (Carneiro 1979a, 1979c). In 1979 Dole and Carneiro divorced. Unlike with most breakups, their friends didn’t have to chose sides. In fact, Trudie remained at the AMNH for many years as Bob’s research associate. 

Meanwhile, Bob married Barbara Bode (13 February 1933–6 January 2020), an anthropologist in her own right. Barbara’s fieldwork had taken her to Guatemala (Bode 1961), Costa Rica (Bode 1968), and Peru. She is the author of No Bells to Toll: Destruction and Creation in the Andes (1989) a study of how the few survivors of a 1970 earthquake and landslide of the Huascaran Valley, Peru, coped with loss, faith, and survival.

Bob’s ethnographic interests went beyond warfare and state formation. Ecology and indigenous technology also interested him deeply throughout his career (Carneiro 1961, 1964a, 1970b, 1975a, 1978a, 1979c, 1983, 1986a, 1994, 2000b, 2007b, 2009c). This aspect of his work can provide archaeologists with useful interpretative frameworks. He wrote about the shifting cultivation (slash and burn) that is now common among Amazonian groups (Carneiro 1960b, 1961, 1964a) and on manioc growing and processing (Carneiro 1983). Hunting and weaponry fascinated him (Carneiro 1970b), as did myth and magic (Carneiro 1970b,1977b, 1989a, 1989b, 2009a).

In terms of museum curation, Carneiro’s most important contribution was, no doubt, his co-curation, with the late E. Craig Morris, of the AMNH’s Hall of South American Peoples, inaugurated in 1989 (Carneiro 2019). He also curated a successful temporary exhibition in 2002 on “Baseball as America”. Bob was proud of having grown up practically in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. When the museum administration wanted an exhibition on the subject, Bob was more than willing to step up to the plate.

Bob was a philosopher in the deepest part of his being. It is not surprising that as a cultural evolutionist he became fascinated by Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), whose theoretical stance was, in some ways, fundamental to his own (Carneiro 1968b, 1973a, 1974c, 1974d, 1981b, 1991b, 1996b, 2005b, Carneiro [editor] 1967, Carneiro and Perrin 2002). Over a fifty year period, Bob collected and indexed quotations by and about Spencer, accumulated articles relevant to Spencer, and helped the AMNH library accumulate monographs by and about Spencer. The quotes are obtainable online: cyclopedia and the printed materials are available in the library.

Bob thought that not just cultures, but the human mind itself was evolving, from a belief in the non-material (or supernatural) towards secularism and rationality. He set out these thought in detail in his self-published book, The Evolution of the Human Mind (Carneiro 2010b).

In addition to his curatorship, Robert Carneiro disseminated his ideas though his teaching at a number of US and Canadian universities. He also served on many editorial boards, thus extending his influence. He received many honors. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1959), a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences (1983) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1999). In 2005 the Department of Anthropology of his alma mater, the University of Michigan, established the Robert L. Carneiro Distinguished University Professorship in Cultural Evolution.

In this tribute I have said little so far about Bob’s persona. Although a New Yorker through and through, he was proud of his Cuban heritage. Slim and handsome, he somehow projected not only a sophisticated Latin vibe, but a bookish one as well. Indeed, his office at the AMNH, the home he shared with Gertrude Dole in Riverdale, the Soho loft he later occupied with Barbara Bode, and, I suppose, the Bode-Carneiro house in Rhode Island had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in every room. In his homes and at the AMNH, he was a paragon of academic hospitality who, with his partners, created spaces that often served as salons open to both senior and junior anthropologists, especially those who were South Americanists. 

At times he could be a dreamy intellectual. In 2009 the late William Woods and I discovered that Bob, an expert on ancient chiefdoms, had never been to Cahokia where Bill Woods had worked earlier in his career. With my husband and colleague, David Fleming, Brazilian archaeologist Lilian Rebellato, Chicago anthropologists Ellen Fitzsimmons Steinberg and Jack Prost, Junie Valhund (the latter a very lively dog), and Bob, we organized an expedition to American Bottom with its abundance of Mississipian sites. Flying back to Newark Airport, our commuter plane was hit by lightning. There was a loud bang, a sudden lurch of the aircraft, and the flight attendant was propelled into the lap of a passenger. Bob and I were sitting in separate rows, so I couldn’t see his reaction. A few days later I asked him if he was scared when our plane was struck. “Our plane was struck by lightning?” he asked. “I didn’t notice.” I had a glimpse of the sang froid (or was it sheer absent-mindedness?) that allowed him to do fieldwork in the remote Amazon.

Polite, charming, interesting, generous, and an excellent correspondent, over the years he formed a large circle of friends and colleagues. We miss him very much. 

Robert Carneiro at Carneiro, Kansas, October 10, 2008. Photo by William I. Woods.


I thank Kirsten Mabel, registrar for archives and loans, American Museum of Natural History for her essential help in constructing the bibliography and the trajectory of Robert L. Carneiro’s life. Brett Carneiro supplied encouragement and the photo at the head of this obituary. David Fleming, as always, urges me to synthesize. 

Works Cited

Barnes, Monica

2003 Gertrude Evelyn Dole (1915–2001). American Anthropologist 105(2):484–486.

Bode, Barbara

1961 Dance of the Conquest of Guatemala. In: Native Theatre in Middle America. Middle American Research 27:204–296. New Orleans, Louisiana: Middle America Research Institute.

1968 Case Study in the Nature of Faith. Human Mosaic 3(1):13–39 (New Orleans, Louisiana).

1989 No Bells to Toll: Destruction and Creation in the Andes. New York: Scribner.

Carneio, Robert L.

