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DISCUSSION Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2016

The Temporality of the Landscape


This is an essay about the connections between the passage of time and the
condition of archaeological knowledge. It revisits Tim Ingolds 1993 paper The
Temporality of the Landscape, considering its relationship with the phenomen-
ological and interpretive archaeologies of the 1990s and what we learn from it
today. Engaged not so much in an ontological turn as in a kind of archival return,
the essay compares Ingolds discussion of Bruegels painting The Harvesters (1565)
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with an archaeological photograph from 1993. A discussion of the after-effects of

performance follows, and four theses about temporality, landscape, modernity and
revisiting are put forward: 1) The passage of time transforms archaeological
knowledge; 2) Archaeological knowledge transforms the passage of time; 3) An
archaeological landscape is an object that is known through remapping; 4)
Archaeological knowledge is what we leave behind. The essay concludes that
archaeology is best understood not as the study of the temporality of the landscape,
as Ingold had argued, but as the study of the temporality of the landscape revisited.

past only be interpreted in terms of the present?

I Sherratt asked.
Another reason is critique. In one such
The Temporality of the Landscape. Why revisit instance, Laurie Wilkie and Kevin Bartoy
an archaeological paper a generation after it (2000) sought to recenter, through recollec-
was published? One possible motivation is tion, a seminal 1987 paper that dened some
remembrance. For example, Andrew Sherratt of the aims of Marxist-Americanist historical
marked the 25th anniversary of the publication archaeology (Leone et al. 1987). Where Mark
of his tutor David Clarkes inuential paper Leone and his colleagues had looked ahead
Archaeology: the Loss of Innocence, 22 years Toward a Critical Archaeology, Wilkie and
on from Clarkes untimely death. Sherratt dis- Bartoy reversed this future-orientation from
tinguished Clarkes puckish sketch of the con- an alternative present: discerning drawbacks
temporary scene from the valedictions written in theory, noting hark-backs to 19th-century
by Gordon Childe before his suicide, noting German philosophy, and describing their own
how new arguments can, over time, come to aims (using the words of The Eighteenth
be mistaken for retrospection (Childe 1958a, Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte) as a come-
1958b, Sherratt 1998, pp. 700701). Can the back to the apparently accomplished in

Dan Hicks, University of Oxford, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK. E-mail:

2016 Norwegian Archaeological Review

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
(, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in
any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
2 Dan Hicks

order to begin it afresh (Wilkie and Bartoy waymarker in the movement away from archae-
2000, pp. 750, 752, 754, 761). My effort has ologys science wars between processual rea-
been to adopt a theory that would link past lism and post-processual relativism,
and present, Leone replied (2000, pp. highlighting the sterile opposition between the
765766), since archaeology seeks to show naturalistic view of the landscape as a neutral,
us how to think through change. external backdrop to human activities, and the
A third is the resurrection of neglected ideas, culturalistic view that every landscape is a parti-
a well-known instance of which is James cular cognitive or symbolic ordering of space
Deetzs reconsideration of Walter Taylors (Ingold 1993, p. 152). By introducing two new
account, in the second chapter of A Study of concepts the dwelling perspective and the
Archaeology, of the relationships between his- taskscape the paper was a landmark in mov-
tory and anthropology (Taylor 1948, Deetz ing archaeological debate beyond the bland
1988). Taylors discussion of contemporary assertion that any reconstruction of the past is
thought and past actuality suggested that to a social statement in the present (Hodder 1985,
understand the latter fully and comprehen- p. 18), towards the redenition of archaeological
sively would take as long as the happenings practice as just the most recent form of dwelling
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themselves (Taylor 1948, p. 29). As with on an ancient site (Thomas 2001, p. 181).
archaeological knowledge, Deetz suggested, Waymarker milestone, landmark. The place
so with archaeological thinking: of The Temporality of the Landscape in late
20th-century archaeological thought is clearly
Were it still 1948, this essay could be little more marked out. The paper has been repeatedly
than a paraphrase of Taylors thoughts in the reprinted: in Julian Thomas Interpretive
subject. Howevera lot has happened in the inter- archaeology: a reader (Thomas 2000), in Bob
vening time (Deetz 1988, p. 13). Preucel and Steve Mrozowskis Contemporary
archaeology in theory: the new pragmatism
Remembrance, critique, resurrection. For (Preucel and Mrozowski 2010), and in
none of these reasons, the present essay returns Ingolds own collection The perception of the
to Tim Ingolds paper The Temporality of the environment (Ingold 2000). Its argument has
Landscape, rst published in the autumn of been put to work to inform interpretations of
1993. The paper has not been forgotten. There many varied archaeological situations, from
is so much of value in its argument that it would Palaeolithic Europe (Gamble 1999, pp.
surely resist any attempt at recentering. 8687) to Roman Britain (Gosden 2004, p.
Archaeologists, in any case, should probably 32), to the archaeology of daily life in the
be more aware than most of the probability Outer Hebrides during the early 19th century
that critique will add only fresh ruins to elds (Symonds 1999, p. 107); from the comparative
of ruins (Latour 2004, p. 225). And neither the archaeology of the body (Harris and Robb
paper nor its author has been neglected. Indeed, 2013, p. 18) to the comparative archaeology
during the intervening 23 years Tim Ingold (an of time (Murray 1999, p. 2). The lasting value
anthropologist) has become arguably the most of the paper has been to inspire an archaeol-
inuential, and certainly the most consistently ogy that is less interested in symbolic land-
interesting, contemporary voice in archaeologi- scapes than it is in taskscapesand less
cal thinking. The Temporality of the interested in the mirror game of semiotic reec-
Landscape was a milestone in wider impulses tion and discourse analysis than it is in real-
to revitalize the idea that anthropology and world encounters with the (material) past
archaeology form a necessary unity: different (Kolen 2011, p. 41).
parts of the same intellectual exercise con- This essay is an exercise in a form of repeti-
nected through the themes of time and land- tion. It aims to revaluate the connections
scape (Ingold 1993, p. 152). It was an early between time and the condition of
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 3

archaeological knowledge. In considering this paper, but drawing out some of its main
theme, archaeologists have generally adopted ideas is a necessary point of departure. The
one of two positions. They have either ima- argument relied on connecting one idea that
gined unidirectional improvements in methods the experience of human life is a process that
and data, driven by paradigm shifts in ideas involves the passage of time with another
that can then be applied to material culture on that this life process is also the process of
the one hand, or else they have argued that formation of the landscapes in which people
knowledge emerges in contemporary moments have lived. Anthropologists, Ingold argued,
of interpretation, which can be comprehended can study time and landscape by bringing to
through reexive self-awareness or identied bear the knowledge born of immediate experi-
with a kind of craft rmly situated in the pre- ence. And although archaeologists focus is
sent (Shanks and McGuire 1996, p. 75) on the on the past they might join this endeavour
other. My suggestion here is that both by re-imagining the purpose of their work as
approaches, teleological or presentist, are mis- to carry out an act of remembrance, engaging
taken, in that they neglect the primary role of perceptually with an environment that is itself
the material production of archaeological pregnant with the past.
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knowledge practices that are usually glossed The paper introduced four keywords to
as nothing more than objective documentation move archaeology beyond dichotomous
or recording. On the contrary, archaeological thinking about nature and humanity, nat-
knowledge, always already implicated in the ural and articial, or use and manufacture
metamorphosis of material, human, sociocul- those sterile Cartesian dualisms of mind
tural, physical and natural environments and nature, subject and object, intellection
(Hicks 2003, Hicks and McAtackney 2007), and sensation, and so on (Ingold 2000, p.
emerges through techniques of temporal pro- 167). The challenge, Ingold suggested, was
tention, central devices for which include the to move beyond the division that has
museum and the archive (Hicks 2013) but also aficted most inquiries up to now, between
encompass the site and the landscape, trans- the scientic study of an atemporalized
formed. Archaeological knowledge requires nature, and the humanistic study of a
the creation of these proxy terrains. In other dematerialized history (Ingold 1993, p.
words ideas, for the archaeologist, are at once 172). The new jargon relied in turn on further
places in the landscape and displacements in series of conceptual oppositions, which can
material and textual form. Archaeological be summarized as follows:
knowledge is what is left behind.
For the purpose of exploring this idea, this 1. Landscape is not land, or nature, or
essay revisits The Temporality of the space, or a picture in the imagination,
Landscape as if revisiting a place. It retraces or an alien and formless substrate await-
steps in order to return to a fault-line in the ing the imposition of human order, or on
papers line of argument: one that begins with a the side of humanity against nature, or
peculiar form of English Romanticism, and ontologically separate from the human
passes gradually towards a central initial ques- perceiver, or built, or unbuilt, or an
tion for archaeology today: What are the con- objectto be understood, or a totality
nections between the passage of time and the that you or anyone else can look at.
condition of archaeological knowledge? Instead, it is the world in which we
stand in taking up a point of view on our
surroundings; perpetually under con-
struction; qualitative and heteroge-
The Temporality of the Landscape (1993, neous; a living process and a work in
pp. 152ff.) was a dense and meandering progress that becomes part of us, just as
4 Dan Hicks

we are part of it; it is constituted as an activities of dwelling, despite the attempts

enduring record ofthe lives and works of anthropologists to translate it into
of past generations who have dwelt within something rather equivalent to a score.2
it, and in doing so, have left something of
themselves. It is the congealed form of The denition of each keyword landscape,
the taskscape. Far from transforming temporality, dwelling, and taskscape relied
the world, human actions are part and on a further overarching dichotomy: between
parcel of the worlds transforming itself. modern Western and non-Western or counter-
2. Temporality is neither chronology nor modern thought. The ancient inclination in
history. It is not constituted by events Western thought to prioritise form over pro-
as isolated happenings, succeeding one cess represented for Ingold a systematic bias,
another frame by framestrung out in grounded in an insistent dualism, between
time like beads on a thread. Instead, object and subject, the material and the ideal,
temporality is a sort of general quality operational and cognized, etic and emic,
of the landscape, immanent in the pas- etc. Ingold put forward accounts of perfor-
sage of events: experienced rather than mance drawn from Howard Morphys discus-
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measured, as each event encompasses a sions of Yolngu painting in Australias

pattern of retentions from the past and Northern Territory and from Keith Bassos
protentions for the future.1 Any pre- studies of story-telling, names, places and
sent moment is not separated by a moral narratives among the Western Apache.
chronological barrier from other In many non-Western societies, Ingold
moments, but instead gathers the past argued, what is essential is the act of painting
and the future into itself, like refrac- itself, of which the products may be relatively
tions in a crystal ball. short-lived. By temporalizing the landscape,
3. Dwelling is not cartography or surveying. archaeologists could avoid neglecting the pri-
Through embodiment, dwelling does not mary signicance of such enactments, he sug-
map or inscribe, but incorporates land- gested, as distinct from their products.
scape unlike the rather peculiar and The argument was illustrated not with
specialized project of the surveyor or car- reference to an archaeological site or land-
tographer whose objective is to represent scape, but through an extended discussion of
the landscape. There are centres rather one of the earliest examples of European
than places: with no boundaries, emerging landscape painting Pieter Bruegel the
through peoples engagement with the Elders The Harvesters (1565) (Fig. 1). The
world, not as xed forms cut out from discussion was part thick description, part
the whole. ekphrasis that rhetorical technique of pre-
4. Taskscapes do not involve labour, but senting a highly detailed, vivid account of a
dwelling activities, emerging through painting in which the mental image conjured
rhythmic, patterned social interaction. up is almost equal to the actual embodied
They reveal neither form nor nal pro- visual and physical apprehension of the arte-
duct as an object of contemplation but facttranscend[ing] scales of time and geo-
performance, process and the actual graphy (Buchli 2016, pp. 8485). Imagine
work. Whereas the currency of yourself set down in the very landscape
labouris time of a very peculiar sort, depicted, on a sultry August day in 1565,
one that must be wholly indifferent to Ingold wrote, revealing a strange ideational
the modulations of human experience, geography: hills and valley emerging through
in contrast taskscapes operate like orches- James Gibsons Ecological Approach; paths
tral performances, existing only so long and tracks leading to Bachelards Poetics of
as people are actually engaged in the Space; a tree evoking duration, perhaps
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 5
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Fig. 1. Pieter Bruegel the Elders The Harvesters (1565). (OASC on

