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On the object of archaeology

  • Assaf Nativ

Abstract

The paper ponders the object of archaeology, called here ‘the archaeological’. It argues that the existence of such an object is a necessary premise of the field and that ultimately it is on this object that the validity of all claims and arguments must rest. The paper suggests that the archaeological be conceived as a cultural phenomenon that consists in being disengaged from the social, an understanding that positions archaeology as a counterpart to the social sciences and the humanities, rather than a member in the same milieu. The first part of the paper focuses on the position of the archaeological with reference to the concepts of ‘Nature’ and ‘Culture’, which eventually leads us to a confrontation between archaeological statics and the dynamics of the world. Efforts to justify and understand archaeological statics consequently lead to the recognition of a constitutive distinction between buried and non-buried conditions, upon which the differentiation of the archaeological from the social is established.

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Corresponding author

*Assaf Nativ, The Martin Buber Society of Fellows, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jack, Josef and Morton Mandel School, Jerusalem, Israel. Email: assaf.nativ@gmail.com.

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On the object of archaeology

  • Assaf Nativ

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