1956-58 Extra-Marital Sex Freedom among the Kuikuru Indians of Mato Grosso. Revista do Museu Paulista (São Paulo), n. s. 10:135–142.

1957a Subsistence and Social Structure: An Ecological Study of the Kuikuru Indians. Ph.D. dissertation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

1957b La cultura de los indios kuikuros del brasil central I. La economía de subsistencia Runa: Archivo para las Ciencias del Hombre (Buenos Aires) 8:169–186.

1958 An Instance of the Transport of Artifacts by Migratory Animals in South America. American Antiquity 24(2):192–193.

1960a The Culture Process. In: Essays in the Science of Culture in Honor of Leslie A. White, edited by Gertrude E. Dole and Robert L. Carneiro, pp. 145–161. New York: Thomas E. Crowell Company.

1960b Slash-and-Burn Agriculture: A Closer Look and Its Implications for Settlement Patterns. In: Men and Cultures: Selected Papers of the Fifth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, edited by Anthony F. C. Wallace, pp. 229–234. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 

1960c Review of The Evolution of Culture, by Leslie A. While. Natural History 69(7):5–6.

1961 Slash-and-Burn Cultivation among the Kuikuru and its Implication for Cultural Development in the Amazon Basin. In: The Evolution of Horticultural Systems in Native South America: Causes and Consequences, edited by Johannes Wilbert, pp. 47–67. Antropológica, Supplement Publication 2. Caracas, Venezuela: Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle.

1962 Scale Analysis as an Instrument for the Study of Cultural Evolution Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 18(2):149–169.

1964a Shifting Cultivation among the Amahuaca of Eastern Peru. In: Beträge zur Völkerkunde Südamerikas: Festgabe für Herbert Baldus zum 65. Geburstag, edited by Hans Becher. Vökerkundliche Abhandlungen 1:9–18. Des Niedersächsischen Landesmuseums, Abteilung für Völkerkunde, Kommissions-verlag. Hannover, Germany: Munstermann-Druck GMBH.

1964b Review of Evolution in the Arts and Other Theories of Culture History by Thomas Munro. American Anthropologist 66(6):1399–1402.

1966d Review of The Savage and the Innocent by David Maybury-Lewis. Ethnohistory 13:194–195.

1967 On the Relationship between Size of Population and Complexity of Social Organization. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 23(3):234–243. 

1968a Ascertaining, Testing, and Interpreting Sequences of Cultural Development. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 24(4):354–374.

1968b Herbert Spencer. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences Volume 15:121–128. New York: The Macmillan Company and The Free Press.

1969a The Transition from Hunting to Horticulture in the Amazon Basin. Sovetskaya Etnografiya, (no volume number), pp. 68–78 (in Russian). Republished in English in: Proceedings of the VIIIth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Tokyo and Kyoto, 1968. Volume 3, Ethnology and Archaeology, pp. 244–248. Tokyo (1970).

1969b The Measurement of Cultural Development in the Ancient Near East and in Anglo-Saxon England. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, Series II, 31:1013–1023.

1969c Comments on Historical Inferences from Guttman Scales: The Return of Age-Area Magic by Theodore D. Graves, Nancy B. Graves, and Michael J. Kobrin. Current Anthropology 10(4):327–328.

1970a A Theory of the Origin of the State. Science 169(3947):733–738.

1970b Hunting and Hunting Magic among the Amahuaca of the Peruvian Montaña. Ethnology 9(4): 331–341. 

1970c Scale Analysis, Evolutionary Sequences, and the Rating of Cultures. In: A Handbook of Method in Cultural Anthropology, edited by Raoul Naroll and Ronald Cohen, pp. 833–871. Garden City, New York: The Natural History Press.

1970d Foreword to The Evolution of War by Keith F. Otterbein. New Haven: HRAF Press (unpaginated).

1970e A Quantitative Law in Anthropology. American Antiquity 35(4):492–494.

1971a Review of The Upper Amazon by Donald W. Lathrap. American Journal of Archaeology 75(2): 238–239.

1971b Review of The Upper Amazon by Donald W. Lathrap. Science Books: A Quarterly Review 6:345 (unsigned).

1972a A Quantitative Law Defended. American Antiquity 37(3):449–450.

1972b The Devolution of Evolution. Social Biology 19:248–258.

1972c From Autonomous Villages to the State, a Numerical Estimation. In: Population Growth: Anthropological Implications, edited by Brian Spooner, pp. 64–77. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

1973a Structure, Function, and Equilibrium in the Evolutionism of Herbert Spencer. Journal of Anthropological Research 29(2):77–95.

1973b Classical Evolution. In: Main Currents in Cultural Anthropology, edited by Raoul Naroll and Franda Naroll, pp. 57–123. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

1974a The Four Faces of Evolution. In: Handbook of Social and Cultural Anthropology, edited by John J. Honigmann, pp. 89–110. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company.

1974b A Reappraisal of the Relative Roles of Technology and Organization in the Origin of Civilization. American Antiquity 39(2):179–187.

1974c Herbert Spencer’s The Study of Sociology and the Rise of Social Science in America. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 118(6):540–554.

1974d Commentary on The Evolutionary Theories of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer by Derek Freeman. Current Anthropology 15(3):222–223.

1975a On the Use of the Stone Axe by the Amahuaca Indians of Eastern Peru. Ethnologische Zeitschrift 1:107–122 (Zurich).

1975b Cariapé’: An Instance of the Standardization of Error in Archaeology. Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 6:71–75.

