Archaeology, symmetry, and the ontology of things: A response to critics

Christopher Witmore, Bjørnar Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article responds to recent critiques of “symmetrical archaeology.” It addresses three common claims: 1) symmetrical archaeology fails see a difference between living and nonliving entities; 2) symmetrical archaeology makes no room for humans and other living things; 3) symmetrical archaeology lacks any sincere ethical concern for things. This article demonstrates how these claims are based on common misunderstandings or misreadings, and offers further clarifications as to its perspective on ontology, ethics and things.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


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