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This book is an exciting new look at how archaeology has dealt with the bodily senses and offers an argument for how the discipline can offer a richer glimpse into the human sensory experience. Yannis Hamilakis shows how, despite its intensely physical engagement with the material traces of the past, archaeology has mostly neglected multi-sensory experience, instead prioritizing isolated vision and relying on the Western hierarchy of the five senses. In place of this limited view of experience, Hamilakis proposes a sensorial archaeology that can unearth the lost, suppressed, and forgotten sensory and affective modalities of humans. Using Bronze Age Crete as a case study, Hamilakis shows how sensorial memory can help us rethink questions ranging from the production of ancestral heritage to large-scale social change, and the cultural significance of monuments. Tracing the emergence of palaces in Bronze Age Crete as a celebration of the long-term, sensuous history and memory of their localities, Hamilakis points the way to reconstituting archaeology as a sensorial and affective multi-temporal practice. At the same time, he proposes a new framework on the interaction between bodily senses, things, and environments, which will be relevant to scholars in other fields.Read more
- The first book to review and assess the emerging field of the archaeology of the senses and to offer a new methodology
- A timely contribution to archaeological theory and methodology, with potentially paradigm-shifting effects
- Uses a range of contemporary and archaeological examples from different geographical contexts, and includes a detailed case study on Bronze Age Crete and proposes a new explanation for the emergence of the Minoan palaces
Reviews & endorsements
"… [this] book is a bold statement on the nature of archaeology itself, for which it deserves to be read."
Norwegian Archaeological ReviewSee more reviews
"… a valuable study of cultural thinking - and a very enjoyable one to read at the same time … [Hamilakis] produces a fact-based, culturally sensitive and theoretically subtle reading which, although at first might not seem groundbreaking, is in fact exactly that."
Dimitris Plantzos, Historein
"Despite the complex philosophical and historical analysis in the first half of the book, it is an accessible work that does not require specialist knowledge to decipher, something the author should be proud of."
Kay Armstrong, Antike Welt
"Anyone familiar with Hamilakis’ output will recognise recurrent themes in this book: memory, personhood, commensality, reflexivity, politics and, of course, the senses. Pulling these topics together, the book represents a significant statement by one of the leading thinkers within archaeology."
Jo Day, Antiquity
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- Date Published: July 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521545990
- length: 270 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.36kg
- contains: 26 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Demolishing the museum of sensory ab/sense
2. Archaeology, modernity, and the senses
3. Recapturing sensorial and affective experience
4. Senses, materiality, time: a new ontology
5. Sensorial necro-politics: the mortuary mnemoscapes of Bronze Age Crete
6. Why 'palaces'? Senses, memory, and the 'palatial' phenomenon in Bronze Age Crete
7. From corporeality to sensoriality, from things to flows.
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