Animists' theories of matter must be given equivalence at the level of theory if we are to understand adequately the nature of ontological difference in the past. The current model is of a natural ontological continuum that connects all cultures, grounding our culturally relativist worldviews in a common world. Indigenous peoples' worlds are thought of as fascinating but ultimately mistaken ways of knowing the world. We demonstrate how ontologically oriented theorists Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Karen Barad and Tim Ingold in conjuncture with an anti-representationalist methodology can provide the necessary conditions for alternative ontologies to emerge in archaeology. Anthropo-zoomorphic ‘body-pots’ from first-millennium ad northwest Argentina anticipate the possibility that matter was conceptualized as chronically unstable, inherently undifferentiated, and ultimately practice-dependent.
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