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Changes [Apr 19, 2013]Antiquarians - proj...
An ancient site, the remains ... an event, a memory
Archaeography - documenting the past in the present
I call this a question of historiography - writing history or the past, but I am by no means only interested in writing. It is a simple, and wonderfully rich question, of record and documentation - what to say, what to show, what to recall, after the event ...
Here are some themes
Ruderi di Gibellina - aftermath of the earthquake 1968 - The Three Landscapes Project Stanford 2001
They explore the connections between archaeology and photography.
This is not some quirky juxtaposition - we are convinced that photography is profoundly archaeological, and that archaeography is about a hybrid experience at the heart of contemporary culture. Archaeography and Archaeographer face a challenge of how to work with the chaos of fragmented traces, remains and documents of the past that forms the substance of so much of everyday life today.
Proposition. We are all archaeologists, even if we don't realize it. We share now an archaeological sensibility - working on what is left of the past, heritage, museums, collecting culture, antiques, retro styling, family genealogy, local history, tourists visiting the past - is a vital part of the contemporary zeitgeist.
Proposition. Photography is profoundly archaeological. Photographs are like archaeological traces of the moments they capture. Photowork raises a question faced by all archaeologists - how do we document events? But neither photowork nor archaeology create transparent windows on the past, though many think they do.
Proposition. Media are material matters. The materialities of media and instruments need to be essential concerns of both archaeology and photography - photographers and archaeologists need to deal with the way their tools and instruments affect what it is they are looking at. Cameras are clocks for making images that are traces of the past. The photograph itself, computer screen, negative, paper or transparency, is an integral and material part of engaging with what is pictured. The archaeological trowel, spade and surveying instrument sculpt the past into different documentary forms we can comprehend.
Some of my main publications on archaeography
Experiencing the Past London, Routledge, 1991
Archaeology and the forms of history. In I. Hodder, M. Shanks, Alexandra Alexandri, Victor Buchli, John Carman, Jonathan Last and Gavin Lucas (eds), Interpreting Archaeology: Finding Meaning in the Past. London, Routledge, 1995
Photography and the archaeological image. In B. Molyneaux (ed), The Cultural Life of Images: Visual Representation in Archaeology. London, Routledge, 1997 - [link]
Performing a visit: archaeologies of the contemporary past. With Mike Pearson. Performance Research 2: 42-60 (1996)
Art and the Early Greek State Cambridge University Press, 1999
Theatre/Archaeology With Mike Pearson. London, Routledge, 2001
Three landscapes: a visual primer. With Clifford McLucas and Dorian Llywelyn. In preparation.
Here are three essays particularly relevant to archaeography
The perfume of garbage - a piece written with Bill Rathje and David Platt on archaeology and modernity. It appeared in the special issue of Modernism/Modernity on "Archaeologies of the modern".