1977a The Afterworld of the Kuikuru Indians. In: Colloquia in Anthropology, edited by Ronald K. Wetherington, Volume 1:3–15. Taos, New Mexico: The Fort Burgwin Research Center.

1977b Recent Observations on Shamanism and Witchcraft among the Kuikuru Indians of Central Brazil. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 293:215–228.

1978a [1979] The Knowledge and the Use of Rain Forest Trees by the Kuikuru Indians of Central Brazil In: The Nature and Status of Ethnobotany, edited by Richard I. Ford, pp. 201–216. Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan 67.

1978b Legalized Football Wagering, An Alternative Approach. Gambling Times 2(8):66-67, 90, 93 (Los Angeles).

1979a Letter from the Field: Life with the Yanomamõ. Rotunda 3(1):4 (American Museum of Natural History).

1979b The Causal Analysis of the Rise of the State: Reply to On Price and Carneiro on Causality by Thomas Bagatzky. Current Anthropology 20(1): 156–157.

1979c Tree Felling with the Stone Ax: An Experiment Carried Out Among the Yanomamõ Indians of Southern Venezuela. In: Ethnoarchaeology: Implications of Ethnography for Archaeology, edited by Carol Kramer, pp. 21–58. New York: Columbia University Press.

1979d Julian Steward and the Evolution of Culture. Review article on Evolution and Ecology, by Julian H. Steward. Reviews in Anthropology 6:287–300.

1981a The Chiefdom: Precursor of the State. In: The Transition to Statehood in the New World, edited by Grant D. Jones and Robert R. Kautz, pp. 37–79, New York: Cambridge University Press.

1981b Herbert Spencer as an Anthropologist. Journal of Libertarian Studies 5:153–210.

1982 Successive Reequilibrations as the Mechanism of Cultural Evolution. In: Self-Organization and Dissipative Structures, Applications in the Physical and Social Sciences, edited by William C. Schieve and Peter Allen, pp. 110–115. Austin: University of Texas Press.

1983 The Cultivation of Manioc among the Kuikuru of the Upper Xingú. In: Adaptive Responses of Native Amazonians, edited by Raymond B. Hames and William T. Vickers, pp. 65–111. New York: Academic Press.

1984 Review of The Evolution of the Prehistoric State by Jonathan Haas. Ethnohistory 31(3):213–214.

1985 Comment on Darwinian Selection, Symbolic Variation, and the Evolution of Culture by David Rindos. Current Anthropology 26(1): 77–78.

1986a Uso do solo e Classificacão da Floresta (Kuikuro). In: Suma Ethnológica Brasileira, edited by Darcy Ribeiro. Volume 1: Etnobiologia, pp. 47–56. Petrópolis, Brazil: Vozes; Finep (Financiadora de Estudos e Projectos).

1986b Back to Evolution: An Interview with Anthropologist Robert Carneiro. Rotunda (11)2:(4–5) (American Museum of Natural History).

1987a Further Reflections on Resource Concentration and Its Role in the Rise of the State. In: Studies of the Neolithic and Urban Revolutions: The V. Gordon Childe Colloquium, edited by Linda Manzanilla, pp. 245–260. BAR (British Archaeological Reports) International Series 349. Oxford.

1987b Cross-Currents in the Theory of State Formation. A review of Development and Decline: The Evolution of Sociopolitical Organization by Henri J. M. Classen, Pieter Van De Velde, and M. Estellie Smith. American Ethnologist 14(4):756–770.

1988a The Circumscription Theory: Challenge and Response. American Behavioral Scientist 31:497– 511(Entire issue devoted to Circumscription and the Evolution of Society).

1988b Reflexiones sobre el origen del estado. Agora: Papeles de Filosofía 5:5–20 (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain).

1988c The Evolution of Complexity in Human Societies and Its Mathematical Expression. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 28:111–128.

1988d Reflexiones adicionales sobre la concentración de recursos y su papel en el surgimiento del estado. In: Coloquio V. Gordon Childe, edited by Linda Manzanilla, pp. 265–281. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

1989a Amazonia: Troubles and Witches Faces 6(1) pp. 34–36.

1989b [1991] To the Village of the Jaguars: The Master Myth of the Upper Xingú. Antropológica (Caracas) 72:3–39.

1990a The Evolution of Law. Faces 7(2):4–8.

1990b Review of The Evolution of Human Societies by Allen W. Johnson and Timothy Earle. Ethnohistory 37(1):105–107.

1991a The Nature of the Chiefdom as Revealed by Evidence from the Cauca Valley of Colombia. In: Profiles in Cultural Evolution, edited by A. Terry Rambo and Kathleen Gillogly, pp. 167–190. Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan 85.

1991b Herbert Spencer. In: International Dictionary of Anthropologists edited by Christopher Winters, pp. 655–656. Compiled by Library-Anthropology Reserve Group (LARG). New York and London: Garland Publishing.

1992a The Role of Warfare in Political Evolution: Past Results and Future Projections. In: Effects of War on Society, edited by Giorgio Ausenda, pp. 87–102. San Marino: Published for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Stress, San Marino: A.I.E.P. Editore (Agenzia Internazionale Edizioni Publicita).

1992b [1993] The Role of Natural Selection in the Evolution of Culture. Cultural Dynamics 5:113– 140 (Leiden).

1993a Review of Chiefdoms: Power, Economy and Ideology, edited by Timothy Earle. Ethnohistory 40(2): 315–317.

