On multiple fields. Between the material world and media: Two cases from the Peloponnesus, Greece

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Abstract

Deeply embedded in much of archaeological thought is an epistemological scheme of the 'field' as separate from the 'home-base', whether laboratory, archive or study. This modernist division is inadequate, for it fails to account for the interconnected and nonlinear process of archaeological knowledge construction. Taking direction from science studies and specifically from the work of Bruno Latour, this article sketches a model of multiple fields, which may serve as an alternative to this divide. Through the effective juxtaposition of two case studies from the Greek Peloponnesus, it explores two disparate yet complementary cases of how multiple fields make up the epistemological terrain of archaeology. The first case study traces the strains of an early 19th-century web, which situates the process of knowledge production at that time, while the second focuses on the archaeological process by closely following the transformation of things into documents during a regional survey. By recasting and multiplying the 'field' in archaeology we move from an oversimplified and bounded modernist scheme to one that allows for the complexities of archaeological practices which involve the action of instruments, media and human beings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-164
Number of pages32
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Material world
  • Media
  • Multiple fields
  • Practice
  • The Argolid Exploration Project
  • William Martin Leake

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