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Tracing the Relational

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Copyright: 2015
Trim: 7 x 10
Pages: 200 pp.
Illustrations: 28 illustrations, 14 maps

PAPER
978-1-60781-435-1
$45.00
Short

eBOOK
978-1-60781-436-8
$36.00

Tracing the Relational

The Archaeology of Worlds, Spirits, and Temporalities

Edited by Meghan E. Buchanan and B. Jacob Skousen

Foundations of Archaeological Inquiry

Archaeology / Anthropology

Tracing the Relational examines the recent emergence of relational ontologies in archaeological interpretation and how using this perspective can help archaeologists better understand the past. Traditional representational approaches reflect modern or Western perspectives, which focus on the individual and see the world in terms of dichotomies that separate culture and nature, human and object, sacred and secular. In contrast, ancient societies saw themselves as connected to and entangled with other human and nonhuman entities. Contributors argue that in order to gain deeper insight into how people in the ancient world lived, experienced, and negotiated their lives archaeologists must explore the myriad relationships and entanglements between humans and other beings, places, and things. As contributors unravel these relationships, they demonstrate that movement is an inherent feature of these relational webs and is the driving force behind a continually shifting reality. Chapters focus on various regions and time periods throughout the Americas, tracing how movements between other-worldly dimensions, spirits and deities, and temporalities were integral to everyday life.


Meghan E. Buchanan is a research scientist for the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University Bloomington. She received an MA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a PhD from Indiana University.

B. Jacob Skousen is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He specializes in Midwestern archaeology, with an emphasis on Mississippian societies and the Cahokia site in southern Illinois. His research interests include religion, pilgrimage, movement, and relational ontologies.


Table of Contents:

List of Figures
Introduction: Advancing an Archaeology of Movements and Relationships – B. Jacob Skousen and Meghan E. Buchanan

Part I: Worlds
1. Settlement Survey, Landscape Transformations, and the Meaning of Unoccupied Land in Postclassic Nejapa, Oaxaca, Mexico – Stacie M. King
2. Moonbeams, Water, and Smoke: Tracing Otherworldly Relationships at the Emerald Site –
B. Jacob Skousen
3. Adena-Hopewell Earthworks and the Milky Way Path of Souls – William F. Romain

Part II: Spirits and Forces
4. War-Scapes, Lingering Spirits, and the Mississippian Vacant Quarter – Meghan E. Buchanan
5. Weaving Together Evil Airs, Sacred Mountaintops, and War – Margaret Brown Vega
6. Maya Religion and Gods: Relevance and Relatedness in the Animic Cosmos – Eleanor Harrison-Buck

Part III: Temporalities
7. Entanglements of the Blackfoot: Relationships with the Spiritual and Material Worlds – Gerald A. Oetelaar
8. Unraveling Entanglements: Reverberations of Cahokia’s Big Bang – Melissa R. Baltus

List of Contributors
Index


Praise and Reviews:

“This is an excellent collection of essays that are timely, empirically rich, well written, and that engage with current theoretical debates within archaeology, as well as a range of other humanities disciplines. This volume will offer a significant contribution to archaeological research and anthropological scholarship more broadly, aligning itself with current theoretical trends while also pushing such scholarship in new and productive directions.”
—Darryl Wilkinson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“This edited volume presents fascinating case studies of the material immanence of spirits and otherworldly forces in the ancient Americas. . . .The book makes an important contribution to archaeological theory.”
—American Antiquity

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