Durkheimian, perhaps Bergsonian; the wheat New York City, where the museum curators
eld representing Johannes Fabians account describe its rich pigments as a timeless study
of coevalness; the church an index of the of man in nature: the rst modern landscape.3
Bakhtinian chronotope. When, where and But the image that is in front of me this after-
what is this landscape? What are the connec- noon as I type at my desk, this representation of
tions between the passage of time and the a representation, is lit up in greyscale: a pixi-
condition of archaeological knowledge? lated, rasterized digital bitmap matrix within a
JSTOR pdf le, pushed to both extremes of the
tonal range: whitened, blackened, and shot
III through with dotted diagonal rows and columns
of halftone pixels (Fig. 2).
The Temporality of the Landscape. When we Imagine yourself set down in the very land-
revisit Ingolds paper, The Harvesters is neither scape depicted. Is this Antwerp 1565,
a landscape nor a representation of a landscape. Manchester 1993, or Manhattan 2016? At my
Four hundred and fty years after the 40-year- desk in Oxford still, or maybe drifting much
old Bruegel layered oil paint on the wood, the further aeld? The invitation self-consciously
summertime rural idyll hangs, some 6000km reaches back along bookshelves of the anthro-
from Antwerp, in the European Paintings gal- pological library to the opening pages of the
leries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in foundational text of the modern ethnography,
6 Dan Hicks
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Fig. 2. Reproduction of Pieter Bruegel the Elders The Harvesters (1565), from Ingold (1993).

Bronislaw Malinowskis Argonauts of the detailed description of the mise-en-scne a

Western Pacic: picturesque and self-consciously imaginative
narrative style that, half a century before
Imagine yourself suddenly set down surrounded Geertzian thick description, Malinowski
by all your gear, alone on a tropical beach close arguably learned from James Frazer (who
to a native village, while the launch or dinghy wrote the preface to Argonauts) and from
which has brought you sails away out of sight. Joseph Conrad (whose Tales of Unrest he
Since you take up your abode in the compound of took with him into the eld) (Thornton 1985,
some neighbouring white man, trader or mission- pp. 8, 1112). As disciplinary ur-trope the
ary, you have nothing to do, but start at once on imaginary rst visit ashore (Malinowski
your ethnographic work. (Malinowski 1922, p. 4)
1922, p. 55) catalysed a century of thinking
in which descriptions of the ethnographers
Argonauts represented of course anthropol- own body set down far away percolated and
ogys reinvention through the idea of ethno- persisted, largely substituting the idea of
graphy. Not so much a paradigm shift, the momentary human experience (what came to
metaphor of a watershed those lines blotted be called the ethnographic present) for mate-
across the landscape through catching rainfall rial collecting as the primary device for creat-
where it will drain through the soils perhaps ing anthropological knowledge (Hicks 2007,
better captures the lasting effect of 2010). Just as anthropology sought to trans-
Malinowskis interwar Pacic text. The idea late such eeting moments of encounter into
sought to take anthropology outdoors, away ideas of function and institution in the new
from objects, museums or archives into the social anthropology, so too inter-war archae-
vividness of the moment evoked through ology made a long-term turn towards spectral
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 7

abstractions the lasting effects of which still archaeological theory in the early 1990s,
haunt us today: culture, process, context, post- which was the very atmosphere in which
process. Ingolds paper was developed. There was no
Seventy years after the publication of Arg- base-camp laboratory or museum here
onauts, The Temporality of the Landscape (Gero 1985, p. 344.). On the contrary, some
pushed this Malinowskian thinking about kind of alternative approach to landscape
time, experience, eldwork and imagination and time was presented. This was grounded
to the limit, in that it presented archaeology in the idea that the distinction between
(quite unlike anthropology) as a kind of indi- Western and non-Western attitudes to
genous knowledge: work, time and industry are implicit in the
temporal dynamic of industrial society itself
The practice of archaeology is itself a form of (Ingold 1995, p. 27), and that in reality
dwelling. The knowledge born of this practice is reied clock time has not replaced the intrin-
thus on a par with that which comes from the sic temporality of lived, social experience; it
practical activity of the native dweller and which has only changed its meaning (Ingold 1994,
the anthropologist, through participation, seeks to p. 338). The suggestion was that archaeology
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learn and understand. For both the archaeologist

could resist modern conceptions of time and
and the native dweller, the landscape tells or
space. Perhaps even that it must.
rather is a story. (Ingold 1993, p. 152).
In such a view, the archaeological excava-
tion represents, to borrow the terminology of
The necessary unity of archaeology and
1960s counter-culture, a kind of happening
anthropology was revealed as a wholly asym-
standing somehow outside disembodied tech-
metric alliance. Ingolds paper presented the
nologies such as clocks, or radiocarbon dat-
archaeologist as a kind of native hunter: alert,
ing, or labour as commodity. Indeed, Ingolds
journeying through the landscape with special
more recent writing, in parallel with the expli-
knowledge of the terrain. Archaeological
citly counter-modern archaeology developed
practice was identied with excavation, so
by Julian Thomas (Thomas 2004), has
that hunting merged with discovery archae-
expanded on this view of the experience of
ologists probing ever more deeply, since
time and place through a scepticism about
every feature is a potential clue. Like the
the kind of knowledge that develops from
Western Apache they are truly at home
modern devices. Malinowskian encounters
in the world.4 Amid the extended analogy of
give way to an ideal of the counter-cultural,
hunting, practices of archaeological gathering,
counter-modern beyond the interfering media-
which would direct us back to a consideration
tion of technology. Taking a cue from
of objects and museums, went unmentioned.
Heidegger, Ingold suggests that the typewriter
We are reminded of an observation by Joan
severs the link between gesture and trace
Gero who, in a different context, noticed
(Ingold 2011, p. 190). He distinguishes
between descriptive endeavours that make
certain strong parallels between the male who
populates the archaeological record public, visi-
use of the pen or pencil on the one hand,
ble, physically active, exploratory, dominant, and and the camera or keyboard on the other,
rugged, the stereotypical hunter and the practi- glossing the latter as studying of rather than
cing eld archaeologist who himself conquers the studying with (Ingold 2011, p. 226). And, just
landscape, brings home the goodies, and takes his as for the hand the typewriter breaks up the
data raw! (Gero 1985, p. 344) ow of manual gesture, so for the eye the still
camera arrests a momentand effects an
These lone gures had long populated instantaneous capture (Ingold 2013, p. 140).
landscape Romanticism when they colonized Cartography and photography are intimately
the newly phenomenological environment of connected, in Ingolds view, with the
8 Dan Hicks

identication of landscape with an art of time (1994) sought to move beyond

description that would see the world spread Eurocentric, modern, ideological notions
out on a canvasprojected onto a plate or of landscape. Archaeological phenomenol-
screen, or the pages of an atlas (2011, p. 127). ogy relied on a conception of the body in
One of photographys antecedents, he sug- the landscape that used Heidegger and
gests, is a commitment in landscape painting Merleau-Ponty to try to re-introduce to
to composition and totalization, in which archaeology a sense of life and inhabitation
the world is played back to the viewer that captured activities rather than just
something which he suggests it shares with representations. Who said, the most articu-
ethnographic thick description (Ingold 2010, late and challenging voice to emerge from
p. 310). Such technologies include not just the this literature asked, romance was dead?
camera, but also the museum, where we are (Edmonds 2006).
forced to confront things as objects, since in Of course, the conception of the multi-tem-
museums there seem to exist just persons like poral nature of archaeological remains in the
ourselves and objects on display (Ingold landscape was already a central element of
2007a, p. 313). modernist archaeological thought and practice
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Truly at home in the world. How did such in the English landscape. The idea of the juxta-
an inuential account of archaeology come to positions of the fragmentary traces of multiple
confuse a modern western academic discipline time periods in contemporary topography was
with some imagined ideal pristine nonwestern a central notion in landscape archaeology even
indigenous culture? How did an anthropologist before W. G. Hoskins evocation of the English
come to mistake his archaeologist colleagues as landscape as a palimpsest, as he railed against
hunter-excavators dwelling in an endless series modern development (Hoskins 1955). This
of rst-contact moments as the premodern past idea of the presence of the past was at the
meets the western present, standing quite out- heart of the 20th-century archaeological
side modern techniques of knowledge English landscape imaginary that David
production? Matless (1998) has called planner-preserva-
The answer relates to the dominant kind of tionism. It was also at the heart of the emer-
English landscape archaeology with which gence of modern conceptions of heritage, and
the paper was in dialogue at the time all that has resulted from that. These develop-
which was no doubt inspired by, but totally ments reveal the intimately modern character
failed adequately to represent, the environ- of this kind of landscape thinking, rather than
mentalist movements with which the practice its standing somehow outside it.
of British salvage archaeology was so closely The Temporality of the Landscape has
bound up at the time (see Macinnes and been criticized as failing to consider power,
Wickham-Jones 1992). The Temporality of inequality and the historical specicity of
the Landscape was written for a session on social relations (Bender 2001); as evoking
Place, time and experience: interpreting pre- an overall tone of harmonious coherence,
historic landscapes at the Theoretical in part because of his human-centred focus
Archaeology Group conference at Leicester on a quotidian taskscape, which risks the
in December 1991. This was the beginning of human and often individualistic self-
a high tide for archaeological phenomenol- absorption of mere performativity (Massey
ogy in the study of English prehistory in the 2006, p. 41). But its most puzzling incoher-
early 1990s. Books like Chris Tilleys A phe- ence lies in its presentation of archaeology as
nomenology of landscape: places, paths and somehow the opposite of a modern Western
monuments (1993), Julian Thomas Time, cul- discipline, without its intimate and ambiva-
ture and identity: an interpretive archaeology lent connections with the Western colonial
(1993), and Chris Gosdens Social being and project, the European landscape tradition,
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 9

the development of state control of the past, a non-Western hunter, the archaeologist is a
modernist regimes of urban and rural plan- kind of modern gatherer.
ning and the industrialized construction Where do these observations lead?
industry. Archaeologists document the land- Alongside The Harvesters, let us consider a
scape through writing, drawing, photography photograph (Fig. 3) of one part of the English
and collecting, transforming material traces landscape, taken during rescue archaeology in
into the archaeological record. We draw advance of the construction of the A435 bypass
maps and survey the landscape; dene sites (now A38) between Alcester and Evesham in
and features as xed forms. Our work is not rural Warwickshire. I took the photograph in
inhabitation but labour. Our taskscape can in the summer of 1993, just as The
be loudly heard, in the roar of the 360 exca- Temporality of the Landscape was going to
vator engine, the click of the camera shutter press, and came across it again in spring 2014
or the sound of steel tools striking stone. We in Warwickshire Museums stores. As we
engage not in waynding or dwelling but in return to this photograph, Ingolds four key-
creative destruction, or the mitigation of era- words ip into reverse:
sure through roads or housing estates yet to
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be built. We understand environments not as 1. The archaeologists Landscape is a

always ongoing, but as subject sometimes to place revisited. Documentation re-
interruption, intervention and loss. Time for enacts ideas of land, nature, space,
us is not an inherent quality of landscape, but like a picture in the imagination. The
a creation that makes periodization, sequence road has been built, and the time and
and understanding of the past possible. Less place of excavation is gone. It is no

