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The Languages of Archaeology: Dialogue, Narrative, and Writing

ISBN: 978-0-631-22179-1
186 pages
July 2002, Wiley-Blackwell
The Languages of Archaeology: Dialogue, Narrative, and Writing (0631221794) cover image


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.
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Table of Contents


1 Introducing the First Voice: Rosemary Joyce.

2 Writing the Field of Archaeology: Rosemary Joyce and Robert W. Preucel.

3 Dialogues Heard and Unheard, Seen and Unseen: Rosemary Joyce.

4 A Second Voice: Crafting Cosmos: Jeanne Lopiparo.

5 Voices Carry Outside the Discipline: Rosemary Joyce, Carolyn Guyer, and Michael Joyce.

6 The Return of the First Voice: Rosemary Joyce.

7 Final Dialogues: Rosemary Joyce.


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Author Information

Rosemary A. 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 (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).
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Draws on literary theory to discuss the ways in which archaeologists have used language to reinforce their views of the past.

  • Presents ideas about how language might be used to present a more satisfactory understanding of time and place in the archaeological record.

  • Discusses the recent explosion of experimentation with new forms of writing within archaeology.

  • Uses a selection of different kinds of archaeological texts to demonstrate how the creation of narrative binds together field archaeology with formal and informal presentations of interpretations.
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"Joyce takes on archaeology's major themes, writing, and practice in her own engaging text. She has indeed produced a telling story. The book disentangles the enmeshed terrain of representation and narrative, and promises to make a lasting contribution to archaeological theory."
Lynn Meskell, Columbia University

"This is an engaging and readable study of a profoundly neglected topic in archaeology. The Languages of Archaeology constitutes an open and disarmingly honest investigation of how archaeologists write and indeed construct the past through this process. This is a highly innovative and groundbreaking piece of research, in which the aim of retrieving dialogue from its marginalized position is successfully achieved."
Stephanie Moser, University of Southampton

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