Making Senses of the Past
Toward a Sensory Archaeology
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
Download PDF (295.9 KB)
Visiting Scholar Conference Volumes
Download PDF (142.3 KB)
Processual and Postprocessual Archaeologies: Multiple Ways of Knowing Paleonutrition: The Diet and Health of Prehistoric Americans (Occasional Paper Integrating Archaeological Demography: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prehistoric Population (Occasional Paper No. 24) edited by Richard R. PaineMaterial Symbols: Culture and Economy in Prehistory (Occasional Paper No. 26) ...
Download PDF (208.3 KB)
Download PDF (141.2 KB)
Download PDF (271.9 KB)
List of Figures
Download PDF (319.5 KB)
List of Tables
Download PDF (169.8 KB)
Download PDF (191.6 KB)
... My initial words of thanks must go to all my colleagues at the Center for Archaeological Investigations and in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for deciding to take a gamble on a conference topic that, to some, may have seemed a little extraordinary. The support of them and their families throughout my year in Carbondale, and their kindness to a stranger ...
1. Introduction: Making Senses of the Past -Jo Day
Download PDF (448.8 KB)
... A euphonic song of ecstasy of body and soul, Charles Baudelaire’s paean to a multisensory world evokes colors, sounds, and a rich array of scents. Perfumes as cool as infant skin, as soft as oboes, or as green as meadows per-fectly capture the multisensory aspects of living and being. Indeed, such was the sensual nature of some of the poems in this collection of 1857, Les fleurs du ...
2. Dibéwagendamowin / Kārohirohi: Reflections on Sacred Images onthe Rocks -William A. Allen, Gerard O’Regan, Perry Fletcher,and Roger Noganosh
Download PDF (674.9 KB)
Abstract: Observations of reflected sunlight shimmering on ancient rock art have previously been reported with the implication that the visual effect adds to the significance of the images or locality (Arsenault 2004a:305; Hyder 2004:89). This paper provides an account of the landscape features at a number of water’s edge rock faces in northern Ontario in Canada and Lake Taupō in New Zea-...
3. The sound of sulfur and smell of lightning: sensing the volcano -Karen Holmberg
Download PDF (462.7 KB)
Abstract: In this chapter I use Michel Serres’s The Five Senses and The Natural Contract as conduits through which to enter a discussion of the role of bodily experience in scientific interpretation and the framing of natural phenomena as a form of “violence.” I consider bodily perception and its relation to the phenomena of radically changing environments, for which I use the volcano ...
4. Colored Monuments and Sensory Theater among the Mississippians -Corin C. O. Pursell
Download PDF (642.9 KB)
Abstract: Recent research has demonstrated that colorful sediments were fre-quently used to surface Mississippian earthworks. This paper interprets one such colorful monumental space, Shiloh Mounds in southwestern Tennessee. Engagement with the sensuous past of Shiloh changes our understanding of the site, inverting assumptions about the power dynamics in the construc-...
5. Maya Palaces as Experiences: Ancient Maya Royal Architecture and Its Influence on Sensory Perception -Ryan Mongelluzzo
Download PDF (583.4 KB)
Abstract: This work examines ancient Maya Classic (250–900 c.e.) palaces, with a focus on new evidence recovered from the royal court at Holmul, Gua-temala. Ancient Maya palaces were designed and modified as expressions of authority and through nonverbal communication maintained the power and position of the rulers who were anchored inside them. I take a phenomeno-...
6. Coming to Our Senses at Chavín de Huantar -Mary Weismantel
Download PDF (599.3 KB)
Abstract: Study of the sensory interface between bodies, artifacts, and archaeo-logical sites produces new kinds of information that may more closely ap-proximate the lived experience of past actors. This approach may be especially useful in the study of non-Western, precapitalist societies, whose perceptual practices differed from our own. Study of sensory interfaces at the Formative ...
7. The Sensory Experience of Blood Sacrifice in the Roman Imperial Cult -Candace Weddle
Download PDF (754.1 KB)
Abstract: The field of classical scholarship has been too often reliant on sterile approaches to analyzing the sensory aspects of ancient sacrificial rites. Mute mosaics of choirs and silent reliefs of flute players serve as evidence for the sounds of worship, and ancient descriptions of burning incense suggest the odors of divine rites. Certainly such archaeological and literary sources pro-...
8. Embodying the Divine: The Sensational Experience of the Sixth-Century Eucharist -Heather Hunter-Crawley
Download PDF (540.4 KB)
Abstract: Through sensory analysis of a set of sixth century c.e. Syrian Eu-charistic silverware, the Riha Hoard, an alternative understanding of Chris-tian material culture for the period is proposed. Current interpretations impose a semiotic framework on this material, an approach founded on Car-tesian dualism, yet Cartesianism postdates Christianity and its implication ...
9. A Sense of Touch—the Full-Body Experience—in the Past and Present of Çatalhöyük, Turkey -Ruth Tringham
Download PDF (541.0 KB)
Abstract: In this paper I come to the more general issues of a sensuous archaeol-ogy through the sense of touch—the haptic sense. Using data from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, I stress that the sense of touch involves far more than just fingers and skin, far more than the obvious haptic sensations, such as surface, form, pressure, pain, temperature, and texture. It involves the full-body ...