1994b Traditional Peoples of South America; Manioc: The Reigning Crop; The Blowgun: The Silent, Deadly Tube. In: The Illustrated History of Humankind, Goran Burenhult, general editor, Volume 5, Traditional Peoples Today, pp. 192–209. Australia: Weldon Owen Pty Ltd/Bra Boker AB and San Francisco: Harper.

1995 Stellar Evolution and Social Evolution: A Study in Parallel Processes. (Abstract) Vistas in Astronomy 39:711. Full paper published in the Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 28:1–23 (2000 [2004]).

1996a Cultural Evolution. In: Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, edited by David Levinson and Melvin Ember, pp. 271–277. Sponsored by Human Relations Area Files, Yale University. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

1996b Review of Herbert Spencer: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography, by Robert G. Perrin. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2(3):563.

1997c A Rapid Method of Archeological Seriation. Anthropological Science 105(3):149–158 (Tokyo).

1998a Review of Mississippian Political Economy by John Muller. Southeastern Archaeology 17(2):8.

1998b What Happened at Flashpoint? Conjectures on Chiefdom Formation at the Very Moment of Conception. In: Chiefdoms and Chieftaincy in the Americas, edited by Elsa M. Redman, pp. 18–42. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

2000a The Native Cultures of the Southern Continent: An Attempted Triangulation. Review article on Indigenous South Americans of the Past and Present by David J. Wilson. Latin American Antiquity 11(1):89–92.

2000b Evolution of the Tipití: A Study in the Process of Invention. In: Cultural Evolution: Contemporary Viewpoints, edited by Gary M. Feinman and Linda Manzanilla, pp. 61–93. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. New York.

2000c The Transition From Quantity to Quality: A Neglected Causal Mechanism in Accounting for Social Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97(23):12926–12931.

2002 Was the Chiefdom a Congelation of Ideas? Social Evolution & History 1:80–100 (Moscow). 

2003 Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology: A Critical History. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

2004a Review of From Leaders to Rulers, edited by Jonathan Haas. American Anthropologist 106(1):191–192.

2004b The Classical Foundations of Cultural Evolutionism. Shi Lin (Historical Review) 1 (Serial 76):1–12 (in Chinese) (Beijing).

2004c Beyond States and Empires: Chiefdoms and Informal Politics. In: The Early State: Its Alternatives and Analogues, edited by Leonid E. Grinin et al. Volgograd, Russia: Uchitel Pub. House.

2005a Review of Leslie A. White: Evolution and Revolution in Anthropology, by William J. Peace. Journal of the Anthropological Institute, n.s. 11(3): 628– 629.

2005b The Influence of Herbert Spencer on the World of Letters. History of Anthropology Annual, edited by Regna Darnell and Frederick W. Gleach, Volume 1, pp. 246–270. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

2005c From Autonomous Villages to the State: An Irresistible Trend in the Grand Sweep of Human History. General Semantics Bulletin 72:15–19.

2007a What Role Does Population Pressure Play in the Evolutionary Dynamics of Marvin Harris? In: Studying Societies and Cultures: Marvin Harris’s Cultural Materialism and Its Legacy, edited by Lawrence A. Kuznar. Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers.

2007b A base ecólogica dos cacicados amazônicos Revista de Arqueologia 20:117–154 (Brazil).

2008 Excavación de una cueva en la provincia de Matanzas. Cuba Arqueológica: Revista Digital de la Arqueologia de Cuba y del Caribe 1(1):32–34 (Havana).

2009a The Sons of the Moon: The Amahuaca Version of a Widespread Amazonian Myth. Amazônica 1(1):54–67 (Belém, Brazil).

2009b There is No Archaeology without Ethnology and Vice Versa. In: Desafios da arqueologia; Depoimentos, edited by Lourdes Dominguez, Pedro Paulo A. Funari, et al., pp. 72–75. Erechim, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: Habilis Editoria.

2009c Una Visión desde el Xingu. In: Los guardianes de la biodiversidad, by Diego de Azqueta Bernar, pp. 25–26. Barcelona: Lunwerg S. L. con la colaboración de Fundación Biodiversidad.

2009d ‘Cariapé’: Um caso de padronizacao de erro em arqueologia. In: Revista da Arqueologia 22:9–13 (Belém, Brazil).

2010a Pauketat’s Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions: A Challenge to Social Evolution. Social Evolution & History 9(1):139–165, plus an answer to Pauketat’s rejoinder, pp. 172–176 (Moscow).

2010b The Evolution of the Human Mind From Supernaturalism to Naturalism: An Anthropological Perspective. New York: Eliot Werner Publications, Inc.

2012a Circumscription Theory: A Clarification, Amplification, and Reformulation. Social Evolution & History 11(2): 34–35 (Moscow: ‘Uchitel’ Publishing House).

2012b Answers to critiques. Social Evolution & History 11(2):131–190.

2013 Reminiscences of a Stalwart Adversary. Andean Past 11:7–14.

2018 The Checkered History of the Circumscription Theory. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse.

2019 The Making of an Exhibit Hall: Bringing to Life Amazonian Indian Culture. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse.

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1957 The Kuikuru Indians of Central Brazil. A film. Approximately 30 minutes.

1964 Shamanism and Political Control among the Kuikuru. Volkerkundliche Abhandlugen 1:53–62.

1960-61 Amahuaca: A Tropical Forest Society in Southeastern Brazil. A film. New York: American Museum of Natural History. Available through the AMNH library.

1978 The Use of Manioc among the Kuikuru: Some Interpretations. In: The Nature and Status of Ethnobotany, edited by Richard I. Ford, pp. 217– 247. Ann Arbor: Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan 67.

