Archaeology has been an important source of metaphors for some of the key intellectuals of the 20th century: Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Alois Riegl and Michel Foucault, amongst many others. However, this power has also turned against archaeology, because the discipline has been dealt with perfunctorily as a mere provider of metaphors that other intellectuals have exploited. Scholars from different fields continue to explore areas in which archaeologists have been working for over two centuries, with little or no reference to the discipline. It seems that excavation, stratigraphy or ruins only become important at a trans-disciplinary level when people from outside archaeology pay attention to them and somehow dematerialize them. Meanwhile, archaeologists have been usually more interested in borrowing theories from other fields, rather than in developing the theoretical potential of the same concepts that other thinkers find so useful.

The time is ripe for archaeologists to address a wider audience and engage in theoretical debates from a position of equality, not of subalternity. Reclaiming Archaeology explores how archaeology can be useful to rethink modernity’s big issues, and more specifically late modernity (broadly understood as the 20th and 21st centuries). The book contains a series of original essays, not necessarily following the conventional academic rules of archaeological writing or thinking, allowing rhetoric to have its place in disclosing the archaeological. In each of the four sections that constitute this book (method, time, heritage and materiality), the contributors deal with different archaeological tropes, such as excavation, surface/depth, genealogy, ruins, fragments, repressed memories and traces. They criticize their modernist implications and rework them in creative ways, in order to show the power of archaeology not just to understand the past, but also the present.

Reclaiming Archaeology includes essays from a diverse array of archaeologists who have dealt in one way or another with modernity, including scholars from non-Anglophone countries who have approached the issue in original ways during recent years, as well as contributors from other fields who engage in a creative dialogue with archaeology and the work of archaeologists. 


chapter 1|29 pages

Reclaiming archaeology

ByAlfredo González-Ruibal

part 1|84 pages


chapter 2|11 pages

The clearing

Archaeology's way of opening the world
ByMatt Edgeworth

chapter 3|12 pages

Scratching the surface

Reassembling an archaeology in and of he present
ByRodney Harrison

chapter 4|11 pages

From excavation to archaeological X-Files

ByDawid Kobialka

chapter 5|12 pages

Digging alternative archaeologies

ByCristóbal Gnecco

chapter 6|10 pages

Evestigation, nomethodology and deictics

Movements in un-disciplining archaeology
ByAlejandro Haber

chapter 7|14 pages

Archaeology and photography

A pragmatology
ByMichael Shanks, Svabo Connie

chapter 8|12 pages

New cultural landscapes

Archaeological method as artistic practice
ByBárbara Fluxá

part 2|80 pages


chapter 9|13 pages

The business of archaeology is the present

ByLaurent Olivier

chapter 10|15 pages

Which archaeology?

A question of chronopolitics
ByChristopher Witmore

chapter 11|10 pages

The politics of periodization

ByCharles E. Orser

chapter 13|13 pages

Indigeneity and time

Towards a decolonization of archaeological temporal categories and tools
ByGustavo Verdesio

chapter 14|14 pages

Enacted multi-temporality

The archaeological site as a shared, performative space
ByYannis Hamilakis, Efthimis Theou

part 3|91 pages


chapter 15|14 pages

The New Heritage and re-shapings of the past

ByCornelius Holtorf, Graham Fairclough

chapter 16|9 pages

The archaeological gaze

ByGabriel Moshenska

chapter 17|13 pages

In the shade of Frederick Douglass

The archaeology of Wye House
ByMark P. Leone, Amanda Tang, Benjamin A. Skolnik, Elizabeth Pruitt

chapter 18|11 pages

Ruin memory

A hauntology of Cape Town
ByNick Shepherd

chapter 19|14 pages

A thoroughly modern park

Mapungubwe, UNESCO and Indigenous Heritage
ByLynn Meskell

chapter 20|14 pages

Days in Hong Kong, May 2011

ByDenis Byrne

chapter 21|14 pages

The charter'd Thames

BySefryn Penrose

part 4|66 pages


chapter 22|9 pages

The return of what?

ByBjørnar Olsen

chapter 23|13 pages

Inside is out

An epistemology of surfaces and substances
ByPaul Graves-Brown

chapter 24|12 pages

Fragments as something more

Archaeological experience and reflection
ByMats Burström

chapter 25|14 pages

Bringing a place in ruins back to life

ByGastón Gordillo

chapter 26|9 pages

Cutting the earth/cutting the body

ByDouglass Bailey

chapter 27|7 pages

Archaeological remains of oil-based urbanity

ByCamilo José Vergara

part 5|14 pages

Concluding thoughts

chapter 28|12 pages

Milieux de mémoire

ByMartin Hall