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Richard Hodges is one of Europe's preeminent archaeologists. He has transformed the way we understand the early Middle Ages, and has put the past to work for the present, through a sequence of paradigmatic excavations in England, Italy and Albania. Encounters, Excavations and Argosies pays tribute to him with a series of reflections on some of the themes and issues which have been central to his work over the last forty years. The contributors are colleagues, many his students, above all friends of the man whose ideas, example, trust, and loyalty have touched and inspired us all.
In this important volume of collected essays John Moreland demonstrates the ways in which a theoretically informed archaeology significantly enhances our understanding of the early Middle Ages, and indeed of the past more generally. Beginning from the premise that theory must be worked through in data (since abstract theorising conjures up only a historical pictures of the past), he applies a consistent and contemporary body of theory, broadly characterised as 'post-processual', in a series of case-studies. The essays are enhanced by extensive notes and commentary, updating theoretical perspectives on, and data pertaining to, some of the key issues in contemporary archaeology - the role of theory, identities, the appropriation/destruction of the past, gift exchange, object biographies, the influence of our present on the construction of the past, the impact of texts on past societies etc. The result will be of interest not just to scholars and students of the early Middle Ages, but to archaeologists and historians more generally.
Archaeology and Text challenges traditional assumptions about the relationship between history and archaeology by re-evaluating the role of artefacts and documents in the reconstruction of the historical past. Previous attempts to create a rapprochement between the disciplines have been undermined by a failure to see artefacts and documents as anything more than simple sources of information about the past. The central argument of this book is that both must be seen in terms of their efficacy in the past, in particular as technologies of power and resistance. Drawing upon recent work in theoretical archaeology, John Moreland puts forward a series of case studies from early medieval Europe, early modern North America, and the prehistoric Near East to illustrate the ways in which both documents and artefacts were 'activated' in the reproduction and transformation of power and identity. A concluding chapter warns that any contribution these arguments may make to the better understanding of the historical past will be negated if we fail to appreciate the very real dangers posed, to all the peoples of the past, by the recent 'linguistic turn' in both disciplines.