Fig. 3. Photograph of open area archaeological excavations for the A435 Alcester-Evesham Bypass,
Warwickshire, August 1993 (photograph: Dan Hicks).
10 Dan Hicks

longer under construction, a living centres with no boundaries; they cut

process or a work in progress that xed forms out from the whole.
becomes part of us, just as we are 4. Archaeological knowledge is not a
part of it. What has outlived that Taskscape or a document of a
time and place is the archive, built to Taskscape as rhythmic dwelling; it is
mitigate loss, where fragmented the product of the archaeologists
remains have been separated off from labour. The archive is wholly indiffer-
the past human perceiver. Building ent to the modulations of the human
and unbuilding is articially stopped experience of the excavator. There is
in these fragments, each of which has nothing but relics of form and nal
become an objectto be understood. product objects for contemplation
The secondary landscape of the or knowledge. The performance and
museum storeroom, conservation process that might appear to be the
laboratory, objects, archives, databases actual work is gone.
and grey literature has been ordered as
a provisional totality. It is this second The problem for The Temporality of the
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landscape that is now constituted as an Landscape lay with the unreliability of

enduring record ofthe lives and Ingolds archaeological informants.
works of past generations who have Archaeology in the landscape is engaged in the
dwelt within it, and in doing so, have work of chorography not the taskscapes of chor-
left something of themselves. Together, eography. And this work exists long after the
the actions of the archaeologist and the performance of tasks is over, through the tech-
road-builder have transformed the nologies of the archive and the museum. The
world. irony is that phenomenological archaeology
2. There is no generalized primary essence relied not only on an ideal of the detached,
of Temporality in the archive, but the sole, disinterested viewer, but also on the mod-
inherited times of chronology and his- ern history of the preservation of scheduled
tory. The archaeological archive is con- ancient monuments Stonehenge, Cranborne
stituted through the documentation of Chase, Hambledon Hill, etc. at which these
past events as isolated happenings, suc- apparently unmediated, noninterventionist,
ceeding one another frame by frame, momentary and timeless encounters with the
strung out in time like beads on a prehistoric present took place.5
thread, as the horizons on the strati- The failure of these counter-modern modern
graphic matrix are drawn out in archaeologies was their thin and banal asser-
sequence, and rendered as phases in tion that archaeology takes place in the present
the post-excavation process. Here, wholly neglecting how archaeological knowl-
archaeological time is not immanent edge is constituted not from real human
in the passage of events: it is measured experience in the eld, but from retrospect
rather than experienced, as each object, upon what is created through practices of doc-
layer, horizon or context number is dis- umentation. This failure is shared with the
tinguished as chronological barriers. post-processual archaeologies more generally
There is no crystal ball. (pace Hodder 2004), through the misguided
3. The proxy landscape of archaeological privileging of the eeting experiences of
knowledge is constituted not through archaeological practice, inspired by the reex-
Dwelling but through cartography, sur- ive idea that as a method interpretation is
veying and representation; with inscrip- always momentary (Hodder 1997, p. 694).
tion not incorporating. Archaeological In other words, when archaeological theorists
records mark sites and locations, not suggested that material culture is not a product
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 11

of a past social world, it is a part of that world radical questioning of archaeology as a repre-
which intrudes into the present (Thomas 1996, sentational practice that is associated with
p. 10), what was missed out was that archae- the shift in emphasis from epistemological
ological material culture must always be the to ontological concerns. Today there is the
product of archaeological practice. prospect of an Archaeology after
What are the implications? The primary Interpretation (Alberti et al. 2013), of rekind-
connection between archaeology and anthro- ling The Archaeological Imagination (Shanks
pology is not simply temporality and land- 2012), of new ways of Understanding the
scape, but the creation of knowledge in the Archaeological Record (Lucas 2012), of an
form of proxies for time and place. Our two archaeology that operates In Defence of
disciplines share the central legacy of the idea Things (Olsen 2010), engages with The Dark
of salvage, from which their allochronic Abyss of Time (Olivier 2011) and explores the
impulses towards the spatialization of time status of archaeology as The Discipline of
emerged. They are technologies for enacting Things (Olsen et al. 2012). Taken together,
nitude in the face of constant change for in different ways these works represent the
trying to make provisional stoppages of time rst clear indications of a fundamental reor-
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and place. This much has been obscured by ientation of archaeology that is just getting
the obdurate and yet ephemeral presentism of under way, focused on a revaluation of the
the idea of the ethnographic: something cap- material dimensions of archaeological knowl-
tured by the opening lines of the forward to edge (Hicks 2010). How can our return to
Argonauts: The Temporality of the Landscape contri-
bute to this endeavour? Time has passed, and
Ethnology is in the sadly ludicrous, not to say tragic, there are new conceptions of archaeology
position, that at the very moment when it begins to that we can make use of. Let us put an alter-
put its workshop in order, to forge its proper tools, native vision of archaeology neither phe-
to start ready for work on its appointed task, the
nomenological nor interpretive into
material of its study melts away with hopeless rapid-
ity. (Malinowski 1922, p. xv)
dialogue with Ingolds thinking, engaged
not so much in an ontological turn as in a
A persistent functionalism obscures how, kind of archival return.
while moments of eldwork may be transitory, Ingold has recently expressed concerns
our museums and libraries are lled with their about describing anthropologists encounters
detritus, forming secondary indoor landscapes. with informants in the eld as ethnography,
Anthropological and archaeological knowl- since this relies on a temporal distortion that
edge can be constituted only through what is contrives to render the aftermath of our
left behind. And what is left is never stable, meetings with people as their anterior condi-
even when the work of the curator serves to tion (Ingold 2014, p. 386). His argument
give that appearance. When do we know the recalls Johannes Fabians critique of the
archaeological past? What are the connections denial of coevalness between the ethnogra-
between the passage of time and the condition pher as subject and others as the object of
of archaeological knowledge? enquiry, which showed how anthropology
contrived to place the referent(s) of anthro-
pology in a Time other than the present of
the producer of the anthropological dis-
course (Fabian 1983, p. 31). But the danger
The Temporality of the Landscape. In seeking for anthropology, Fabian indicated, was its
to move beyond processual and interpretive ability not just to collapse distant places into
denitions of archaeological knowledge, the the remote past, but to relegate others to a
paper anticipated by two decades the present timeless now through the literary conceit of
12 Dan Hicks

the ethnographic present (Fabian 1983, p. analogous interventions. They are forms of
80). In this light, Ingolds account of eld- notation: dal segno (go back to the mark).
work, as distinct from ethnographization in Enaction gives way to re-enactions. Among
which experience is schizochronically put the outcomes of these technologies are provi-
behind us, even as it is lived (Ingold 2014, sional and contingent stoppages in time, ren-
p. 393), is surely inoperable in the eld of dering fragments as objects, which are
archaeology. It would represent an unconvin- wrought as cadences. A form of secondary
cing attempt to distinguish between artice deposition emerges in the new spaces of the
and reality. The objective of archaeologists museum and laboratory, like curtain calls or
is not the direct experience of the past in the encores. So, while Ingold (2014) is undoubt-
present outdoors in the landscape in the edly correct to interrogate the temporal con-
same elements that, through the ages, have ceits of ethnography, the pressing challenge
battered, eroded and smothered the monu- for archaeology is to dismiss the idea of the
ments to past activity they seek to recover, unmediated, pristine, archaeological present.
bathed in the light of the open air, infused by We must rethink the assumption that archae-
its scents, blown by its currents or immersed ology is an outdoor science that should
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in its pulses of sound (Ingold 2005, p. 122). resist retreating indoors to the safety and
Instead, it is knowledge of the past through seclusion of the laboratory, library or study
what can be left. This is not a question of (Ingold 2005, p. 122) an idea that eschews
taphonomy, or residuality (Lucas 2010); end product in favour of the original per-
instead our question must be: what does formance, as if that were somehow more real
archaeology produce? because it was longer ago.
The archaeological archive has been trea- Recent developments in performance scho-
ted as epiphenomenal. For Ingold, it is the larship and curatorship provide some impor-
epitome of the conceit of the nished pro- tant ideas for this rethinking. In this eld, a
duct that denies a more real process: generation ago ephemerality and disappear-
ance were seen as central attributes of live-
The more that objects are removed from the con- ness, while documentation was nothing but a
texts of life activity in which they are produced vain effort at saving. Thus, Peggy Phelans
and used the more they appear as static objects inuential account of the ontology of perfor-
of disinterested contemplation (as in museums and mance argued that:
galleries) the more, too, the process disappears
or is hidden behind the product, the nished Performances only life is in the present.
object. (Ingold 2000, p. 346) Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documen-
ted, or otherwise participate in the circulation of
But, for the archaeologist, the archive is a representations of representations: once it does, it
method through which landscape and time becomes something other than performance. To
are connected. Ingold suggested that the tem- the degree that performance attempts to enter the
economy of reproduction it betrays and lessens the
poral quality of his taskscape is like an
promise of its own ontology. Performances
orchestras performance, but the archaeolo- beingbecomes itself through disappearance.
gist might recall Lvi-Strausss observation (Phelan 1993, p. 146)
about the commonality between music and
myth. Both serve to immobilize the passage In this approach, which had much in com-
of time, thus overcoming the antinomy of mon with that of The Temporality of the
historical and elapsed time (Lvi-Strauss Landscape, the idea of being there was
1966, p. 61). The technologies of the museum central. There was the sense that theatre is
and the archive the museum label, the zip- the art of the present, from which the
lock bag, the conservation lab are ontology of subjectivity emerged through
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 13

