Worlds of Archaeology & Indigenous Archaeologies PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 May 2009 22:45

Published by AltaMira Press. Visit AltaMira Press at WAC has two book series with AltaMira:

Worlds of Archaeology

Series Editors: Alejandro Haber and Heather Burke

The aim of the Worlds of Archaeology Series is to use the global diversity of archaeology to access new, disparate and challenging ways of imagining the past. If there is only one world archaeology, then there is only one canon. This constructs a false homogeneity, which limits the imagination. World archaeology is not well represented when it is translated into this straightjacket. One of the major aims of this series is to communicate the lived experiences of archaeology in different parts of the world. Not only are there many different geographical and political worlds, but there are as many different ways of imagining archaeology as there are cultural experiences of it. The incredible regional diversity inherent in WAC is linked to different conceptual ways of imagining the past and the many social roles that are fulfilled by the practice of archaeology. These social, cultural and political kaleidoscopes are ultimately personal, producing ever-changing patterns of interaction and interpretation. This series will explore the relationships between the multiplicity of archaeological practices and perspectives and the many ways in which the world is experienced. The challenge for this series is to transpose these differences in lived experiences into the written form.

This series is explicitly devoted to foregrounding many different voices, including those from formerly silenced parts of the world, and making them available in a way which has never before been realised. By simultaneously integrating and connecting these voices within and between countries it also reaches across many divides: not only across geographical, cultural and academic boundaries, but also across theoretical and methodological divides. The issues that will be addressed are therefore fundamental to archaeological theory and practice in all parts of the world.

It is sometimes the case that Western representations of world archaeology seem to be a mapping of colonial ties, with the material interpreted through the lens of British or American eyes, rather than through the eyes of the archaeologists who are from the countries being studied and who have to live with the social consequences of their work. A comparable process occurs within countries, as internal colonialism, where archaeologists return to the cities after they have conducted their fieldwork in remote areas. Thus, one focus of this series is the context within which knowledge is produced. The concern is not only with who is speaking but also with how the author's perspectives are constructed through colonialism and the particular cultural experience of being an archaeologist in that place at that time. Moving beyond the straightjacket of hegemonic discourse has the potential to expand the archaeological imagination and the relevance of archaeology to the contemporary world.

Editorial policies, too, are mapped within these post-colonial relationships. A fundamental problem with how archaeology is disseminated globally concerns the manner in which audiences and themes are constructed. Both are part of the framework of those who write, deriving from a relatively narrow band within Western academia, and those who read. This is self-feeding cycle, considering that the pedagogical discourses depend on these same editorial policies. This process masks the many regional strengths that exist in archaeology across the world. This series aims to reverse this process by highlighting and promoting regional theoretical and methodological strengths. The issues that will be addressed are fundamental to archaeological theory and practice worldwide.

The principal innovation of this series is that it is consciously structured to facilitate dialogue and critical exchange both within and between countries. Volume editors and authors will be encouraged to structure their books so that they reflect the global diversity of WAC, not only in content but also in style and format. Papers can be submitted in the first language of the author, but the final versions will be published in English. Where possible co-publication will be arranged in other languages. We encourage people to write in their own intellectual traditions and literary styles, rather than work within the straightjacket of the Western canon.

This series draws upon work conducted in all parts of the world. Royalties from these books are donated to the World Archaeological Congress, to support the travel of people from economically disadvantaged communities or countries to WAC conferences. The pricing structure of this series is designed to enable a substantial quantity of the print run to be distributed free of charge to libraries and other public institutions in low income countries.

April 2006 / 216 pages
ISBN 0-7591-0845-5 Paper $24.95 / ISBN 0-7591-0844-7 Cloth $72.00
To order, call 800.462.6420 or order online at for a 15% online discount!

It can be ordered outside the USA through the distributors NBN International.

Available on Amazon and other online booksellers

Upcoming titles in the Worlds of Archaeology Series

Colonial Contact Zones: The archaeology of an Australian mission

Jane Lydon, PhD, Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies
Monash University, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

From their inception Australia's colonial administrations attempted to confine Indigenous people within Christian farming villages. A humanitarian framework determined how the missions were popularly perceived, then and now: as brave 'experiments' during the 1860s, or later as homes for a dying race, and more recently as either refuges that saved Aboriginal people from extinction, or else the instrument of dispossession and child removal.

