The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory - Archaeology in Society (Hardback)
  • The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory - Archaeology in Society (Hardback)
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The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory - Archaeology in Society (Hardback)

(author)
£60.00
Hardback 192 Pages / Published: 03/11/2011
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The field of archaeology continues to face a major crisis of interpretation. The traditional view is that the basic business of archaeology is to reconstruct the history of cultures and civilizations through their material productions. Olivier challenges this view with a new approach to archaeological remains based on the works of French theorists such as Foucault, de Certeaux, and Derrida, with insight from Darwin and Freud. His thesis is that archaeology does not study the past itself but rather what materially remains of the past in our present. Olivier also develops an interpretation of material culture based on Aby Warburg's and Walter Benjamin's work in the anthropology of art. With wider implications for history and all social sciences, The Dark Abyss of Time is a major contribution to the theory of time, memory, heritage, and archaeology. This flawless translation makes Olivier's elegantly written work available in English for the first time.

Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
ISBN: 9780759120457
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 513 g
Dimensions: 239 x 162 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The premise offered by Olivier (National Museum of Archaeology, France) is straightforward: archaeology is the "investigation into archives of memory, which is what [material] remains are." The investigation of memory embedded in "things," however, is not straightforward. It is fraught with loose standards for critical judgment informed by the historical subjectivism of Walter Benjamin. In the quest to deal with objects in the present, Olivier invokes Freud and the excavation of the subconscious; Proust and the connection between sensory perception and memories; and das Nachleben der Antike ("survivals") that Aby Warburg used to connect the ancient world with Renaissance art and thought. This work is a conversation with 19th-century thinkers such as Jacob Burckhardt and Charles Darwin rather than with 20th-century archaeologists like R. G. Collingwood, Colin Renfrew, and Jean-Claude Gardin. The prose is evocative; the translation is excellent. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE *
This is a wonderful work, a rich and very human treatment of how we experience time and history in our relationships with vestiges of the past. It is an inspiring read in the critical tradition of Bergson and Benjamin that will appeal to everyone interested in our contemporary and archaeological fascination with old things. -- Michael Shanks, Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Archaeology, Stanford University
The Dark Abyss of Time is ... one of the most important works published in archaeology during my lifetime. It fundamentally questions the purpose and practice of the discipline as it is today, and successfully tries to move us beyond the sterile debates that have marred the history of archaeology for the last thirty or so years. It is the result of a wide and deep immersion in the roots of our current culture, and it is, to boot, beautiful to read! -- Sander van der Leeuw Ph.D, Arizona State University

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