the undocumentable moment of perfor- archive look like in archaeology? Unlike

mance (Phelan 1993, pp. 146, 148). dance, perhaps, archaeology can self-evidently
never be an art of the present. Indeed, far from
The challenge raised by the ontological claims of generating documents through which the events
performance for writing is to re-mark again the of eldwork can be reconstructed, which are
performative possibilities of writing itself. The act then made to last in archives, archaeological
of writing toward disappearance, rather than the practice is wholly archival in character. In
act of writing toward preservation, must remember archaeology, the documents are the perfor-
that the after-effect of disappearance is the experi- mance. They are part of the destruction of a
ence of subjectivity itself. (Phelan 1993, p. 149) place: not a representation of the landscape,
but fragments of it. Archaeology is a kind of
In contrast, Philip Auslander suggested craft for sure, as Michael Shanks and Randy
that performance and mediatization are McGuire have argued, but to understand craft
more entangled, since the very concept of we cannot just focus on its secondary cultural
live performance presupposes that of repro- productions which they described as reports,
duction (Auslander 1997, p. 55). Matthew papers, books, museum displays, TV programs,
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Reason has gone further, understanding the whatever (1996, p. 76), but which are not just
archive not as representation or mimesis, but outcomes but archival refractions. To under-
as detritus: the fragments and echoes of the stand the condition of archaeological knowl-
performance (Reason 2003, 2006, p. 3). In edge and to fashion its uses we must attend no
this view, far from being an authoritative longer to momentary process (whether method
archive of the past, the archive is partial. or interpretation), but to the aftershocks of
For Reason the researchers task is to exam- scientic practice. For this reason, the purpose
ine what impressions the representations of this essay has been a form of revisitation
leave on our understanding of performance part restatement (where a theme, motif or hook
(Reason 2006, p. 5). Documents made during can reignite a melody), part antanaclasis (that
performance often assert themselves to be rhetorical device where repetition reshapes
the true record of what really happened, or effect). What are the connections between the
else have that capacity ascribed to them passage of time and the condition of archaeolo-
(Pearson 2010, pp. 191192), but gradually gical knowledge?
in performance studies the idea of perfor-
mance as original or more real than its
documentation has started to break down.
Jane Blocker has imagined a history that
does not save in any sense of the word, The Temporality of the Landscape. We nd
since we need a history that performs ourselves a generation beyond Ingolds
(Blocker 1999, p. 134). And, most recently, attempt to dispel from archaeology the mod-
Heike Roms has dened an archival turn in ern knowledge that comes from mapping,
performance studies, in which documentation surveying, photographing and many other
is redened as constituted through a contin- methods for treating things as objects and
ual performance of collaborative practices of putting them in museums. And this present
care (Roms 2013, p. 48). time and place in thought, in turn, is hardly a
What might such a shift from a privileging of xed or singular state of affairs. The ontolo-
being there in the moment (something by de- gical arguments that Ingolds paper made
nition no longer possible), to a sense of the about Western and non-Western times and
unfolding of performance beyond the connes places are still important. The present essay
of the single live event (Roms 2013, p. 37) is not simply an alternative reading of
through an ongoing performativity of the Ingolds paper, since time has passed.
14 Dan Hicks

Archaeology is changed, and The cultural ecology as either adaptation or sym-

Temporality of the Landscape has changed bolism (Ingold 2000, p. 154) remains impor-
as well. Re-reading, re-tracing, there are new tant. It was inuential in the growing
directions in which we might take the papers awareness of the failure of the 20th-century
arguments as archaeological questions. In let- experiment of dening archaeology and
ting go of the privileging of that most sim- anthropology as a kind of social science
plistic conception of the archaeological (Ingold 1992, p. 693). But, in dismissing the
present that has dominated archaeological idea of landscape as a commodity, or a pic-
theory since Walter Taylor, and which ture, or a disembodied representation, or an
reached its logical conclusions in the phe- object, or chronology, or history, or inscrip-
nomenological-reexive moment of the post- tion, or labour, or cartography, the paper
process 1990s, a new kind of ontological fails archaeology today. Ingold was misin-
question can be addressed (compare Lucas formed about what archaeological knowl-
2015). edge is. The yearning to look beyond
Consider Alfred Gell discussing the Western conceptions of time and landscape
anthropology of time: The illusion of time- seems now, a generation later, to be a period
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travel engendered by the contemplation of piece: a failed attempt to short-circuit archae-

ancient objects is a strong one, stronger per- ologys central status as a Western form of
haps than mere logic (Gell 1992, p. 28). making knowledge, through the same short-
Since this one eld of our anthropological comings that meant that phenomenological
discipline relies so much on this illusion, we archaeology failed the ambitions of environ-
might not just follow Gell in studying how it mentalist archaeology. Ingolds informants
is put to use, but also enquire into how the missed the point: rather than denying the
archaeologists trick is done. The most signif- existence of objects and subjects, or past
icant, and currently underexplored, element and present, our challenge is to understand
of the growing literature in anthropologys how such distinctions are enacted through
ongoing ontological turn is the unexpected the modern craft of archaeology.
relativizing of any given ontological constitu- How to proceed? By concluding that
tion of the world, of humans, of material Heidegger was not a very good anthropolo-
culture or indeed of landscape and time. gist of science and technology (Latour 2004,
For our purposes, the major implication of p. 235)? That is for sure but so what? Any
Philippe Descolas presentation of four alter- critique of the ideas of a previous generation
native ontologies, located in different regions should be anathema to the anthropological
and periods of time animism, naturalism, archaeologist, for whom the past is the prin-
totemism and analogism (Descola 2013) is cipal resource. Instead, let us suggest a hand-
to reveal the inadequacy of seeking to see ful of new denitions for how we understand
past one ontology (in this case modern what archaeological knowledge is, by updat-
Western naturalism) to another that is ing Ingolds four keywords to read: tempor-
somehow more real. Instead a new, pressing ality, modernity, landscape and revisitation.
question emerges: how to understand the First, let us acknowledge that all we can
place of archaeological practice in the mate- know through archaeology comes through a
rial constitution of western ontologies of time form of collective Nachlass. The word
and place. Temporality is most confusing here. For
The themes of The Temporality of the exactly the same reasons as Ingold himself
Landscape remain central to the future of has pointed out in his critique of the phenom-
how we understand what archaeological enologists use of the idea of materiality
knowledge can be. Its critique of our disci- rather than materials (Ingold 2005, p. 124),
plines conception of choosing between we must be careful to avoid evoking with the
The Temporality of the Landscape Revisited 15

term temporality any false sense of a xed what comes next? An archaeological land-
essence of unvarying time something that scape is an object that is known through
characterized the longstanding mistaken remapping.
archaeological conception of the present, by Fourth, all archaeological knowledge must
processualist, reexivist and phenomenolo- be made through Revisiting. Archaeology is a
gist alike, as an unproblematically shared, method for going back. This essay has returned
coeval moment in time. On the contrary, to some of the Romantic dimensions of Ingolds
the archaeological use of the term temporal- classic paper, as both an idea and a place. As we
ity might be reclaimed to describe time as a conclude, we might quite without irony recall
highly varied, uneven material creation an Wordsworths observation, when revisiting
effect of (among other things) our modern Tintern Abbey, that, when we see into the life
craft, the consequence of which is to open of things through recollection, memory itself is
up the conditions for incremental repetition. as a dwelling place (Wordsworth 1798). The
Archaeology is a mode of scientic produc- museum and archive are not end products.
tion (Lucas 2012, pp. 231234) for sure but Rather, there is no archaeological knowledge
what comes next? The passage of time trans- that lies outside some kind of product of our
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forms archaeological knowledge. craft. For this reason, archaeological knowledge

Second, archaeology must reclaim and must always start with a return to a place, an
embrace its Modernity as a principal object idea, an object. That is how the connection
of enquiry, rather than trying to escape or between landscape and time is made by the
shortcut Western modes of knowledge to archaeologist. Archaeology is a craft (Shanks
access some more real vision of the past. If and McGuire 1996) for sure but what comes
archaeology is to treat its scientic objects next? Archaeological knowledge is what we leave
ontologically, since the epistemological behind.
game is up, then it must understand them ***
anthropologically. Archaeology can never Concluding his paper, Tim Ingold asked,
be a form of knowledge that stands wholly What is archaeology the study of? His
outside Western thought and science: it is a answer was: The Temporality of the
means of re-enacting distinctions between Landscape. But as we learned at the
past and present, objects and subjects. start of this essay, archaeologists do not
Archaeology is interventionist (Lucas 2001a, interpret the past only in terms of the pre-
p. 40, 2001b) for sure but what comes next? sent (Sherratt). Archaeology shows us how
Archaeological knowledge transforms the pas- to think through change (Leone). And
sage of time. archaeological knowledge emerges through
Third, we need a new kind of documentary a kind of intervening period (Deetz). So
archaeology, which can full the potential of let me the question for a second time.
our disciplines long overdue archival return. What is archaeology the study of? It is
Our Landscapes are at once indoors in the the study of the temporality of the land-
museums and libraries and outdoors at sites scape revisited.
and monuments and at the lay-bys of 20-
year-old trunk roads. Could a new kind of
archaeological thinking awaken from a long
hibernation in the basements of museology Thanks are due to audiences at the European
(Ingold 2007b, p. 5)? Perhaps it will, since Association of Archaeologists meeting in
archaeological knowledge does not exist out- Glasgow in September 2015, and at
side the secondary, proxy landscapes of the Gothenburg University in October 2015 for
archive. Archaeology involves Acts of their comments on earlier drafts of this
Discovery (Edgeworth 2003) for sure but paper. Thanks are also due to Angela
16 Dan Hicks

Piccini and Saini Manninen for some conver- materials to archaeological theory. Walnut
sations about performance archives, and to Creek: Left Coast Press.
two anonymous referees. This work was sup- Auslander, P., 1997, Against ontology: making
ported by the Economic and Social Research distinctions between the live and the mediatized.
Performance Research, 2 (3), 5055.
Council (grant reference number ES/
Bender, B., 2001, Landscapes-on-the-move.
Journal of Social Archaeology, 1 (1), 7589.
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formance. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Wordsworth, W., 1798. Lines written a few miles
Press, 3549. above Tintern Abbey. In: W. Wordsworth & S.
Shanks, M., 2012. The archaeological imagination. T. Coleridge, ed. Lyrical Ballads, with a few
Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press. other poems. Bristol: Biggs and Cottle, 201210.
DISCUSSION (HICKS) Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2016