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2004 Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time. Berlin; Springer-Verlag.

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2013 Betty Meggers: Her Later Years. Andean Past 11:15–20. 

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2009 Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision. Berlin: Springer.

Monica Barnes

American Museum of Natural History

Book Review: Communities and Knowledge Production in Archaeology

August 11, 2020

This review comes to us from Monica Barnes, a HARN administrator and the lead editor of Andean Past.

Communities and knowledge production in archaeology, edited by Julia Roberts, Kathleen Sheppard, Ulf R. Hansson, and Jonathan R. Trigg. Social Archaeology and Material Worlds series edited by Joshua Pollard and Duncan Sayer. Manchester: Manchester University Press (2020). Hardcover, £80, xvii, 250 pages.

Is knowledge discovered, created, produced, or developed? Whatever the process, who is allowed to participate? Under what intellectual, social, political, historical, economic, and geographic circumstances is it built? The thirteen contributors to Communities and Knowledge Production in Archaeology grapple with these questions and offer profound insights in eleven chapters and an introduction.

The book under review is an important theoretical contribution to histories of archaeology. Most of the contributors draw upon Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought collective, upon Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, and on David Livingstone’s perceptions of the geographies of knowledge. The volume is thematically coherent, with all of the authors exploring some aspect of networks. At the same time it is factually informative as it presents individual case studies.

The starting point of the book was the 2015 European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) session in Glasgow, organized by HARN in the persons of Ulf Hansson, Julia Roberts, Kate Sheppard, Pamela-Jane Smith, and Jonathan Trigg and the HARN conference held in that city immediately before. The papers by Snead, Hansson, de Tomasi, Mihajlovich, and Arwill-Nordbladh were developed from Glasgow presentations and the remainder were invited.

In their Introduction: clusters of knowledge, Roberts and Sheppard state that “this edited volume is the first to apply scientific network theories to the history of archaeology” (p. 1) rather than looking at its development in terms of individual or group biographies, or in terms of institutions alone. How are networks formed and how do they impact the generation and dissemination of knowledge? Very welcome are the book’s explorations of how those with marginal status access archaeology and manage to contribute to it. Among these are, arguably, Czech classicist Antonín Salač, nineteenth century American amateur archaeologists reporting to the Smithsonian Institution, Swedish woman archaeologist Hanna Rydh, and seventeenth century British physician Robert Toope, all discussed in this volume. The introduction is a good review of historiographic trends in the histories of archaeology, albeit a somewhat Eurocentric one. Much of the evidence supporting the analyses presented comes from archives, making the book more original than if it had relied only upon published sources. As a contributor to a volume on the history of our discipline, and the author of several articles on the subject, I could not agree more with Roberts and Sheppard that there is always more to say, and I congratulate the authors on pushing forward with “different people, different methods and different ideas” (p. 2).

The first chapter, “How archaeological communities think: re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought-collective according to the case of Serbian archaeology” by Monika Milosavljević sets the tone of the book. Apart from being a physician and biologist, Fleck was an important philosopher of science. He developed the concepts of “thought collectives” and “thought style”. That is, knowledge is acquired by ever-changing circles of investigators embedded in their particular epochs and environments, and knowledge is a product of these circles. Thus, Fleck makes us aware of the sociology of knowledge production. Fleck saw changing knowledge as occurring not through eureka events, but as a continual process. Milosavljević “retools” Fleck’s theories with other supporting theoretical sources in developing “an applicable methodological strategy” for understanding knowledge production and the history of archaeology. She then uses her methodology to comprehend the culture history school of Serbian archaeology in the twentieth century. Her dense arguments require close reading and careful consideration.

In “Circular 316: archaeology, networks, and the Smithsonian Institution, 1876–79” James E. Snead  reveals a network in which professionals at the US national museum solicited contacts with people we would now consider to be vocational archaeologists. In so doing they integrated observations made throughout the country, often published in newspapers, while navigating tensions between administrators based in Washington and local savants. As Sneed puts it, “. . . such reports demonstrate that antiquities were a common element of American rural life, engaged with interest and curiosity” (p. 36). National institutions tried to gain control over chaotic practice and to coordinate finds and publication, in spite of scarce resources. In this attempt they issued Circular 316 in 1878 “In Reference to American Archaeology”, a fifteen-page document soliciting information on sites, locations, and collections. The result was 216 responses, plus other correspondence. Although neither a catalogue nor a synthesis was ever completed, Circular 316 records present a composite picture of American archaeology in the 1870s.

Francesca de Tomasi also focuses on the second half of the nineteenth century. In “‘More for beauty than for rarity’: the key role of the Italian antiquarian market in the inception of American Classical art collections during the late-nineteenth century” she focuses on the networks of two scholars who served as intermediaries between financially distressed Italian collectors, dealers, and American collectors and museums. Wolfgang Helbig (1839–1915) was the socially prominent Second Secretary of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome. He became the purchaser for wealthy Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen and American purchasers entering the antiquities market for the first time. Through him the Metropolitan Museum of Art indirectly acquired some fine Roman bronze figurines. Helbig published his own original scholarship, but remained in the background so far as purchases were concerned. By contrast, his contemporary, Rodolfo Lanciani (1845–1929) lost his Italian government positions and much of his personal prestige because he facilitated similar purchases.