10. Musical Space and Quiet Space in Medieval Monastic Canterbury -Joe Williams
Download PDF (718.5 KB)
Abstract: In this chapter, the background noises, or belles noiseuses, of everyday mid-thirteenth century c.e. life at a Benedictine monastery and an Augus-tinian house of regular canons, both in Canterbury, England, are studied by focusing on the movement of people through the buildings and on artifacts found during excavations. The significance of sound to studies of monastic ...
11. Sustenance, Taste, and the Practice of Community in Ancient Mesopotamia -Marie Hopwood
Download PDF (574.5 KB)
Abstract: Archaeological food studies have long been relegated to either anal-yses of power manipulation through feasting or issues of production and do-mestication. Yet, by doing this, the importance of daily consumption is muted. Archaeological explorations of commensality are often viewed with reticence, as if commensalism were sybaritic and not worthy of research. It is through ...
12. The Scent of Status: Prestige and Perfume at the Bronze Age Palace at Pylos, Greece -Joanne M. A. Murphy
Download PDF (507.6 KB)
Abstract: The prominent position of the perfume industry at the Mycenaean palace of Pylos has long been known. Both the archaeological remains and tex-tual evidence indicate that perfume was a prestigious commodity at Pylos that was manufactured under palatial control at the palace itself. The finished prod-uct was a restricted commodity that was distributed by the wanax, the highest ...
13. A Whiff of Mortality: The Smells of Death in Roman and Byzantine Beth She’an-Scythopolis -Emerson Avery
Download PDF (610.2 KB)
Abstract: Roman tombs were occupied by the dead but experienced by the liv-ing. In this paper, I draw on evidence from the Roman and Byzantine cham-ber tombs of the Northern Cemetery at Beth She’an-Scythopolis to explore the sensory experience of Roman mortuary space. An examination of selected tombs and their contents reveals spaces filled with darkness but redolent with ...
14. Imagined Aromas and Artificial Flowers in Minoan Society -Jo Day
Download PDF (651.2 KB)
Abstract: The floral world is a popular theme across a wide range of material culture from Minoan Crete. However, the ongoing difficulties encountered by scholarship in identifying many of these species and understanding their sig-nificance is suggested here to indicate that the visual appeal of these artifacts was not of primary importance. Using the concept of synesthetic material ...
15. Craft and Sensory Play in Late Bronze Age Boeotia -Anastasia Dakouri-Hild
Download PDF (636.0 KB)
Abstract: This paper deals with an assemblage of mostly unfinished, failed, and partially recycled artifacts, as well as roughouts, scraps, and raw ma-terials, excavated from the destruction fill of a large palatial building at the center of the citadel of Thebes. More specifically, I discuss the complex biog-raphies and materialities of these objects in both visual and nonvisual terms. ...
16. Scents and Sensibilities: The Phenomenology of Late Neolithic Iberian Slate Plaque Production -Jonathan T. Thomas
Download PDF (492.5 KB)
Abstract: The engraved slate plaques of Late Neolithic (3500–2500 b.c.e.) Iberia are some of the most enigmatic expressions of prehistoric European art, cap-turing the imagination of the public and archaeologists alike during the past century. Thousands of these hand-size, perforated plaques have been found in Neolithic collective burials, and they are thought to have served as mne-...
17. The production process as sensory experience: making and seeing iron in colonial New England -Krysta Ryzewski
Download PDF (626.5 KB)
Abstract: Making objects, whether by wrought or mechanized techniques, is now and was in the past a multisensory affair, but a challenge exists as to how to identify and interpret these sensory acts of production in archaeological materials. Using examples from colonial-period iron production sites in New England, this discussion demonstrates how archaeological assemblages may ...
18. Beyond the Display Case: Creating a Multisensory Museum Experience -Catherine P. Foster
Download PDF (390.8 KB)
Abstract: Museums play a critical role in the development and dissemination of sensory archaeological research. To accomplish this, they must go beyond their visual presentation of material culture to encourage the stimulation of all senses—a shift that would coincidently bring these institutions back to their organizational roots. Drawing from collaborative exhibitions sponsored ...
19. Imagined Narratives: Sensory Lives in the Chacoan Southwest -Ruth M. Van Dyke
Download PDF (664.0 KB)
Abstract: In this chapter, I use the Chacoan archaeology of the Southwest United States to illustrate the power of imagined narratives to take us out of the two-dimensional world of data and interpretation and into the three-dimensional world of sensory lives. Imagined narratives are essentially creative nonfic-tion—the use of archaeological information to construct imagined lives in the ...
20. Afterword: Eleven Theses on the Archaeology of the Senses -Yannis Hamilakis
Download PDF (277.5 KB)
... An archaeology of the senses is an impossible task. By this I mean that it is both unattainable and futile to attempt to produce a new subfield, in the same way that we have an archaeology of food, of death, of texts and documents, of pot-tery, and so on. This is not only because the senses occupy a different ontological ground in comparison with the kinds of materials and social practices and phe-...
Download PDF (242.7 KB)
Download PDF (255.7 KB)
Download PDF (290.8 KB)
Page Count: 444
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional paper ;