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CONTEMP-HIST-ARCH  May 2004

CONTEMP-HIST-ARCH May 2004

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Subject:

FW: Conference on Archaeological Historiography

From:

Dan Hicks <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Dan Hicks <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 May 2004 15:40:04 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (97 lines)

Forwarded from Dr Andrew Martin, Department of Archaeology,University of
Cambridge <[log in to unmask]>

Past Perspectives: Future Directions? The Value of A Critical
Historiography for the Practice of Archaeology
Conference on Archaeological Historiography, 26th & 27th June 2004,
McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge

The writing of ‘Histories of Archaeology’ has often been regarded as a
disciplinary sideline having little part to play in the construction of
new archaeological knowledge.  One reason for this is that the majority of
papers that have passed for the ‘History of Archaeology’ are merely
exercises in documenting the intellectual progress of specific niches
within the discipline of archaeology.  Knowledge is shown to be constantly
increasing as archaeologists have chipped away at the frontiers of the
known.  In this way historical accounts of the past read as if there was
an orderly progressive development of the discipline.  Such ‘Whiggish’
accounts are often in danger of ignoring differences or deviations from
the ‘established path of development’ and the contributions these made.

However, recent critical and problem-oriented historiographies have done
much to readdress the balance, and, many exciting studies have now been
done.  Yet, the fact remains that the significance of this recent work has
yet to make a critical impact on the wider archaeological community.  The
aim of this conference is to review the ways that histories of archaeology
have impacted current archaeological thought and practice.

For example, one of the discoveries is the amount of difference in
traditions of study, departments or even specialist subjects - something
that is often overlooked or recorded as an inevitable chronological
development in potted histories.   However, the discovery by historians of
where these differences came from and the length of their coexistence with
other contrasting ideas reveal differences to be far from inevitable
developments.  These revelations encourage the use of historiographic
methods to record the specific influences for differences.  It is also
through this fine sifting of archives that the ways in which differences
have influenced our field have been revealed.

While these discoveries have helped us to understand our field more
critically, they also have ramifications for our understanding of
archaeological traditions.  Historiographies have exposed the fact that
archaeologists see the cultural traditions they work with in the same way
as their own traditions of thought - as unilinear entities.  The
differences from the norm in past cultural traditions are often ignored as
anomalies or regarded as chronological developments, but not as
conflicting ideas.  Thus the impact of differences in cultural or social
change has been little studied.  This is not least because Ethnography,
Archaeology’s primary source of understanding, is less capable of
revealing the impact of difference on change due to its lack of historical
perspective.

Historians of Archaeology are much better placed to address these and
other assumptions, and their insights present Archaeology with fresh ways
of interpreting culture and change.

Payment: The cost, per person, incl. 2 nights accommodation, breakfast,
lunch & banquet
is £100 (or £35 for lunches & banquet). Made payable to the “University of
Cambridge”.
Contact: Dr. Andrew Martin, Department of Archaeology, email:
[log in to unmask]

List of Speakers (so far)

Bruce Trigger (Mc Gill University, Canada)

Prof. Tim Murray (La Trope University, Australia)

Prof. Alice Kehoe (University of Wisconsin)

Dr. Koji Mizoguchi (Kyoto University, Japan)

Dr. Tim Taylor & Peter Bray (University of Bradford)

Dr. Dan Hicks  (University of Bristol)

Dr. Gordon Barclay (Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments)

Fabio Herring (University of Durham)

Dimitrios Grigoropoulos (University of Durham)

Dr. Margarita Diaz-Andreu (University of Durham)

Prof. Matthew Johnson (University of Durham)

Dr. Robin Boast (University of Cambridge)

Dr. David Mercer (University of Cambridge)

Pamela Smith (University of Cambridge)

Prof. Michael Hoskins (University of Cambridge)

Dr. Andrew Martin (University of Cambridge)

Dr Nathan Schlanger? (AREA project, Inst. National d’Historire de l’Art)

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