Archaeologies of Materiality by Lynn Meskell

By Lynn Meskell

Drawing on social idea and providing quite a few case stories, Archaeologies of Materiality is likely one of the first books to discover materiality throughout time and house.

  • Demonstrates the saliency of materiality via linking it to techniques of panorama, know-how, embodiment, ritual, and background.
  • Offers archaeological case reviews starting from prehistoric to modern contexts, from Neo-Assyria, South Africa, Argentina, Panama, and the us.
  • Explores the belief of a cloth universe that's socially conceived and built, yet that still shapes human event in day-by-day perform.

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Magical performance amounts to a mimetic demonstration of vital correspondences between ideas, essences, and things in the processual enactment of an ideal made real. The affective force of such bodily techniques arises from the kinetic communication and experience of the performance; but how are we to make sense of the power or force of ideal protection made real through the burial of miniature figurine deposits? Most commonly, scholarship has approached this ritual practice and material assemblage by considering certain symbolic and conceptual linkages to Neo-Assyrian ritual, religion, and culture, for instance, the common terrain shared by myth and iconography (see Green 1983; 1993; Wiggermann 1992; 1993).

The slippage between meaning and matter, belief and practice, enshrouds magic in secrecy that is at once opaque and transparent. As both contingent and autonomous, the magical object secretes indeterminacy into the structure that conceives it, holds it at a distance and thereby masters it. Artifacts congeal processes of making – the simultaneous forging of objects, selves, relations, cultures, and worlds – in a gesture of becoming. To make is to transform, and such transformation derives from the human enactment of both the self and the world.

17 The buried and enclosed The multiple layers of concealment in this Neo-Assyrian figurine ritual suggest a play on the hiding and receiving powers of the earth. In Mesopotamia, burial constituted a pervasive and important ritual idiom; people buried valuables, sacrifices, foundation offerings, caches of various materials, and their dead. Such diverse practices surely supported an equally diverse range of meanings. But in a basic sense, burial can mean to store, preserve, and put the past on hold (Harrison 2003:xi).

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