This volume provides the first critical examination of the relationship between archaeology and language, analysing the rhetorical practices through which archaeologists create representations of the past. Rosemary Joyce draws on literary theory to discuss the ways in which archaeologists have used language to reinforce their views of the past, and presents ideas about how language might be used in the future to present a more satisfactory understanding of time and place in the archaeological record. She examines rhetoric, narrative, and dialogue as crucial topics for archaeological reflection, discusses the recent explosion of experimentation with new forms of writing within archaeology - fuelled by sources including feminism, post-structuralism, and critiques of representation from descendant groups who see archaeological sites as their cultural heritage - and demonstrates how this experimentation with writing might lead to a sustained critical examination of writing. The author draws on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and Roland Barthes to explore the nature and significance of dialogue within archaeological writing.
By examining a selection of different kinds of archaeological texts, she shows how the creation of narratives is a practice that literally binds the discipline of archaeology together from the field through to formal and informal presentation of interpretations.
Rosemary Joyce is Associate Professor of Anthropology, and former Director of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. She was previously Assistant Director and Assistant Curator of the Peabody Museum, and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. Her publications include Gender and Power in Prehispanic Mesoamerica (forthcoming, 2001), Beyond Kinship: Social and Material Reproduction in House Societies (ed. with Susan D. Gillespie, 2000), Social Patterns in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica (ed. with David C. Grove, 1999), Women in Prehistory: North American and Mesoamerica (ed. with Cheryl Claassen, 1997), Encounters with the Americas (with Susan A. M. Shumaker, 1995), Maya History by Tatiana Proskouriakoff (ed. 1993), and Cerro Palenque: Power and Identity on the Maya Periphery (1991).