Rethinking Wetland Archaeology
Van de Noort, Robert
University of Exeter (Van de Noort)
[SUMMARY] Wetland archaeology has provided some of the most exciting discoveries in world archaeology, from bog bodies in northern Europe, to prehistoric and medieval wetland dwellings in central and western Europe, New Zealand, Japan and the Pacific Northwest. Arguably, however, the amount of evidence from these sites and the need for intense multidisciplinary scientific analysis, allied to a general tendency towards empiricist research, has led to wetland archaeology being isolated from current theoretical debates. Rethinking Wetland Archaeology shows how wetland studies can be contextualised within broader geographical, cultural and theoretical frameworks. It discusses how wetland archaeological discoveries can be understood in terms of past people’s perception and understanding of landscape, which was not only a source of economic benefit, but a storehouse of, and a metaphor for, cultural values and beliefs. It argues that archaeologists interested in the temporal rhythms of life, and in cultural biographies of place and objects, should look again at the astonishingly detailed narratives produced by wetland archaeology. Finally, it considers the past and future role of wetland archaeologists in contemporary political and social discourses.
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