The archaeology of the immediate
DOI link for The archaeology of the immediate
The archaeology of the immediate book
This chapter examines the role and utility of contemporary archaeology, arguing that the subfield has a unique capacity to denormalize the taken-for-granted circumstances of the present. While the present is quite familiar, this familiarity encourages a lack of critical questioning. This chapter addresses theoretical developments in contemporary archaeology and questions what constitutes an artifact. Archaeologies of capitalism or presence must reconsider a notion of artifacts as durable “remains.” The conditions of capitalism are such that little material “remains” undisturbed for long, constantly being reworked into new forms and meanings. To this end, an “archaeology of immediacy” is outlined—a method of studying material artifacts that fade into and out of existence rapidly, such as electronic displays that flash the time and temperature. The value of temperatures as cultural artifacts worthy of study is further defended here. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of an archaeology of the immediate upon heritage practices.