The contribution by Arthur Weststeijn and Laurien de Gelder also discusses the Italian archaeological scene, but in the mid-twentieth century. “Digging dilettanti: the first Dutch excavation in Italy, 1952–58” opens with the question, “what determines the possibility of an archaeological excavation abroad and its success” (p. 66) and looks at the excavations of two Dutch classicists beneath the Santa Prisca Church on Rome’s Aventine hill. For almost a century, until the 1950s, only Italian scholars were allowed to undertake such research. However, in post-Fascist Europe, Italy opened up to foreigners, among them Carel Claudius van Essen (1899–1963) and Maarten Vermaseren (1918–1985). Although small scale, the Santa Prisca excavation was the first foreign archaeological campaign in Rome since the 1860s. This chapter contextualizes networks that impact practice in an international setting, specifically the formal ones of the foreign institutes in Rome and an informal one of Dutch Catholic “old boys”. 

Excavations were designed to reveal more of a known mithraeum (underground temple dedicated to the god Mithra) and to preserve its wall paintings. There were both successes and failures. Complex adjacent structures were revealed and enough artifacts recovered to create a small on-site museum. Results were reported in both scholarly and popular publications and a good photographic record was made. However, conservation remained problematic and the museum eventually had to close because of theft. Since 2015 the authors have been involved in the Santa Prisca Project, part of a larger effort to make public all archaeological remains on the Aventine Hill. This paper is one result.

Marginality and another foreign institute are examined in “A romance and a tragedy: Antonín Salač and the French School at Athens” by Thea De Armond. Salač (1885–1960) came from a country, Czechoslovakia, which was too small to maintain much of a classicist community. Although he may have been a genuine Francophile, he was annoyed by the use of unpublished epigraphic material by French scholars. His admission to the French School gave him access to that material. Salač’s admission was seen by both sides as advancing French-Czechoslovak relations after the First World War. His first excavations in Greece, in 1923, at the Temple of the Great Gods on Samothrace, had to be in the name of the French School, not in that of the newly-founded Czechoslovakian State Archaeological Institute. Perhaps for that reason, the next year he began work in Turkey. Unrest in Turkey brought him back to Samothrace in 1927, the last year he collaborated in the field with French scholars. Although Czechoslovakia tried to establish an institute in Greece, the Great Depression and World War II seem to have made this impossible. After Czechoslovakia became Communist in the late 1940s, French-Czech relations deteriorated rapidly and Salač’s French ties became a liability, hence the “tragedy” in the title of this chapter.

The title of Anna Gustavsson’s contribution “Geographies of networks and knowledge production: the case of Oscar Montelius and Italy” makes her orientation explicit. Montelius is known for his formulations of European archaeological phases and typology. In this chapter, Gustavsson focuses on his work in Italy, centering herself on David Livingston’s and Simon Naylor’s theories about how regionalism, nationalism, trans-nationalism and internationalism shape the production of knowledge. As a Swedish scholar working in Italy, Montelius (and his wife) had to learn to interact successfully with Italian and non-Italian networks, among them those centered on the German scholar Wolfgang Helbig, discussed by de Tomasi.

It is an unpleasant and rarely acknowledged fact that while many archaeologists build and maintain their networks with collegiality, and even charm, others manage them by instilling fear in their peers and underlings. This seems to have been the case with Adolf Furtwängler (1853–1907) as Ulf R. Hansson makes clear in “‘More feared than loved’: interactional strategies in late-nineteenth-century Classical archaeology: the case of Adolf Furtwängler”. Hansson reviews both the considerable accomplishments of this German Classical archaeologist and the conflicts engendered by his angry, resentful, arrogant, and even paranoid personality. Although dedicated to his field of study, Furtwängler strained his academic networks almost to the breaking point, while cultivating connections with museum curators, dealers, and collectors. Through them he obtained access to objects he needed for building his typologies and analyses. This chapter is important because, as Hansson states “. . . conflict and friction are constant components of knowledge production and its contexts, affecting where, why, how and by whom knowledge is produced, disseminated, accepted or rejected” (p. 146). 

Women have been, and by some measures still are, marginalized in archaeology. This is apparent from the fact that, among the individuals discussed in the book under review, only Hanna Rydh is female. In “When the modern was too new: the permeable clusters of Hanna Rydh”, Elizabeth Arwill-Nordbladh acquaints us with the personal situation, career trajectory, and thought of Swedish archaeologist, folklorist, and feminist Hanna Rydh (1891–1964). Latour’s actor-network theory is useful here. Arwill-Nordbladh highlights not just actors and networks, but non-human phenomena such as physical objects and perceived realities which Latour calls “actants”. Also relevant to Arwill-Nordbladh’s analysis are post-processual concepts such as the mutual relationship between subject and object as formulated by Ian Hodder, Arjun Appadurai’s social life of things, Alfred Gell’s secondary agency, the agential realism of Karen Barad, and Bjørnar Olsen’s material symmetry. The geography of knowledge is important here, too. Rydh herself was influenced by Émile Durkheim through Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert. As Awill-Nordbladh points out, “. . . specific formal and informal networks were crucial in the process of producing the knowledge” [expressed in Rydh’s articles] (p. 196). These networks were sometimes male-dominated and, for Rydh, included those of Oscar Montelius, discussed in Gustavsson’s chapter. Also important to her was an academic female network and a strong family support network.

