This article addresses the relations between archaeology and social anthropology, as exemplified by archaeological research in the Middle East. It is argued that further integration between both disciplines, as well as between archaeological theories, methods and data, is necessary. As an example of such an 'archaeology of relations', an analysis of domestication in the prehistoric Middle East is presented in summary.
Relating the Past and the Present
Dig Less, Catalog More
Julia A. King
By now, it’s a truism that collections-based archaeological research is a good thing, a productive enterprise yielding new and sometimes transformative discoveries about the past. Indeed, who can forget how Helene Valladas and her colleagues (1988
Toward a Prehistory of Human-Animal Relations
The discipline of archaeology has long engaged with animals in a utilitarian mode, constructing animals as objects to be hunted, manipulated, domesticated, and consumed. Only recently, in tandem with the rising interest in animals in the humanities and the development of interdisciplinary animal studies research, has archaeology begun to systematically engage with animals as subjects. This article describes some of the ways in which archaeologists are reconstructing human engagements with animals in the past, focusing on relational modes of interaction documented in many hunting and gathering societies. Among the most productive lines of evidence for human-animal relations in the past are animal burials and structured deposits of animal bones. These archaeological features provide material evidence for relational ontologies in which animals, like humans, were vested with sentience and agency.
Some Examples from Spanish Museums
Lourdes Prados Torreira
Archaeological museums in the twenty-first century carry a clear responsibility toward society today. They necessarily aspire to becoming open spaces in which the many different social groups that make up our citizenship are represented. These must
Disentangling Provenance, Provenience, and Context in Vanuatu Assemblages
James L. Flexner
untapped source of information that can be used to explore basic questions necessary to the larger theories we build about the past. In exchange, archaeological investigations of museum collections provide opportunities for museums to increase their
Collections Care at the Laboratory of Archaeology
In October 2015, the Musqueam Indian Band and the Laboratory of Archaeology (LOA) at the University of British Columbia co-hosted a roundtable discussion concerning repositories and their role in the long-term maintenance of archaeological
Reinventing Anthropological Topics
tackle problems of content and formulation of questions and even behavior while in the field. Among all subfields of anthropology, archaeological news attracts more attention because they help construct world history with its various stages through
"Altaian-ness" in the Twenty-First Century
Since the early 1990s the Altai Republic has been experiencing a dispute about its archaeological heritage. This article deals with one aspect of it—the discrepancy between a local understanding of archaeological monuments as belonging to the direct ancestors of present day Altaians, and an expert view of many historians, archaeologists and physical anthropologists who see no relation between the two. Drawing on the work of Halemba and on Ingold's distinction between relational and genealogical models of indigeneity, this article describes the controversy as feeding on different concepts of "Altaian-ness." Original data nevertheless show that Ingold's sharp distinction between the two models is better understood as complementarity in the Altaian context. Historical data furthermore suggest that such complementarity is a principle that has long been in operation, visible, for example, when we look at identity labels preceding "Altaian."
Past Achievements, Present State and Future Prospects
Kamyar Abdi, Marjan Mashkour and Soheila Shahshahani
Anthropology of the Middle East has implicitly and explicitly been a journal with a regional orientation. Most previous issues, however, have added a thematic dimension to this regional orientation, and the same applies to this special issue. The chosen theme is anthropological archaeology, given the fact that this school in archaeology has been responsible for tremendous progress in Middle Eastern archaeology and has advanced our knowledge of the ancient Middle East by leaps and bounds. Anthropological archaeology has been a major player in Middle Eastern archaeology for the past half-century, and no other school in Middle Eastern archaeology can claim to have been immune from its influence, whether in matters of theory or, more visibly, in methodology.
Modeling Emergent Socioecological Outcomes of Environmental Change
Thomas P. Leppard
How will human societies evolve in the face of the massive changes humans themselves are driving in the earth systems? Currently, few data exist with which to address this question. I argue that archaeological datasets from islands provide useful models for understanding long-term socioecological responses to large-scale environmental change, by virtue of their longitudinal dimension and their relative insulation from broader biophysical systems. Reviewing how colonizing humans initiated biological and physical change in the insular Pacific, I show that varied adaptations to this dynamism caused diversification in social and subsistence systems. This diversification shows considerable path dependency related to the degree of heterogeneity/homogeneity in the distribution of food resources. This suggests that the extent to which the Anthropocene modifies agroeconomic land surfaces toward or away from patchiness will have profound sociopolitical implications.