The World is Living Memory


In our darkness, there is not one place for Beauty. To be convinced that this is so, you need
The whole of it is for Beauty. only concentrate deeply on a landscape
(Ren Char, Feuillets dHynos, fragment 237) painting. You need only let yourself be
drawn into it, and imagine that you can
No, my dear Dan Hicks, The Temporality of become a part of the scene depicted on the
the Landscape has not been forgotten. How canvas, much as the amateur artist in Akira
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could it? It may well have been many years Kurosawas lm Dreams entered Van Goghs
since Tim Ingolds article was published, but landscapes and moved about from place to
what that article demonstrated has not faded place. You need only realize that the work by
away to general indifference, for he inscribed it Bruegel is not just something we call an old
in the mesmerizing landscape of Bruegel the painting, but rather a work that reveals a
Elders The Harvesters. Like artists and primi- reality that exists in itself, and is the world
tive people, Ingold thought and felt through as it is.
things. Or rather, he re-conferred upon things Bruegels The Harvesters is not just the
their status as objects of thought. In Bruegels rendering of a landscape on canvas. It is in
painting, what might have been too compli- itself a landscape. The angle of view places us
cated to grasp and too laborious to explain well above ground level, offering us the kind
becomes obvious, light, and elegant. In the of overview we occasionally experience in our
end, what we are talking about here is the dreams. In the foreground we see peasants
way we relate to the world, that is, to the sitting on the ground, having lunch in the
world as it is given to us, in its immediacy and shade of a tree. One of them is asleep, with
materiality, its eetingness and permanence. his mouth open, his features drawn with fati-
For archaeology is rst of all a matter of our gue, his legs apart, and his y half-open. If
relation to things all those things that man- we raise our eyes, we see a hill and, through
kind has produced and transformed and to the trees, the familiar outline of a church, and
those places in which these things have accu- then houses surrounded by elds. In the dis-
mulated and been preserved as they have come tance, the horizon opens onto a mist-covered
down to us. But these things are not inert; they bay with boats heading out to sea.
are animated by people, who give them life and You could gaze upon this painting for
allow them to live on, which is why archaeol- hours, just as you can gaze upon a real land-
ogy, which focuses on things and places, and scape for hours, for little by little you notice
anthropology, which studies mankind, form, as details that had previously escaped your
Ingold put it, a necessary unity. attention. You had not seen the fallen fruit

Laurent Olivier, Department of Celtic and Gallic Archaeology, National Museum of Archaeology, Saint-Germain-en-Laye,

2016 Norwegian Archaeological Review

2 Laurent Olivier

that children are picking up as a man up in between past, present and future.
the tree shakes the branches. You had not Temporality involves breaking down the
noticed, further back, villagers in cruel amu- barriers between time periods that come
sement killing a goose tethered to a pole, or together in one moment of the materiality
the bare-assed monks swimming in a pond, of the world, such as the one that Bruegel
or, all the way in the back, the tiny silhou- captured in his landscape.
ette of a man crouching as he defecates by a I was a child when I rst saw The Harvesters.
house. And there are surely many other I remember being fascinated then by the per-
details that have gone unnoticed, but which fectly hewn path that slices through the wheat
are nonetheless there, in the depths of the eld, whereas now I see a weary man trudging
painting. There is something going on every- up to the group of peasants with a jug in each
where. Events are taking place that will soon hand, one red and one black. It is Bruegels
fade away; some of the objects there will landscape that makes us come back to it over
remain and endure while undergoing barely and over; and it is this remembrance that has
perceptible transformations, and some been calling to me ever since, from that distant
occurrences will return, the same as before past that is no more. Today, the two birds that
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and yet different each time, like a summers are ying away and the three girls who are going
harvest. The landscape is not so much his- off somewhere carry with them the memory of
tory as it is living memory, captured in one past moments I experienced and images of those
moment. that I have loved and lost. Nor are the faces and
Bruegel painted The Harvesters in 1565, postures of the anonymous people huddled
but how do we situate it in time when we together under a long-gone tree in a now van-
look at it today, from where we are now? It ished landscape unknown to us, even if we do
is easy enough to say that it dates from 450 not know who they were. They are our forgot-
years ago, but we nevertheless sense that we ten family, from an age long gone. Bruegels
are not completely removed from it. We painting is an invisible spring from which new
know this place that we have never been meanings constantly emerge, meanings which,
to, and that certainly never existed as it like us, undergo change. One could spend a
appears. Some details, like the picnic bas- lifetime gazing at this landscape. Young and
ket with the bread wrapped in cloth, or the old, we have been gazing at it for centuries
white tablecloth spread out on the ground now, and others still will come to look at it
with fruit on it, are as clear as images that when we are gone. Because of the temporality
come back to us from our childhood. of this landscape, which is merely a particular
Others are foreign to us, like the moment of memory inscribed in places and
lampshade-looking hats that the women things, all we can do is come back to it again
are wearing. The large ceramic ewers are and again, for we live and grow old. Life itself is
familiar because we have seen others like but an eternal recurrence.
them in museums, but we had never seen This is why archaeology is basically a kind
anyone drink directly out of one, nor of revisitation, as you, Dan Hicks, pointed
known how they were kept cool in the out. Things in our memory take on meaning
shade by placing a loaf of bread on top. only after the fact, as we reinterpret them.
And, like a ash across time, the luminous And this explains why, in view of this past-
yellow of Bruegels wheat, with its reddish memory that surrounds us like a landscape,
streaks, recalls the yellow that Van Gogh a truly historical thought must, as the phi-
was later to paint beneath the deep blue, losopher Hans-Georg Gadamer noted (1976,
almost black, of the sky around Auvers-sur- p. 321), include its own historicity.
Oise. We nd ourselves immersed in tem- Archaeology must, as you say, reclaim
porality, which blurs the boundaries and embrace its modernity as a principal
The World is Living Memory 3

object of enquiry. For, as the historian Hicks are profound and rich in their meander-
Franois Herzog noted, we are now living ings and their unexpected and inviting rami-
under the reign of presentism, at a disquiet- cations. In the time since The Temporality of
ing time when we know ourselves to be both the Landscape appeared, we have been linger-
cut off from the past and fundamentally ing on the threshold of a major, conceptual
uncertain of the future (Hartog 2003). revolution that goes well beyond the coining
History, in effect the past, now unfolds exclu- of some new ism, for it involves a wholly new
sively as a return of, a phantom presence way in which to conceive our relation to the
haunting the present, as with The Harvesters. past and to the world. We are reluctant to dive
Michel Foucault compared the history of into these unfamiliar waters, to let go of
ideas to an almost geological process of sedi- archaeologys traditionally historicist perspec-
mentation in the course of which layers of tive that would lead us to believe that it is
interpretation are slowly superimposed, possible to reconstruct what really took
forming strata that build up bases place on the basis of what has come down to
(Foucault 1969, pp. 910). To carry the us from the past. But the subject matter of
metaphor further, we could say that these archaeology is not so much the past what
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substrata rest on unstable continental actually was as it is that which has been
plates whose underground movements pro- constructed over time, and which has been
duce fault lines that create rifts in the pre- both transmitted and transformed. The true
vailing views, or eruptions that spew forth subject of archaeology is in effect temporality.
from the depths incandescent, shapeless Clearly, we do not yet possess the tools with
magma that blankets the surface deposits which to conceive it as such; we are not yet
and makes them illegible. Tim Ingolds ready to take the plunge. It is only natural that
Temporality of the Landscape was an unu- we hesitate to risk losing all our conventional
sually atypical piece, and one that was mani- points of reference and the conceptual divisions
festly the result of one of the eruptions that that provide us with a sense of security. But we
marked the beginning of the end of the post- have been given the opportunity to view things
processual era. It exposed the sterility of differently, like some gift bestowed upon us
the academic debate that interminably freely and directly. We have only to sit down
pitted the new, self-proclaimed post- in front of a landscape, like the one in The
processualists against the supposedly old Harvesters, open our eyes and, with every
processualists. The Temporality of the bre of our bodies, look at what lies there in
Landscape demonstrated that the contro- the beauty of a summer mornings light: that
versy between them was fundamentally elusive and marvellous thing that is the world.
awed by what both groups understood to
be the subject matter of archaeology. In REFERENCES
their desperate attempts to reconstruct his-
tory solely as that which has been produced Foucault, M., 1969. Larchologie du savoir. Paris:
or desired by mankind, processualists and Gallimard.
Gadamer, H.-G., 1976. Vrit et mthode. Les
post-processualists alike were adhering to
grandes lignes dune hermneutique philosophi-
an illusion, for we have come to understand que. Paris: le Seuil, Lordre philosophique.
that the subject matter of archaeology is a Hamel, J.-F., 2006. Revenances de lhistoire.
hybrid manifestation of memory, jointly Rptition, narrativit, modernit. Paris: Les
shaped by things, places and beings. ditions de Minuit.
There is a great deal more to say about this Hartog, F., 2003. Rgimes dhistoricit.
than the space allotted here for commentary Prsentisme et expriences du temps. Paris: Le
allows. The articles by Tim Ingold and Dan Seuil.
DISCUSSION (HICKS) Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2016

Phenomenology of Landscapes and

Taskscapes in Excavation Archives

It is good to return to major papers after revisiting can take place in all these loca-
intervals of time, to re-read them in the light tions. The problem comes not so much
of changes that have taken place in the world, from taking a multi-site approach, but
or indeed in ourselves. In revisiting such an rather in going from one extreme to the
important work as The temporality of the other with regard to theoretical stance.
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landscape by Tim Ingold (1993), inviting us Even if Hicks is right in his assertion that
to view it differently, Dan Hicks writes a com- too much emphasis has been placed on the
pelling paper. He reminds us that there is more taskscape of excavation and the phenomen-
to the production of archaeological knowledge ology of landscapes, and I am not so sure
than taskscapes and acts of discovery or mate- that he is, his archival return goes much
rial encounters/transformations that take place too far in the other direction.
out on site during excavation. The temporality Hicks rationales remind me of those of a
of archaeological data is not limited to events writer who was at the height of his inuence
of digging. Indeed, objects of knowledge may in the early 1990s when Ingold wrote his
continue to be transformed on a range of dif- paper the French post-modernist philoso-
ferent kinds of sites long after the excavation pher Jacques Derrida. In his later work he
report has been written. Far from going into identied a condition called archive fever
some xed timeless state, he argues, they which involves a compulsive, repetitive, and
emerge through techniques of temporal pro- nostalgic desire for the archive (Derrida
tention, central devices for which include the 1998). But it is an assertion he made in his
museum and the archive. earlier work that is most relevant here. In
I appreciate what Hicks is driving at and famously stating there is nothing outside of
agree up to a point. In reaching an under- the text (Derrida 1974), he seemed to dismiss
standing of archaeological objects, or the possibility of any non-textual phenomen-
grasping how that understanding is ological reality. His work represents a strand
obtained through the practices of archaeol- of continental philosophy that Ingold may
ogy, it is crucial to consider all the sites of have been partly reacting against in writing
knowledge production. This applies not just The temporality of the landscape. And, in
to archives, and not just to museums and his retrospective critique of Ingolds paper,
excavations, but also to commercial archae- Hicks takes us back to a similar theoretical
ological eld unit ofces, libraries, consul- position. He seems to be saying (to para-
tancies, laboratories, centres for aerial phrase his argument in the manner of
photo analysis and so on. Acts of discovery Derrida): there is nothing outside of the
and acts of remembrance and acts of archive.

