chapter  9
20 Pages

The Present and the Past

Chapter 9 is concerned with the relationship between the archaeological record of the

past-a static phenomenon-and the present. We discuss the complex site formation

processes that act on a site from the moment that it’s abandoned. Preservation condi-

tions, especially of inorganic finds such as wood and textiles, vary greatly under differ-

ent conditions. We describe some notable finds that result from exceptionally cold, dry,

and wet conditions, among them the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun and Tollund

Man. A body of archaeological theory known as middle-range theory attempts to link

the archaeological record with the present. We describe ethnographic analogy, ethno-

archaeology, and experimental archaeology, which are three approaches that seek to

interpret the archaeological record of the past in the context of the present.