That family was a prosperous one. Rydh’s parents saw that she was well educated, and she became one of the first women in Sweden to obtain a doctorate. She was both fortunate and unfortunate in her first marriage. She was fortunate because in her husband, Bror Schittger, she found both a domestic partner and an intellectual companion. She was unfortunate because of his early death in 1924 at age 40. In 1922 Hanna was awarded an important scholarship that she used to study the Palaeolithic in France. After Schittger’s death Rydh finished his archaeological work, produced a book on the Upper Palaeolithic with popular appeal, and developed heritage tours and books, as well as books for children. In this, her work paralleled the publications of Rydh’s British contemporaries as described in Amara Thornton’s Archaeologists in Print: Publishing for the People, reviewed earlier on this HARN blog. However, in the late 1920s, Rydh’s work took a turn towards discussion of the symbolic meaning of motifs in Chinese and Scandinavian Neolithic pottery and the mythical meaning of seasonal rituals. This did not make much impact on later research, possibly because her gender. However, she seems to have anticipated the concerns of Ian Hodder and other post-processual archaeologists by some fifty years.

Prior to the autumn of 1894, James Henry Breasted (1865–1935) found himself with a new Ph.D. in Egyptology, but no field experience in Egypt. He understood that this was necessary for him to be taken seriously as a professional, and he certainly welcomed the opportunity to become familiar with the place that was the focus of his advanced studies. In “‘Trying desperately to make myself an Egyptologist’: James Breasted’s early scientific network”, Kathleen Sheppard reveals the ways that Breasted built his networks, incorporating two senior Egyptologists as nodes. The first was Flinders Petrie (1853–1942), a self-taught British archaeologist known to be an innovative excavator. Breasted worked for Petrie briefly, and they became friends and long-term correspondents. The second was Gaston Maspero (1846–1916). Maspero was, for a while, the director of the Egyptian Department of Antiquities and, as such, a very influential person. Most Egyptologists seemed to have had good relationships with Maspero, and Breasted was no exception. However, he was never as intellectually and emotional close to Maspero as he was to Petrie. Also drawing on the insights of David Livingstone, Sheppard argues that while “scientific knowledge bears the imprint of its location” (p. 175 quoting Livingstone), collegial relationships also bear the imprint of location. “Where science is done depends on who is able to, or allowed to, participate in the creation of knowledge” and “the reverse is also true, that is, who is allowed to create knowledge depends on where science is done” (ibid.). 

In “Frontier gentlemen’s club: Felix Kanitz and Balkan archaeology”, Vladimir V. Mihajlović outlines  Kanitz’s (1829–1904) contributions to nineteenth century understanding of the geography and ancient cultures of Serbia and Bulgaria. Kanitz was born in what is now Budapest and trained as an artist. Both Kanitz and his teacher, Vincenz Grimm, were well-connected. Kanitz established a base in Vienna where he became a newspaper correspondent. In 1858, he visited southeastern Europe for the first time to report on political upheavals. After that trip he became more and more interested in the study of that part of the world, a region that was not then well known outside its own borders. As his interests broadened, he laid the foundation of Serbian archaeology, publishing scientific works on Roman and Byzantine finds. Kanitz spent a decade and a half studying Bulgarian lands and population and continued studying Serbia. In these projects his networks provided great support.

Jonathan R. Trigg sets himself the difficult task of accessing the contributions of someone who left no first person accounts of his work, and about whom there is little contemporary documentation. “Re-examining the contribution of Dr Robert Toope to knowledge in later seventeenth-century Britain: was he more than just ‘Dr Took’?” reconstructs the duel careers of Toope (ca. 1650?–1693?) as physician and as antiquarian. Toope recovered bones from a cemetery of unknown age at the Sanctuary at Avebury and from him comes our only knowledge of that burial ground. He used the bones in compounding medicines, a common practice in his day. Evidently Toope communicated his observations to John Aubrey, who did record some of them. Toope also seems to have excavated the West Kennet Long Barrow. Robert Toope influenced his contemporaneous and near-contemporaneous antiquarians, and, through Aubrey and William Stukeley, had impact on later ones, including Sir Richard Colt-Hoare. As Trigg demonstrates, present day archaeologists also need to take him seriously. 

All of the papers in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology discuss the broad political milieus in which archaeologists had to operate. Shifts over time required constant readjustment as De Armond stresses. We have every reason to believe that this is still the case. For the past several decades in North America and Europe, it has been necessary to adopt what Americans call a Progressive political orientation in order to do academic archaeology. Nowhere is this explicitly stated, but it is made clear to students. Recently sexual harassment, even sexual exploitation, has emerged as an issue determining who gets to be an archaeologist, as has the ability to participate in heavy drinking bouts and/or recreational drug use. We have much to learn from the past, and I hope we can apply our lessons to the present and future.

A unified bibliography not only supports the analyses presented in this book, it provides many leads for further investigations, although it is, of course, not a complete guide. With two exceptions, the book under review does not go beyond European archaeology. Although this slim volume is expensive at £80, it is beautifully produced on good quality semi-gloss paper, but with a perfect, not sewn, binding. My copy is beginning to split after two readings. The price of this book may limit its readership, but if you can get your hands on it, do so. You will be both entertained and informed.

Sexual harassment, COVID-19, new publications, and me

July 15, 2020

This post comes to us from Monica Barnes, a HARN administrator and the lead editor of Andean Past.

In recent weeks, my field, Andean archaeology, has been rocked by multiple, credible accusations of quid pro quo sexual abuse committed by some of the most powerful and renowned figures in our subdiscipline.