Matt Edgeworth, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

2016 Norwegian Archaeological Review

2 Matt Edgeworth

According to Hicks, Archaeologists contact with entities from deep in the earth
document the landscape through writing, that are non-documentary and nothing to do
drawing, photography and collecting, trans- with archives.
forming through creative destruction mate- What is interesting is how differently mate-
rial traces into the archaeological record. rial evidence appears according to whether a
We draw maps and survey the landscape; worker is engaged in acts of inscription or in
dene sites and features as xed forms. Our material transactions. In the case of the for-
work is not inhabitation but labour. Thus mer, material evidence manifests as essen-
archaeologists do not get into a site to inha- tially static and passive. Being disengaged
bit it or dwell within it, but instead work from it, workers perceive the evidence in
upon it, rather as one might work upon terms of the xed forms of Hicks, and it is
various kinds of documents (original source these that get reproduced or documented.
materials, copies, translations, reinterpreta- But once we put down the planning board/
tions, representations). They collect rather camera/writing implements and jump back
than actively probe the material. They are into the feature we happen to be excavating
not so much hunters, according to Hicks, as picking up the digging tools to re-engage
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gatherers. with the material eld the evidence starts

This is highlighting one important aspect moving and unfolding once more. In inhabit-
of excavation (the measurement, documenta- ing the material eld and directly engaging
tion and recording of the site), while at the with the practical problems of interpretation
same time playing down or neglecting it presents, by probing into it and uncovering
another equally important aspect (the inhabi- surfaces that were formerly hidden, we
tation, active exploration and probing into experience its ows and phase transitions.
emerging material). When I carried out my This is the phenomenological side of excava-
ethnographic study of archaeological practice tion. It is also a specic variation of the
in 198990 (later published as Edgeworth taskscape that Ingold describes, as mani-
2003), I observed how both of these are fested in the context of an archaeological dig.
important facets of eldwork. They can be The challenge is to show how both
loosely characterized metaphorically as gath- (Ingolds taskscapes and Hicks archiving)
ering and hunting activities I suppose, but I are present as facets or phases of the
preferred to call them acts of inscription and archaeological process of knowledge pro-
material transactions, and my report duction, distributed through time on multi-
describes how eld archaeologists alternate ple sites which include museums and
between the two in the course of everyday archives as well as excavations. The differ-
work. Acts of inscription such as drawing ence between the two facets is stark, but
plans or writing context descriptions necessa- ultimately there seems no good reason
rily involve a degree of physical disengage- why documentary and phenomenological
ment from the material evidence. aspects should be polarized or seen to be
Documentary equipment, such as context in opposition. There are archival aspects of
sheets, planning grids, drawing paper, cam- excavation and phenomenological aspects
eras, pencils, etc., is deployed. Material to archives. It is not necessary to play
transactions, on the other hand, involve a re- down the one aspect in order to highlight
engagement and physical closeness with the importance of its perceived opposite.
material evidence, usually mediated through We can have the best of both worlds.
the use of hand-held digging tools such as Both are part of archaeology, and could
trowels. In their material transactions with potentially enrich (and be enriched by) the
the site archaeologists do actually come into existence of the other.
Phenomenology of Landscapes and Taskscapes 3

COMMENTARY ON THE ARCHIVE Closer to the foreground is a standing g-

PHOTO OF THE EXCAVATION ure with back turned to us. It seems as
TASKSCAPE though he or she is just waiting there, hands
in pockets, watching what is going on rather
Hicks selected a photo (his Fig. 3) as a coun-
than participating. In a sense this is true. But
terpoint to Ingolds selection of Bruegels
the appearance of detachment and disengage-
painting The Harvesters. As he explains, the
ment is an illusion. Here I will explain the
image was found in an archive in 2014. It
task being performed and attempt to expli-
depicts a rescue excavation that took place
cate the essential structure of the taskscape
in 1993 in advance of road construction. He
depicted, because (while part of everyday
gives an interesting account of it as an
routine) there is something quite extraordin-
archive object now removed by several dec-
ary about it.
ades from the events of the original excava-
The archaeologist in question is engaged in
tion. It is described in terms of a landscape of
the activity of machine-watching. Do not be
loss, mitigated only slightly by the fragments
fooled by the description, for the task is by no
of images and other documentary evidence
means as passive as the term implies. The
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collected together to form the archive.

machine is technically operated by a machine-
Without in any way arguing against his
driver sitting in the cab, but he is taking instruc-
account, I would like to add some further
tions from the archaeologist monitoring the
commentary on aspects which Hicks does
operation, referred to here as the machine-
not cover. For me the photo is just as redo-
watcher. As the blade of the machine bucket
lent of the taskscapes of excavation as
scrapes the ground surface, the machine-
Bruegels picture is redolent of past agricul-
watcher communicates to the driver through
tural taskscapes for Ingold.
hand gestures whether he should go deeper or
The photo catches a moment in time it is a
shallower, more gently or more roughly, faster
snapshot only but there is enough informa-
or slower. The instructions may vary according
tion there to see what has happened a moment
to the congurations of material evidence that
before and what is likely to happen a moment
are emerging from the ground. That is, if a
later. The earth-moving machine is in the pro-
sought-for archaeological surface or soil
cess of swinging its bucket over the spoil-heap,
boundary is reached the driver may be
emptying its burden of soil, having just scraped
instructed to follow the surface along. Or, if
over the ground surface to reveal new patterns
the expected surface does not turn up, then the
of evidence. It will shortly swing back again to
driver may be asked to take off deeper spits. In
scrape off another spit of earth. In the back-
the event of the outlines of archaeological fea-
ground (more easily visible if the image is
tures starting to appear the driver may be
enlarged) a row of three workers is trowelling
required to gently scrape over the top in order
over a surface that has already been cleared by
to delineate them better. Sometimes quite
the machine. They are engaged in a collective
unexpected evidence comes to light, in which
material transaction or task, crouched over the
case an impromptu response deemed to be
ground in order to better work the evidence
appropriate will be signalled to the driver. If
that emerges under the moving blades of their
the archaeologist watching the machine is
trowels. There is rhythm here. The rhythmic
unsure what the signicance of newly emerged
scrape of the machine, the rhythmic scrape of
evidence is, or what action is required to deal
the trowels (though not in synchrony) are
with it, he or she is likely to spring into action,
metronomes for the tasks being performed.
gesturing the machine to stop, and jumping
The material evidence itself, as a result of the
into the trench to investigate the evidence
ways it is being worked, emerges in short rhyth-
further with a spade or trowel.
mic bursts.
4 Matt Edgeworth

The structure of the taskscape in this case curate and preserve memories, but bury
can be described not just in terms of enacted them as well. Buried in the archive of excava-
tasks and ows of materials, but also, mixed tion documents, photos and plans now just
up with these, a loop of information ow in as much fragments of the past as the site they
which humans, machines and (crucially) document are the congealed memories of
unfolding material evidence all actively par- the taskscape of excavation.
ticipate. The machine-watcher observes
newly emerging evidence and decides on the
basis of this the best course of action, com-
municating a response by gesture to the Derrida, J., 1974. Of grammatology. Trans.
machine-driver, who puts those instructions Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore, MD:
into practice via the controls and hydraulics Johns Hopkins University Press.
and other moving parts of the machine. The Derrida, J., 1998. Archive fever: a Freudian impres-
blade of the bucket scrapes the ground sion. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
accordingly, revealing new and perhaps sur-
Edgeworth, M., 2003. Acts of discovery: an
prising congurations of evidence, to which
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ethnography of archaeological practice. Oxford:

the machine-watcher responds. And so the Archaeopress.
loop goes on. Ingold, T., 1993, The temporality of the landscape.
In his account of archive fever, Derrida World Archaeology, 25 (2), 152174. doi:10.1080/
(1998) pointed out that archives not only 00438243.1993.9980235
DISCUSSION(HICKS) Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2016

Archaeology with Its Back to the World


I am relieved to know that Dan Hicks from such ideas as nature and the physical
motives for revisiting The Temporality of world. It would be many years before I would
the Landscape are in the spirit of neither return to the concept of landscape, and then in
remembrance, nor critique, nor resurrection. the context of a renewed interest in the atmo-
Fortunately I am still alive, and can indulge spherics of weather and the relations between
the privilege of the living to keep up with the earth and sky (Ingold 2011, pp. 126135).
times. Anxious to move on, I have no wish to The questions of how we should best
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disinter what was never buried. Nor, recalling understand past and present human lives in
my struggle to write the paper, would I ever relation to their surrounding conditions con-
want to go through it again. Personally, I had tinue to trouble both anthropology and
hit a low point in a cycle of depression; intel- archaeology, and remain topics of lively
lectually I was still coming to terms with the debate. They do not appear, however, to
collapse of the thesis of complementarity by rank high on Hicks agenda. He has other
which, until then, I had sought to both sepa- axes to grind. Chief among them is his desire
rate and unify the social and environmental to inaugurate an archival turn. He wants to
domains of human existence. Realizing that restore what he calls techniques of temporal
the separation was unsustainable, I had been protention (p. 3) above all in the practices
compelled to start all over again, with an of the archive but also in those of museum
approach that would restore persons and curation to the centrality they deserve in
their relations to the continuum of organic the production of archaeological knowledge.
life. And, having acknowledged that humans Far be it from me to begrudge Hicks his
are beings in a world, part of the problem was turn. Bring it on! I do nd it odd, however,
to ascertain how best to describe the world of that he should have chosen The Temporality
their being-in (Ingold 2000, p. 193). The idea of the Landscape, of all things, as the stone
of landscape looked promising. At that time, on which to grind his axe. For the paper was
largely for reasons unconnected with my own simply not about museums or archives. I am
travails, this idea was beginning to gain some neither a curator nor an archivist, and, unlike
traction in social anthropology, and I won- Hicks, I have no particular authority to write
dered whether it might help to overcome the on these matters. I am unclear, therefore,
naturalistic bias that continued to adhere to whether Hicks invective is directed at The
the concept of environment. In many ways, Temporality of the Landscape itself or at me
The Temporality of the Landscape was an for not having written a paper on another
experiment that failed. In the end, I decided topic closer to his heart.
that I would do better to stick with environ- That the latter might be nearer the truth is
ment and seek instead to establish its value as suggested by the fact that in his laying out of
a relational term with a salience quite distinct the argument of The Temporality of the

Tim Ingold, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.


