World Archaeological Congress


Newsletter: Volume 27 April 2009

Contributions to the next WAC Newsletter due 18th May 2009

Archaeologists Without Borders Workshop

Report on the website of the World Archaeological Congress

Archaeologies of Art Podcast Series Launched!

Call for WAC members to nominate Indigenous people

World Archaeological Congress honors Larry Zimmerman

Dr Andree Rosenfeld

Recommendation on ERA Draft Quality Ranking

WAC-6 Media Releases

WAC-6 Closing Ceremony Speech

Portuguese WAC-6 Media Releases

German WAC-6 Media Releases

Spanish WAC-6 Media Releases

Turkish WAC-6 Media Releases

Czech. WAC-6 Media Release on Iran



Ethnographies of Archaeological Practice

Cultural Encounters, Material Transformations


April 2006

216 pages, 20 b/w illustrations
ISBN 0-7591-0845-5 Paberback
ISBN 0-7591-0844-7 Hardback

Description of Book

Ethnographic perspectives are often used by archaeologists to study cultures both past and present - but what happens when the ethnographic gaze is turned back to look at archaeological practices themselves? That is the question posed by this book, challenging our ideas about relationships between subject and object, observer and observed, explainers and explained.

This book explores the production of archaeological knowledge from a range of ethnographic perspectives. Fieldwork spans large parts of the world, with sites in Turkey, the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany, the USA and the United Kingdom being covered. Chapters focus on excavation, inscription, heritage management, student training digs and many other aspects of archaeological practice. These experimental ethnographic studies are situated on the intersection of archaeology and anthropology, questioning basic tenets of both disciplines and moving towards a more holistic study of the past.

Shorter Description of Book

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, it argues, 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.


Contributors: Thomas Yarrow (Cambridge, UK); David Van Reybrouck and Dirk Jacobs (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Katholieke Universiteit Brussel, Belgium); Charles Goodwin (UCLA, Berkeley, USA); Blythe E. Roveland (St. John's University, New York, USA); Jonathan Bateman (Council for British Archaeology, York, UK); Cornelius Holtorf (University of Lund, Sweden); John Carman (Birmingham University, UK); Oguz Erdur (Columbia University, USA); Michael Wilmore (University of Adelaide, Australia); Angela McClanahan (University of Manchester, UK); Hakon Karlsson and Anders Gustafsson (Gothenborg University and National Heritage Board, Gothenburg University, Sweden); Denise Maria Cavalcante Gomes (Universidad de Sao Paolo, Brazil); Timoteo Rodriguez (UCLA Berkeley, USA); Lisa Breglia (Wesleyan University, USA).

Editor: Matt Edgeworth is an archaeologist and social anthropologist whose main research focuses on the interface between the two disciplines. He is currently working freelance for archaeological units in the United Kingdom, directing excavation and other fieldwork projects

(more details in Marketing Questionnaire)

Table of Contents

Forward by Heather Burke and Alejandro Haber

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Multiple Origins, Development and Potential of Ethnographies of Archaeology by Matt Edgeworth.

2. Sites of Knowledge: Different Ways of Knowing an Archaeological Excavation by Thomas Yarrow

3. The Mutual Constitution of Natural and Social Identities During Archaeological Fieldwork by David Van Reybrouck and Dirk Jacobs.

4. A Linguistic Anthropologist's Interest in Archaeological Practice by Charles Goodwin

5. Reflecting Upon Archaeological Practice: Multiple Visions of a Late Paleolithic Site in Germany by Blythe E. Roveland

6. Pictures, Ideas, and Things: The Production and Currency of Archaeological Images by Jonathan Bateman

7. Studying Archaeological Fieldwork in the Field: Views from Monte Polizzo by Cornelius Holtorf

8. Digging the Dirt: Excavation as a Social Practice by John Carman

9. Realisafiction: A Day of Work at Everybody-Knows-Land by Oguz Erdur

10. Landscapes of Disciplinary Power: An Ethnography of Excavation and Survey at Leskernick by Michael Wilmore

11. Histories, Identity and Ownership: An Ethnographic Case Study in Archaeological Heritage Management in the Orkney Islands by Angela McClanahan

12. Among Totem-Poles and Clan Power in Tanum, Sweden by Hakon Karlsson and Anders Gustafsson

13. Amazonian Archaeology and Local Identities by Denise Maria Cavalcante Gomes

14. Conjunctures in the Making of an Ancient Maya Archaeological Site by Timoteo Rodriguez

15. Complicit Agendas: Ethnography of Archaeology as Ethical Research Practice by Lisa Breglia

Author Biographies



"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." Mark Leone, University of Maryland