Those of us who are neither perpetrators of abuse, nor its direct victims, have been propelled into a lot of soul-searching, and we have been experiencing many disturbing emotions. Some of us have been complicit, but most of us have been clueless. We have come to understand that it is not just the direct victims, disproportionately women, who have suffered. Those who refused to acquiesce have also been harmed, because we have been frozen out of many professional possibilities that would otherwise have been accessible to us. Likewise, men who do not participate in abuse have sometimes been pushed to the margins. Although we are now supportive of the victims in general, women whose careers were perhaps advanced because of their sexual relationships with power brokers have seen their academic reputations diminished. Did they come to prominence on their own merits, or were they helped as a reward for their acquiescence? No one should be the subject of ‘blame the victim’ gossip, but they are. The reputations of institutions, built through the efforts of many people over decades, have been badly damaged. Students, especially female students, many with real talent and a sense of vocation, have left the field because of the exploitative power structure that has developed. The public esteem in which Andean archaeology was held has crumbled. This will affect future funding, already seriously menaced by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the alleged abuses occurred in the United States or in Peru. While archaeology, especially archaeology carried out abroad, is not especially important to the US as a whole, in Peru it is a core aspect of national identity. Thus a small number of Peruvians and foreigners have dishonored that country.

Where was I in all this? Basically, among the clueless, not being privy to whisper networks. However, three times in my long career I have sensed that I was frozen out because of my unwillingness to participate in sexual exploitation. Ironically, the last time it was because I refused to formally denounce someone who had not, in fact, harassed me. The men involved are two unrelated Andean archaeologists and one Egyptologist, the latter now deceased. None have been mentioned in recent blogs or press articles. 

So why did I not protest at the time? I think it was because of a cynicism I began to develop in childhood. I grew up in a very corrupt small city. The mayor used his office for personal profit, the town’s main employer devised dirty tricks to control union workers, and a specialized brothel was regionally (in)famous. Many clergymen, small business owners, and teachers were woke, but too intimidated to protest. All of this has been exhaustively documented by historian John Hoerr in And the Wolf Finally Came.

When I encountered various forms of corruption, including sexual exploitation, as an adult, I thought they were morally wrong, but that of the one thousand and one ways of dealing with the tiger, the first and best is to walk around him. Certainly that was the safest. Evidently, a lot of people made the same decision. I applaud the women who did not, those who found the courage to tell their stories, often after long silences, and who are sometimes able to present documentary proof and/or the corroborating testimony of others. 

As always in difficult times, I take comfort in my work editing academic volumes on the archaeology and ethnohistory of western South America. Through it I can make lasting, positive contributions to my field that transcend the evil that men do. I have renewed my resolve not to solicit peer reviews from people known to use the process to promote their favorites and inhibit the advancement of others. The semi-isolation that COVID-19 has imposed upon me (and almost everyone else on the planet) has liberated much time for intense concentration. With all my in-person meetings cancelled from last March until at least the beginning of next year, with travel and social life impossible, and without physical access to the American Museum of Natural History where I conduct research, I have been able to complete complex projects that have literally taken decades to come to fruition. These include two volumes in our Andean Past Monographs series. Like all Andean Past publications, they are green route, open-access works. 

The first, Life, Death, and Burial Practices during the Inca Occupation of Farfán on Peru’s North Coast by Carol J. Mackey and Andrew J. Nelson. Andean Past Monograph 2 (2020) had its gestation more than twenty years ago, when Mackey began excavations at Farfán. Work at the site continued until 2004, and was followed by several years of lab analysis. As the title suggests, this volume reports on Inca burials. Bioarchaeologist Andrew J. Nelson analyzed the human remains recovered. An important provincial center, Farfán was occupied successively by the Lambayeque, Chimu, and Inca cultures. This monograph postulates that female Inca burials at Farfán were those of aqlla, the “chosen women”, virgins who played important roles variously as weavers of fine cloth and brewers of chicha, as high status brides of important men, as religious officiants, and as the victims of human sacrifices. Farfán is one of only three sites where aqlla burials have been scientifically excavated. Tomb architecture is revealed, and grave goods are illustrated and analyzed. Included is a complete illustrated inventory of ceramics recovered and analyses of textiles and camelid bones, as well as isotopic studies.

The second volume to be published by Andean Past this year is Prehistory of the Ica-Nazca Litoral, Peru by the late Patrick Henry Carmichael and the late Alana Cordy-Collins. Andean Past Monograph 3 (2020).

Maritime resources played a significant economic role in the prehistoric coastal communities of Central and Northern Peru, and, prior to the current study, based upon survey conducted by Carmichael in 1989–90, it was reasonable to assume they were equally important on the South Coast. In the 1980s, researchers postulated that the Nasca culture of the Early Intermediate Period was a state-level society based on inland agriculture, heavily augmented by aquatic foodstuffs gathered and processed at coastal settlements. Carmichael calls this the Nasca Maritime Hypothesis. It envisioned permanent, ocean front towns providing massive amounts of marine resources to inland centers, in exchange for agricultural produce. The research reported here was designed to test this hypothesis by means of a systematic ground survey covering a fifteen kilometer wide strip back from the shores, stretching from the north end of the Bahía de la Independencia to the southern boundary of the Bahía San Nicolás, a two hundred kilometer straight-line distance more than doubled by the winding coastline, and encompassing all of the coastlands opposite the inland valleys of Ica and Nazca. In the process, sites from all time periods were recorded, and all ecological zones within the study area were sampled, providing the first comprehensive overview of human exploitation of the landscape in this region through time.

Andean Past Monograph 3 also includes a report by Alana Cordy-Collins on her visit to Carhua, a site within Carmichael’s survey zone that was said to have produced Chavín style painted textiles.

To download these volumes (and several older ones) I invite you to visit:

Happy reading, and be well!