2016 Norwegian Archaeological Review

2 Tim Ingold

Landscape, and the terms in which it is con- observation and excavation, a point that Matt
ducted, Hicks completely sidelines the princi- Edgeworth has explicitly made for archaeology
pal conclusion I draw from it. For while I in the pages of this journal. The excavator who
began by distinguishing taskscape from land- sets out to follow the cut, Edgeworth writes,
scape, comparing the difference to that initiates a kind of active searching like the
between music and painting, I ended up fold- tracking of an animal along the trail or spoor
ing the one into the other: it left behind (Edgeworth 2012, p. 78).
But in his determination to paint me as a
By re-placing the tasks of human dwelling in their died-in-the-wool Romantic, Hicks fundamen-
proper context within the process of becoming of tally misunderstands both what I had to say
the world as a whole, we can do away with the about time and landscape in The Temporality
dichotomy between taskscape and landscape of the Landscape, and the signicance of the
only however by recognising the fundamental tem- comparison with hunting. Apropos the former,
porality of the landscape itself. (Ingold 1993, my argument was that landscapes are continu-
p. 164, 2000, p. 201) ally in formation, shaped by concurrent pro-
cesses of work and rest, of seasonality, of
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For me, this is the single most important growth and decomposition, building and ruina-
sentence of the entire paper. For Hicks, how- tion, erosion and deposition that are going on
ever, it warrants no more than a footnote (fn. now as they have ever done, and that their
2). What was my central purpose in the writ- rhythmic resonances describe the passage of
ing of The Temporality of the Landscape time. This is totally at odds with the objectica-
reappears here as barely more than an tions of memory promulgated by planner pre-
afterthought. servationism and the heritage industry, which
Nor is Hicks much impressed with my other sever the present from a completed past and
purpose, less central perhaps but equally hold up the latter for nostalgic commemoration.
important, which was not to represent the dis- My argument was about the temporality of the
cipline of archaeology, let alone to tell archae- landscape and not, as Hicks would have it,
ologists what to do, but rather to offer some about the multi-temporal nature of archaeolo-
suggestions, from the point of view of an gical remains in the landscape (p. 8, emphasis
anthropologist friendly to archaeology, on added), and to have confused the two is a blun-
where the common ground between our respec- der of the rst order. To add insult to injury he
tive disciplines might best be found. It seemed compounds the blunder by associating the gure
to me then, and still does now, that concerns of the native or indigenous hunter with the
with time and landscape are shared by both, Romantic stereotype of the rugged super-male,
and that they could provide a platform for heroically engaged in the exploration and con-
mutual understanding. Moreover I thought quest of untamed wilderness. Having once
then, and still think now, that as ways of learn- made this unwarranted association, he cannot
ing, discovery and transformation if not of resist a few snide remarks about the misogyny of
knowledge production the practices of exca- the comparison (p. 6 and p. 9 fn. 5). There is of
vation by which archaeologists conduct their course a strand of nature writing, much in vogue
operations in the eld have much in common today, which indulges such fantasies (e.g.
with anthropological practices of participant Macfarlane 2012). But the entire argument of
observation (Ingold 2013, pp. 1011). They The Temporality of the Landscape is set
are ways of knowing from the inside, of partici- against the polarity of humanity and nature on
pating with the earth and its manifold inhabi- which they rest.
tants in their differential becoming (cf. Barad The Temporality of the Landscape, Hicks
2007, p. 185). And the comparison with hunt- concludes, fails archaeology today (p. 13). It
ing still seems to me apt for both participant fails because I was allegedly misinformed
Archaeology with Its Back to the World 3

about what archaeological knowledge is. interpretation of its archival and museological
Well, that probably depends on whom you depositions. To take the archival turn, in
talk to. I doubt whether archaeologists can short, is also to turn our backs to the very
agree on what their knowledge is any more formative processes of the worlding world to
than anthropologists can agree on what is which The Temporality of the Landscape
theirs. That, in itself, is not a problem. The was intended as an opening.
important thing is that we can keep the con-
versation going. I am afraid that trying to sell
the concept of salvage, as Hicks endeavours to REFERENCES
do (p. 10), will hardly encourage my anthro-
pological colleagues to join in. Most are only Barad, K. 2007. Meeting the universe halfway.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
too glad to have seen the back of it. But there
Edgeworth, M., 2012, Follow the cut, follow the
is surely more to both disciplines than knowl- rhythm, follow the material. Norwegian
edge production. Archaeological knowledge, Archaeological Review, 45 (1), 7692.
Hicks proclaims, is what we leave behind doi:10.1080/00293652.2012.669995
(p. 15, emphasis in original). Yet how is any-
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Ingold, T., 1993, The temporality of the

thing left behind if we are not ourselves mov- landscape. World Archaeology, 25 (2),
ing forward? We move forward in our 152174. doi:10.1080/00438243.1993.9980235
teaching, by which we kindle the curiosity of Ingold, T., 2000. The perception of the environ-
our students beyond what they might other- ment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill.
wise have dreamed, in our continuing colla- London: Routledge.
borations with the communities with whose Ingold, T., 2011. Being alive: Essays on movement,
knowledge and description. Abingdon:
pasts we reckon, and in our engagements
with the earth itself in the process of excava- Ingold, T., 2013. Making: Anthropology, archaeol-
tion. Yet with Hicks it seems that archaeology ogy, art and architecture. Abingdon: Routledge.
begins only at the point when this forward Macfarlane, R., 2012. The old ways: A journey on
movement gives way to the retrospective foot. London: Hamish Hamilton.
DISCUSSION Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2016

Reply to Comments: Meshwork Fatigue


What is archaeology the study of? (Ingold behind is not passive detritus but the very
1993, p. 172, emphasis in original). That is fragments of life through which our knowl-
the question that Tim Ingold asked 23 years edge of the human past is constituted.
ago, to which my essay returns, and with Alongside Oliviers account of memory
which this response thinks through the com- and duration my essay contributes the idea
ments from Olivier, Edgeworth and Ingold. of archaeology as a method for recollection:
for gathering together again, for reuniting,
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for something akin to what Bjrnar Olsen

calls re-membering (Olsen 2012).
Over the past two decades Olivier has set a Archaeological recording protracts time,
new agenda for archaeological conceptions producing secondary, mimetic topographies
of time, re-imagining concepts of multi- of fact and imagination: notebook, drawing,
temporality, duration, contemporaneity and photograph, museum, archive. Recollection
memory. He has shown us how archaeologi- requires a reciprocity with the human past.
cal nds and the people who nd them are The double morphology of archaeological
inextricably entwined, understanding time brings a double obligation: to receive
archaeology as an investigation into archives landscape into archive as object, to recon-
of memory, which is what remains are, an nect archive with landscape as subject. For
examination of what has happened to things archaeologists time is the outcome of our
from the past (Olivier 2011, p. xv, 2013, own work, among other things (Witmore
p. 124). Olivier and I are in rm agreement 2013, p. 131).
when he suggests that since The Temporality What is archaeology the study of? To a
of the Landscape appeared, we have been Francophone ear recollection might suggest
lingering on the threshold of a major, con- that stagnant Anglicized term souvenir. But
ceptual revolution thatinvolves a wholly the archaeological archive is no mere keep-
new way in which to conceive our relation sake but a productive antiquarian device
to the past and to the world. For me the with its own theory of history that con-
metaphor of an uncrossed threshold is help- tracts the world in order to expand the per-
ful not as a prediction of a paradigm shift, sonal. Archaeology comes in for a time from
but as a suggestion of the provisional bound- the rain. Glass cases and ling cabinets can
aries that archaeology marks out between hold shut no longer. It is as if the silent
indoors and outdoors. We have spent those archaeological photograph extends some car-
23 years imagining archaeological time to be tographic component of the older technology
grasped only in the open air, rather than of the pressed ower (Stewart 1993, pp. xii,
forged through constant trafcking between 138). Which is to say: An archaeological land-
archive and eld. What archaeology leaves scape is an object that is known through

Dan Hicks, University of Oxford - Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK. E-mail:

2016 Norwegian Archaeological Review

2 Dan Hicks

remapping; archaeological knowledge is what thick description of eld practice, xing the
we leave behind. extraction of archaeological interpretations
not just by location but temporally right
at the time and place in which the eldwork
is happening.
Over the same two decades, Edgeworth has What is archaeology the study of? For
called on archaeologists to rethink the stan- Edgeworth it is the study of the past in the
dard view of the production of their knowl- present (Edgeworth 2006, p. xi), while for
edge of the past. His account of double- me it is the temporality of the landscape
artefacts, attending to the enactment of the revisited, which allows for archaeological
idea of material culture through the shaping, knowledge to involve more times and places
inscription and wrapping of things in the than the here-and-now of the trowels edge,
eld and the museum (Edgeworth 2007), for example through archives, museums or
holds much in common with the approach libraries.
set out here. But his comment on my essay, But wait. Has Edgeworth now abandoned
alongside his recent work towards an archae- his Eurosceptic mistrust of non-
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ology grounded in Tim Ingolds owing archaeological thinking? Whyever else

materials (Edgeworth 2014, p. 226), reveals would he choose to frame his discussion of
that we have a basic disagreement about the my essay with reference to some turgid writ-
relationship between the passage of time and ings from poststructural philosophy? Now, I
the condition of archaeological knowledge. have no doubt that, in more skilled and
Our disagreement begins from a difference patient hands than mine, much of interest
in emphasis. My commitment is to the sig- can be made of the Derridean philosophy of
nicance of disciplinarity, through which we the mal darchive. For example, the recent
can attend to the place of archaeologys lines thoughtful accounts by Lesley McFadyen
of thought, method, practice and conse- and Jen Baird of future-orientation of the
quence in the creation of our knowledge of archaeological archive make inspired use of
the human past (Hicks and Beaudry 2010). In archive fever (McFadyen 2011, Baird and
my view archaeological knowledge emerges McFadyen 2014). Alfredo Gonzlez-Ruibal
as a kind of after-effect from production and too uses Derridas account of memory and
revisitation. Edgeworths more extreme posi- the future as a resource for building a new
tion involves a scepticism toward any kind of philosophical archaeology, and Laurent
theory that originates outside archaeology Olivier borrows from his account of the
and is applied onto archaeological evi- archive as vestiges that have escaped destruc-
dencefrom Latour to Lacan, from tion (Gonzlez-Ruibal 2013, p. 22, Olivier
Lyotard to Lvi-Strauss (and that is just the 2013, p. 121). Such work may put non-
thinkers beginning with L, who happen to be archaeological ideas to archaeological work,
French) (Edgeworth 2012, p. 76). In an but each represents an important contribu-
uncanny echo of the Manchester School of tion to what my essay describes as a funda-
Social Anthropology, which sought to mental reorientation of archaeology that is
develop knowledge from particular ethno- just getting under way, focused on a revalua-
graphic eld sites through the conceit of the tion of the material dimensions of archaeolo-
case study, xing the extraction of anthropo- gical knowledge. But I can see nothing in my
logical interpretations from eld data geo- essay that bears any trace, impression, mem-
graphically (Gluckman 1961), Edgeworth ory, Verdrngung or Unterdrckung of
goes a step further emphasizing the produc- Derrida. Indeed I would venture that
tion of archaeological knowledge from parti- Derridas diagnosis of the archive fever in
cular moments through the conceit of the Freuds approach to memory and traces, to
Reply to Comments 3

which Edgeworth directs us, describes the practice that only a select few will ever wit-
precise opposite of my own rather more schi- ness, this is an exclusive, privileged vision of
zophrenic approach to the double historicity our knowledge of the past, resistant to return,
of the archaeological object (see Hicks 2013). revisitation, rethinking. My essay seeks to nd
In fact it seems to me to bear a marked alternatives to this nostalgia for the present,
similarity to Edgeworths own approach. for some spectral moment of archaeological
Compare this narrow focus on eeting per- eld discovery where past, present and future
formance, on the taskscapes of some origin- collapse into an instant for the Freudian
ary moment of excavation in isolation from Geisterstunde (hour of ghosts: Derrida 1995,
what is created, documented, collected or pp. 5455). For Edgeworth the archive and
outlasts the mise-en-scne of eldwork the museum are epiphenomenal, while in my
with Derridas account of a malaise that view the drawn, written, photographic, mate-
always attempts to return to the live origin rial and topographical archive is archaeologi-
of that which the archive loses while keeping cal knowledge.
it in a multiplicity of places; in which archive Edgeworth and I share a concern with
and archaeology are imagined to be doing archaeology. But our difference in
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emphasis becomes a disagreement through

