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Med historien i ryggen: Om den arkeologiska uppgiften
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
With history at our backs : On the archaeological mission (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation explores the boundaries of archaeology. Its subject is an archaeological practice that no longer seems to be able to challenge our modern conception of the world. We are faced with an archaeology that takes the form of a conservative and repetitive practice, because of the discipline’s demand that discussions on epistemology and ontology within its discourse should be incorporated in a presupposed teleological assignment. They must be part of the modern archaeological project or else their critique is irrelevant.

The initial disappointment is transformed into an inquisitive exploration of archaeology’s limitations. At the archaeological frontier several keywords are used to illustrate the architecture of that archaeological space. Concepts such as narrative, time, the trace and reality act as themes for a conversation on archaeology and the archaeological. Postprocessual archaeology is called upon as a primary discussant in this conversation, playing the part of a textual embodiment of a virtual archaeological formula. One major component of this formula that is discussed is archaeology’s connection to the historical. History as a narrative form, as a perspective on time and as a metanarrative to refer our statements to, is found to be a metaphysical fundament for the archaeological project, delimiting our understanding of the temporal relationship between the past and the present.

The thesis briefly discusses an alternative nostalgic archaeology but this hypothetical post-historic archaeology can never be articulated, since its destiny will be the same as all other similar attempts within archaeology – i.e. to become part of an updated modern archaeological practice. The exploration then ends with an insight that there is no escape from either archaeology or modernity. What is left is only to point out the boundaries, and to let the dreams of freedom that go beyond them keep us from falling into a discursive sleep.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Arkeologi , 2005. , 186 p.
Occasional papers in archaeology, ISSN 1100-6358 ; 37
Keyword [en]
Archaeology, archaeology, theory, historiography, narrative, time, postprocessual archaeology, modernity
Keyword [sv]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4808ISBN: 91-506-1795-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4808DiVA: diva2:165840
Public defence
2005-04-29, Geijerssalen, Engelska Parken. Humanistiskt centrum, Hus 6, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2005-03-07 Created: 2005-03-07Bibliographically approved

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