“Provides new insights on archaeological theory and practice. Through the lens of epistemic humility, it exemplifies a new approach to undertaking archaeological and anthropological work with indigenous and local communities.”—Claire Smith, editor of Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology
“A timely book long overdue. It teaches us that without humility, patience, listening, and engaging local experts as teachers, leaders, collaborators, and equals, archaeology’s vision of unraveling the past will continue to be hamstrung. All practicing archaeologists will find Archaeologies of Listening an important addition to their reference collection.”—Chapurukha M. Kusimba, author of The Rise and Fall of Swahili States
Archaeologists tend to rely on scientific methods to reconstruct past histories, an approach that can alienate local indigenous populations and limit the potential of archaeological research. Essays in Archaeologies of Listening argue that listening to and learning from local and descendant communities is vital for interpreting the histories and heritage values of archaeological sites.
Case studies from around the world demonstrate how a humanistic perspective with people-centric practice decolonizes the discipline by unlocking an intellectual space and collaborative role for indigenous people. These examples show how listening to oral traditions has opened up broader understandings of ancient rituals in Tanzania, earth mounds in Northern Australia, heritage meanings near the Sigirya World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka, political/religious divisions in Northern Ireland, and the bitter legacy of nineteenth-century grave excavations in British Columbia.
The value of cultural apprenticeship to those who have long-term relationships with the landscape is nearly forgotten today, contributors argue. This volume points the way to a reawakening of the core principles of anthropology in archaeology and heritage studies.
Peter R. Schmidt, professor emeritus of anthropology and African studies at the University of Florida, is the author of Community-based Heritage in Africa: Unveiling Local Research and Development Initiatives. Alice B. Kehoe, professor emeritus of anthropology at Marquette University, is the author of North America Before the European Invasions.