radically incompatible, heterogeneous, that is to the extent to which his comments are behol-
say, different with regard to the origin, in divorce den the eclectic Ingoldian philosophy of
in regard to the arkhe. A moment and not a meshwork studies (Hicks 2010, p. 78).
process, this instant does not belong to the labor- How are we to square Edgeworths stated
ious deciphering of the archive. It is the nearly cross-disciplinary scepticism with his reliance
ecstatic instant Freud dreams of, when the very on a world view that he praises for ranging
success of the dig must sign the effacement of the freelyas though there were no such thing as
archivist: the origin then speaks by itself. The
disciplinary boundaries (Edgeworth 2016)?
arkhe appears in the nude, without archive. It
presents itself and comments on itself by itself.
Edgeworth calls for a phenomenology of
Stones talk! In the present. Anamnesis without excavation, experiencing the ow of materi-
hypomnesis! The archaeologist has succeeded in als. I prefer to understand archaeology as
making the archive no longer serve any function. productive, creating provisional stabilities,
It comes to efface itself, it becomes transparent or stoppages or time-warps in archives,
unessential so as to let the origin present itself in museums and landscapes. For Edgeworth
person. Live, without mediation and without archaeology goes with the ow. To me, our
delay. (Derrida 1995, p. 58) interventions are cuts in the meshwork. Even
Derrida explored how one phenomenon
That Freudian ecstatic instant resurfaces in stops the ow of others an idea protably
Edgeworths re-reading of my photograph. developed by Marilyn Strathern who sug-
For Edgeworth it catches a moment in gested that network-cutting represents that
time, rhythms of movement, split-second specic abridgement of nature and culture
judgements while banking the machine, the through which Western ideas of ownership
eeting passage of information ow between emerge, transforming things into objects as
humans, machines and unfolding material property (Strathern 1996). Archaeology
evidence. He settles on the image of an modern, Western, disciplinary enacts things
unending, traceless loop starting and ending as objects, present as past. It makes cuts
in the trench, as if archaeological knowledge rather than just following them (pace
were constituted by pure occurrence emptied Edgeworth 2012). Our cuts are material
of duration. Could any more vivid picture of interventions that endure, lled up and trun-
the mal darchive be imagined? Grounded in cated over time, that can be recut through
the coup de thtre of technical archaeological revisitation. The cut that Edgeworth follows
4 Dan Hicks

is an immaterial stratigraphic unit, an inter- recognizing the fundamental temporality of

face and relationship with form but no sub- the landscape itself (Ingold 1993, p. 164). As
stance, unlike layers, lls, or structures. But so often in the paper, the jargon sets up a
the cuts that we make silt up with knowledge, dichotomy and then negates it. But this is no
collections, landscapes products and era- routine trilemma. Taskscape, inspired per-
sures. In knowing the archaeological past haps by the ethnoscientic idea of taskon-
we revisit enduring traces, prolonged and omy as a practical approach to knowledge
redoubled. Which is to say: The passage of structures (Dougherty and Keller 1982), is
time transforms archaeological knowledge; dened as a pattern of dwelling activities;
archaeological knowledge transforms the pas- Landscape as an enduring record of and
sage of time. testimony to the lives and works of past
generations (Ingold 1993, pp. 152, 153). But
the third keyword Temporality changes in
meaning during the course of the paper. At
It is none of my business for me, as an rst Temporality is said to inhere in the
anthropologist, to be telling archaeologists taskscape, emerging through practice
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what to do, concedes Ingold (Ingold 2012, (Ingold 1993, p. 153). But later, once tasks-
p. 98). Nevertheless The temporality of the cape has collapsed into landscape,
landscape was a sustained anthropological Temporality comes to inhere in the percep-
account of what archaeology is the study tion of a particular vista of past and future
of. My essay highlights the unequal terms available from this moment and no other
on which that account proposed to x the that constitutes my present, conferring
common ground of anthropology and upon it a unique character (Ingold 1993,
archaeology, dening archaeological knowl- p. 159). Temporality becomes not so much a
edge as on a par with that which comes from model for dwelling as a theory of time and
the practical activity of the native dweller place. The Temporality of the Landscape. At
and which the anthropologist, through parti- the dnouement this aphorism has trapped
cipation, seeks to learn and understand archaeological study in the eld and xed it
(Ingold 1993, p. 152). Ingolds reply reminds in the present.
us that the lines taken in the intervening 23 Third, Ingold repudiates the very analogy
years by meshwork studies so many further between indigenous hunters and archaeologi-
friendly suggestions for archaeological cal excavators that his own paper introduced.
thinking have served not just to deepen He condemns my wish to explore the implica-
this asymmetry, but to naturalize it. tions of his choice to compare archaeology
Ingold makes three criticisms of my essay. with hunting rather than gathering. He
First, although Ingold is neither a curator scorns my account of archival returns as
nor an archivist I unfairly exhort him to some kind of snide, axe-grinding and mod-
transport himself back in time to write a ish turn-spotting that reveals my blundering
paper on another topic closer to [my] heart. naivety. I have no reply for these words, other
What is archaeology the study of? Perhaps than to reect that Ingolds former propensity
Ingold wishes that he had asked something for suggesting how archaeology ought to
different? But it is hardly unfair for my essay think has, through the doctrine of meshwork
to seek to nd a more adequate answer than studies, developed into an urge to neutralize
that provided by Ingold to his own question. new archaeological thinking about the mate-
Second, I neglect what Ingold chooses in rial past through this destructive tangle of
hindsight to dene as the papers central pur- critique, debunking, obscurantism and word
pose: to do away with the dichotomy play. Chris Witmore calls it anger (Witmore
between taskscape and landscape by 2014, p. 241). Its exhausting. Like all critique
Reply to Comments 5

it is grounded in a false claim of privileged Against my account of returns, Ingold pre-

access to the world of reality behind the veils sents one decisive turn for archaeology.
of appearances (Latour 2010, p. 474475). While Edgeworths argument echoes the
Our discipline is told it must be distinguished Manchester School, Ingold seeks to re-
from the kind of pre- or proto-historiography enact what functionalism inicted on
that has as its objective to arrive at descrip- anthropology half a century earlier: aban-
tively plausible reconstructions of everyday doning the material production of knowl-
life in the past (Ingold 2013, p. 10). Any edge in archives and museums in favour of
prospect of archaeology producing knowledge the spectres of social relations, or ecological
of the human past is erased. Forget Archive meshworks. Where Ingold extends this
Fever: archaeology has come down with a century-old anthropological turn to
serious bout of ennui that can be diagnosed archaeology, I suggest that this is precisely
as Meshwork Fatigue. what must be undone if we are to reconnect
our two disciplines (Hicks 2013).
*** Archaeology with its back to the world. Let
us resist Ingolds attempt to turn our discipline
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Ingold dismisses my essay as Archaeology around by reclaiming archaeology as a

with its back to the world. Let us think this method for facing away from the present,
accusation through. Archaeology has not col- looking back at what we have produced,
lapsed in the gutter. Do we not all have our back returning, revisiting, recollecting. Studying
to some part of the world at any given moment? the past. How to explain what meshwork stu-
Or does Ingold believe himself to have found a dies has back-to-front? Should we recall
place to stand where he can face the whole Walter Benjamins papers On the Concept of
world with nothing behind him? Ingold does History (Benjamin 2003 [1940]), where the
not even resort to that old idea that archaeology Angel of History turned His back the future,
and anthropology might stand back-to-back, facing the past to witness rubble piled on top
Janus-like, alternative tenses of a common of rubble?1 Or maybe Marshall Sahlins
verb. He wishes to turn archaeology around. In account of the Maori conception of the future
this synoptic yet asymmetrical vision for archae- as behind them through which is found in a
ology and anthropology, our retrospective dis- marvelous past the measure of the demands
cipline of archaeology must face forward, move that are made to their current existence
ahead, dro[p] the pretence that what is past is (Sahlins 1985, p. 55)? No, instead let us return
any older, or more ancient, than the present to Jacquetta Hawkes archaeology of the
(Ingold 2010, p. 60). British landscape, which she introduced with
An archaeology that does not look back? a description of her custom, after writing late
That would require us to misrepresent the on summer evenings, of going outside for a
archaeological record as a readymade time, coming back to the patch of grass in her
encountered in the eld, rather than the garden, lying down with her back to the earth,
lasting product of eldwork with which and feeling the hard stratied ground press
archaeologists recollect the human past. As my esh against my bones: topsoil, humus,
Ingold attempts to turn archaeology around London clay. Flesh, bone, earth. I am con-
to face the worlding world, an instinct that cerned with other forms of memory, those
was refracted through Edgeworths account recollections of the world and of man that
of eldwork ashes up: a yearning for the are pursuedby geologists and archaeolo-
momentary, the temporally pristine, the gists, Hawkes wrote (1951, pp. 711).
immediacy of the hunt not the slow busi- Ingold asks: How is anything left behind if
ness of gathering. The zero time ction of we are not ourselves moving forward? But
the ethnographic present (Vansina 1970). archaeology is a method for leaving knowledge
6 Dan Hicks

behind by going back. Which is to say: What is Edgeworth, M., 2007. Double-artefacts: exploring
archaeology the study of? It is the study of the the other side of material culture. Journal of
temporality of the landscape revisited. Iberian Archaeology, 910, 8996.
Edgeworth, M., 2012. Follow the cut, follow the
rhythm, follow the material. Norwegian
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Archaeological Review, 45 (1), 7692. doi:10.1080/
I am grateful for exchanges and conversa- Edgeworth, M., 2014. Material and cognitive
tions with Philippe Descola, Paul Graves- dimensions of archaeological evidence. Journal
Brown, Liz Hallam, Rachael Kiddey, Laura of Contemporary Archaeology, 1 (2), 225227.
McAtackney, Lesley McFadyen, Lambros doi:10.1558/jca.v1i2.26673
Malafouris and Angela Piccini during the Edgeworth, M., 2016. Review of Tim Ingolds
drafting of this reply. Making. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology
[Online]. Available from: https://www.equinox
FUNDING opology-archaeology-art-and-architecture-by-tim
My essay and this reply were written during the
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Gluckman, M., 1961. Ethnographic data in British

University of Oxford Economic and Social social anthropology. The Sociological Review, 9
Research Council (ESRC)-funded project (1), 517. doi:10.1111/sore.1961.9.issue-1
From Museums to the Historic Environment Gonzlez-Ruibal, A., 2013. Reclaiming archaeol-
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archaeology: beyond the tropes of modernity.
London: Routledge, 129.
NOTE Hawkes, J. 1951. A Land. London: Cresset Press.
1 Hicks, D., 2010. The material-cultural turn: event
A further twist on this account is provided by Bruno
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Latour (2010, pp. 485486).
The Oxford handbook of material culture studies.
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Hicks, D., 2013. Four-eld anthropology: charter
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Baird, J.A., and McFadyen, L., 2014. Towards an Current Anthropology, 54 (6), 753763.
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