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Caves as Vibrant Places: A Theoretical Manifesto

  • Agni Prijatelj
  • Robin Skeates
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, we seek to move beyond established archaeological narratives of the ‘human uses of caves’. Drawing on a range of contemporary theories, we rethink caves as ‘vibrant’ animate places that act on us and actively participate in the construction of social reality and as pulsating assemblages of various human and non-human agencies that interact with social structures on different timescales. To illustrate the wide applicability of these ideas, we draw upon a number of examples of archaeological and ethnographic research on human-cave entanglements, including our own research in the central Mediterranean region. More specifically, we indicate how our approach can enhance understandings of caves as liminal places and ritual spaces in later prehistoric Europe. We end by presenting a manifesto for future research on cave archaeology, in which we call for the development of an approach to cave archaeology that is more interdisciplinary, that works across a wider range of spatial and temporal scales and that re-employs scientific techniques to tackle theoretically informed issues.

Keywords

Caves Places Agency Human Social Ritual Material 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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