Single Context Archaeology as Anarchist Praxis

  • Colleen Morgan University of York
  • Daniel Eddisford Durham University
Keywords: archaeology, fieldwork, archaeological methodology, single context

Abstract

The organization of archaeological fieldwork often resembles a military-style campaign structured around rigid, top-down hierarchies. This is reflected in many aspects of current practice, including the ultimate authority of the site director, the use of excavation methodologies that remove the act of interpretation from field archaeologists, and the general deskilling and reification of archaeological labor in fieldwork. Though there have been several examples of resistance to this hierarchical model we maintain that a sustained critique could stem from an unexpected source: the creation of communities that model anarchist principles through the implementation of the single context methodology in archaeology. In this article we explore the potential for anarchist praxis in archaeological fieldwork and the implications of anarchist thought on the issues of authority and non-alienation of labor in a neoliberal landscape.

Author Biographies

Colleen Morgan, University of York

Colleen Morgan is Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. Address for correspondence: University of York, King's Manor, York, YO1 7EP, UK.

Daniel Eddisford, Durham University

David Eddisford is a PhD student at the University of Durham studying Bronze Age exchange networks and political economies in southeast Arabia. He has worked as a professional field archaeologist for over 15 years, excavating a wide range of sites both in the UK and the Middle East. Address for correspondence: Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Rd, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.

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Published
2019-01-26
How to Cite
Morgan, C., & Eddisford, D. (2019). Single Context Archaeology as Anarchist Praxis. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 5(2), 245-254. https://doi.org/10.1558/jca.33580
Section
Anarchy and Archaeology Forum - OPEN ACCESS