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Archaeological Orientations: A new series

Posted by Christopher Witmore

With the impending publication of an excellent new book, Reclaiming Archaeology: Beyond the Tropes of Modernity, edited by Alfredo González-Ruibal (2013), Gavin Lucas and I have decided that we are somewhat overdue in announcing the book series with Routledge for which this volume breaks the ice – Archaeological Orientations.


Here is our mission:

An interdisciplinary series that engages our on-going, yet ever-changing, fascination with the archaeological, archaeological orientations investigates the myriad ways material pasts are entangled with communities, animals, ecologies and technologies, past, present or future. From urgent contemporary concerns, including politics, violence, sustainability, ecology, and technology, to long-standing topics of interest, including time, space, materiality, memory and agency, archaeological orientations promotes bold thinking and the taking of risks in pressing trans-disciplinary matters of concern.

Providing the comprehensive coverage expected of a companion or handbook, Archaeological Orientations aims to generate passionate, lively and engaged conversation around topics of common interest without laying claim to new thematic territories. Archaeological Orientations asks contributors and readers alike to take two steps back, to cautiously and carefully consider issues from unforeseen, even surprising, angles. Archaeological Orientations embraces theoretical provocation, cross-disciplinary debate and open discussion.

With a host of outstanding contributions that take up the provocation to reclaim archaeology, not as a secondary science that elucidates the past with a borrowed palette of colors taken from other forerunner disciplines, but as an original and creative ecology of practices that adds depth and nuance, diversity and alternative to pressing issues of the present and future, Alfredo’s book exemplifies this mission and sets a wonderful tone for the series.

And Reclaiming Archaeology will be closely followed by another superb contribution: Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past. Edited by Bjørnar Olsen and Þóra Péturdóttir, Ruin Memories draws together the fruits of the ground-breaking Ruin Memories Project, a multi-year, international collaboration that investigates the detritus of modernity.

Proposals for other exciting volumes are in the works, and so more still to announce soon.

In the meantime, please consider this an invitation for any archaeologist willing to connect their work in the trenches with those pressing issues that affect us all.

Each volume typically consists of 25-35 contributions from scholars from around the world, with approximately 90 illustrations and total 260-300,000 words. The volumes should be topically structured to aid comprehension by students and interested readers.

Feel free to send proposals (7 to 10 pages) to either Gavin Lucas or Christopher Witmore.