CFP: Beyond the Facts (Archaeological Review from Cambridge)

Call for Papers (April 2009 Issue)

Beyond the Facts: Invention and Reinvention in Archaeological Practice

The Archaeological Review from Cambridge invites papers on the theme of invention and re-invention in archaeology. The past quarter century has seen a rich academic debate about the nature of archaeological interpretation. Post-modern theories such as constructivism and relativism have encouraged archaeologists to debate the nature of ‘truth’ and to re-evaluate the influence of their own biases and judgments on the past. The topic of invention and reinvention in archaeological methodology has also proved insightful. Experimental archaeological methodologies give a great deal of room for imagination and invention. In archaeological theory and practice, it appears that many 20th century archaeological epistemologies might be ‘reinventions’ of earlier methods used by professionals in the past: archaeologists like Matthew Johnson, for example, have claimed that ‘phenomenology’ may be a ‘reinvented’ tradition from the British Romantic landscape studies. The discipline of archaeology has also promoted better awareness of alternative perspectives on the past, such as the recognition of indigenous values or notions of the sacred; however, lines are still uncertainly drawn between ‘valid’ claims of the past and other, ‘less valid’ fringe theories. In many cases of post-colonial archaeology, post-conflict heritage, or identity studies, the past is a debated realm. Meanings are often constructed, manipulated, invented or re-invented through the use of material culture. Professionals have also been more attentive to the role of the public in propagating myths and folklore, and the relationship between media and pop-culture to professional archaeology.

ARC invites contributors to explore the broad theme of invention or re-invention in archaeological interpretation and practice. Possible topics for contribution include, but are not limited to:

– Exploring invention, reinvention, or imagination in experimental archaeology, new archaeological methodologies, and archaeological

– Reinvention in archaeological practice and field work.

– Inventing identity: cultural heritage as propaganda; manipulation of heritage to invent or reinvent history.

– The uses of myths, folklore, and stretches of the imagination in archaeological heritage.

– The ethics of narrative, invention, and leaps of interpretation in presenting the reconstructed past to the public.

– Debates on the value of studying alternative, intangible, ‘fringe’ or pseudo-archaeological explanations of material culture and the past.

– Fictional or dramatic representations of archaeology in the media; archaeology as invented or re-invented in pop-culture.

– Debates about the “constructed” past.

Please send an abstract of 400 words to Tera Pruitt ( by 5th March 2008. The full article should not exceed 4000 words.

Archaeological Review from Cambridge is a journal of archaeology. ARC is managed and published on a voluntary basis by postgraduate research students at the University of Cambridge. Issues are released twice a year. ARC is a non-profit making organisation. Although primarily rooted in archaeological theory and practice, ARC has increasingly begun to accommodate a wide range of perspectives in the hope of establishing a strong, inter-disciplinary journal which will be of interest to those engaged in a range of fields, and therefore breaking down some of the boundaries that exist between disciplines.

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