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Contemporary Archaeologies

Holtorf, Cornelius / Piccini, Angela (eds.)

Contemporary Archaeologies

Excavating Now
Second Edition

Year of Publication: 2011

Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 221 pp., num. fig.
ISBN 978-3-631-61142-5 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.370 kg, 0.816 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book is about the archaeology of the present and the very recent past. Archaeology’s repertoire of questions, procedures, methodologies and terminologies, its material manifestations (protected sites, public museums, archives) and its popular appeals are rooted in modernity. Contemporary archaeologies marry archaeology in the modern world with the archaeology of the modern world. Their strengths lie in a stimulating mix of interdisciplinary practices across academic, public-sector and professional contexts. This book brings together a wide variety of original case-studies, from contemporary theme parks to the bases of Antarctica expeditions, from a rocket engine test site in Australia to Swedish automobile history, from tiger enclosures to the ‘privatisation of experience’, and from a Nevada peace camp to a stretch of gutter in Bristol.


Contents: Angela Piccini/Cornelius Holtorf: Fragments from a Conversation about Contemporary Archaeologies – Julian Thomas: Sigmund Freud’s Archaeological Metaphor and Archaeology’s Self-understanding – Cornelius Holtorf: Imagine This: Archaeology in the Experience Economy – Sarah May: Then Tyger Fierce Took Life Away: The Contemporary Material Culture Of Tigers – Mike Pearson: ‘Professor Gregory’s Villa’ and Piles of Pony Poop: Early Expeditionary Remains in Antarctica – Colleen M. Beck/John Schofield/Harold Drollinger: Archaeologists, Activists, and a Contemporary Peace Camp – Louise K. Wilson: Notes on a Record of Fear: On the Threshold of the Audible – Mats Burström: Garbage or Heritage: The Existential Dimension of a Car Cemetery – Jonna Ulin: Into the Space of the Past: A Family Archaeology – Alice Gorman: Beyond The Space Race: The Material Culture Of Space In A New Global Context – Angela Piccini: Guttersnipe: A Micro Road Movie – Paul Graves-Brown: The Privatisation of Experience and the Archaeology of the Future.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Cornelius Holtorf is Associate Professor in Archaeology at Linnaeus University, Kalmar (Sweden). He recently published two books on archaeology and popular culture.
Angela Piccini is Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies at the School of Arts at the University of Bristol (UK). She recently co-edited books on contemporary archaeology and practice-as-research.


«This fast-paced, diverse and provocative collection will be an important benchmark as the discipline thinks through the implications and potential of the archaeological study of the contemporary world.» (Dan Hicks, University of Oxford)
«Tigers and ponies and Freud? Indeed, and more. To paraphrase one of the authors, this book is wild, potentially dangerous and powerfully subverts the tendency to trivialize the recent past.» (Mary Beaudry, Boston University)