Between Artifacts and Texts

Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective

  • Anders Andrén

Part of the Contributions to Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Anders Andrén
    Pages 9-36
  3. Anders Andrén
    Pages 105-144
  4. Anders Andrén
    Pages 145-177
  5. Anders Andrén
    Pages 179-183
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 185-215

About this book


This book is about historical archaeologies all over the world; about their history, their methods, and their raison d'etre. The focus is on an existential question for archaeology: whether investigations of mate­ rial culture are necessary at all when studying societies with writing. Is it not sufficient to read and interpret texts if we wish to understand and explain historical periods? This book has been written out of a conviction that archaeology is important, even in the study of literate societies. Yet the book has also been written out of a conviction that the importance of the historical archaeologies is not obvious to everyone. The disciplines have a tendency to be marginalized in relation both to history and to archaeology and anthropology, because the archaeologi­ cal results are sometimes perceived as unnecessary confirmations of what is already known. Although I regard theoretical considerations as crucial for all scholarly work, I do not think that the solution to this marginalization can be found in any "definitive" theory that might raise the disciplines above the threatened tautology. Instead, I have found it more important to examine different methodological approaches in the historical archaeologies, to investigate how material culture and writ­ ing can and could be integrated. I am convinced that the tautological threat should be averted in the actual encounter of artifact and text. By problematizing this encounter, I believe that it is possible to create favorable methodological conditions for new perspectives on the past.


ancient societies anthropology archaeology artifacts historical archaeology material culture

Authors and affiliations

  • Anders Andrén
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LundLundSweden

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1998
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4757-9411-3
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4757-9409-0
  • Series Print ISSN 1574-0439
  • Buy this book on publisher's site