Archaeology in need of a prophetic epistemology – Københavns Universitet

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Archaeology in need of a prophetic epistemology

Gæsteforsker Marko Marila, ph.d.-stip. University of Helsinki holder forelæsning.

Due to the ambiguous relationship between the material and the theoretical, archaeology has suffered from epistemological anxieties throughout its disciplinary existence. On one hand, the empirical nature of archaeology has necessitated a descriptive attitude toward the materials, at times resulting in suspicion of theory and speculation. On the other hand, the failure in establishing a logical link between the static present and the dynamic past has led some to adopt an idealist disposition in archaeological interpretation. As part of the development that has brought modern materials under the rubric of archaeology, archaeologists have had to develop ways of dealing empathetically and intellectually with their materials well into the unknown future. Materials like nuclear waste challenge archaeologists to develop prophetic strategies that are rooted in the familiar, yet are radically speculative.

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