Many of us accept as uncontroversial the belief that the world is comprised of detached and disparate products, all of which are reducible to certain substances. Of those things that are alive, we acknowledge that some have agency while others, such as humans, have more advanced qualities such as consciousness, reason and intentionality. So deeply-seated is this metaphysical belief, along with the related distinctions we draw between subject/object, mind/body and nature/culture that many of us tacitly assume past groups approached and apprehended the world in a similar fashion. Relational Archaeologies questions how such a view of human beings, ‘other-than-human’ creatures and things affects our reconstruction of past beliefs and practices. It proceeds from the position that, in many cases, past societies understood their place in the world as positional rather than categorical, as persons bound up in reticular arrangements with similar and not so similar forms regardless of their substantive qualities. Relational Archaeologies explores this idea by emphasizing how humans, animals and things come to exist by virtue of the dynamic and fluid processes of connection and transaction. In highlighting various counter-Modern notions of what it means ‘to be’ and how these can be teased apart using archaeological materials, contributors provide a range of approaches from primarily theoretical/historicized treatments of the topic to practical applications or case studies from the Americas, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.

chapter 1|20 pages

Relational archaeologies: roots and routes

ByChristopher Watts

chapter 2|21 pages

Inhuman eyes: looking at Chavín de Huantar

ByMary Weismantel

chapter 3|23 pages

Theater of predation: beneath the skin of Göbekli Tepe images

ByDušan Boric´

chapter 4|32 pages

The bear-able likeness of being: ursine remains at the Shamanka ii cemetery, Lake Baikal, Siberia

ByRobert J. Losey, Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii, Angela R. Lieverse, Andrea Waters-Rist, Kate Faccia, Andrzej W. Weber

chapter 7|19 pages

Identity communities and memory practices: relational logics in the US Southwest

ByWendi Field Murray, Barbara J. Mills

chapter 9|17 pages

Relational communities in prehistoric Britain

ByOliver J. T. Harris

chapter 10|19 pages

Shifting horizons and emerging ontologies in the Bronze Age Aegean

ByBronze Age Aegean Andrew Shapland

chapter 11|19 pages

Classicism and knowing the world in early modern Sweden

ByVesa-Pekka Herva, Jonas M. Nordin

chapter 12|17 pages

The imbrication of human and animal paths: an Arctic case study

ByPeter Whitridge

chapter 13|5 pages

The maze and the labyrinth: reflections of a fellow-traveller

ByTim Ingold