Through collaborative research with the Indigenous community at the former Ebenezer Mission, north-west Victoria, this study moves away from framing the missions as either 'good' or 'bad', a perspective that marginalizes the agency of Indigenous peoples, and exaggerates the homogeneity of white managers. Instead, conceptualizing former Aboriginal reserves as 'contact zones' shifts our attention to the complex cross-cultural engagement that was played out at these places, often landscapes rich with Indigenous meaning. Archaeological perspectives on these key colonial sites reveals the limits of evangelists' active propagandizing, as well as the actual difficulties they encountered on the ground. Gender organization and the domestic spaces constructed within the reserves emerge as crucial spaces of encounter. Colonial Contact Zones draws on new visual and material sources to explore the process of exchange between Indigenous people and the missionaries that came to Australia during the nineteenth century. 



Books published in the Worlds of Archaeology series

Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia

Denis Byrne, PhD Cultural Heritage Division
Department of Environment and Conservation, NSW, AUSTRALIA

Surface Collection tackles some of the most complex and troubling issues in heritage management and the tangible and intangible traces of 'public memory'. Unlike other archaeological treatments of these issues, however, it adopts the form of a travelogue, leavening the seriousness of these issues with the pleasures of travel.

Surface Collection relates a number of personal experiences in Southeast Asia by an archaeologist who is concerned at the way that so many of the region's heritage sites and landscapes seem silent about the disturbing and sometimes catastrophic events in modern history that have occurred there. It takes the reader into the local landscape, to observe the ways in which archaeological heritage management buries the past as much as it reveals it. Efforts to stave off ruin and decay excise old places from the realm of living social practice, just as sites of the region's modern, often traumatic history are discursively 'buried' below the landscape of an ancient and often heavily mythologised 'national' past.

Click here for a full description of the book.

"In this spellbinding set of essays Byrne has successfully charted a new direction in writing archaeology and heritage. Surface Collection interweaves indigenous religion, politics and heritage ethics in innovative and provocative ways, bringing the unique materialities of Southeast Asia within the large framing of contemporary social archaeology. It is quite simply a tour de force."
-Lynn Meskell, Stanford University


Ethnographies of Archaeological Practice

Cultural Encounters, Material Transformations

Matt Edgeworth, PhD (editor)
Albion Archaeology, Bedford, UK

This book challenges the conventional outward-looking direction of the anthropological and archaeological gaze. In order to fully understand forms of cultural production in the past we also need to investigate - through turning the ethnographic perspective back onto ourselves - how knowledge of the past is produced by archaeologists in the present.

Ethnography of archaeology is a relatively new field that has yet to come fully to the surface of academic debate. It promises to challenge current views of archaeological practice, while at the same time extending the scope of anthropological observation into hitherto unexplored (or rather, unreflected upon) domains of human experience. The perspectives it provides are original, innovative, unconventional. Its aims are to transform perception, so that the practices of archaeology - so familiar to its practitioners - can be re-encountered. No archaeologist who reads this book will see his or her profession in quite the same way again.

Click here for a full description of the book


Jonathan Bateman, Lisa Breglia, John Carman, Matt Edgeworth, Oguz Erdur, Denise Maria Cavalcante Gomes, Charles Goodwin, Anders Gustafsson, Cornelius Holtorf, Dirk Jacobs, Hakon Karlsson, Angela McClanahan, David Van Reybrouck, Timoteo Rodriguez, Blythe E. Roveland, Michael Wilmore, Thomas Yarrow

"Ethnographies of Archaeological Practice shows the best results of how and why the daily life of archaeology works. Here are the questions asked, the range of methods used, the best investigators' work, and the results. The book tells us what should be done next and provides a model of how to do a more effective archaeology using ethnographic examination of archaeological work."

Matt Edgeworth directs excavation and other fieldwork for archaeological units in the UK.


Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 02:58
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