A 1980 Attempt at Reviving Ancient Irrigation Practices in the Pacific: Rationale, Failure, and Success
The author was project leader on an attempt to revive ancient irrigation practices on Aneityum Island (Vanuatu, S. Pacific) in 1980, based on his archaeological and ethnoarchaeological research on the island. Here he tries to reconstruct the context and his rationale for instigating such a project. While successful in a technical sense—abandoned irrigation systems were indeed brought back into use as planned—the project was set up in the absence of a defined market and marketing policy. Inevitably it soon collapsed when the taro that was produced remained unsold. But all was not lost after all and a seed was sown. Recent reports from participants in the original project suggest that the ancient techniques that were re-taught to a wide section of the Island’s community in 1980 have not been forgotten. These productive techniques are increasingly being reapplied on Aneityum in a time of rapid population growth.
Strait Street in Malta’s capital Valletta is an extraordinary street, and one that has fascinating stories to tell about its resident population and visitors over nearly 300 years. For Strait Street (part of which was also known as The Gut) was a focal point for visiting navies, from Nelson’s time until the departure of the British Royal Navy in the 1960s and early ’70s. But such was the contradiction between this street’s activities and Catholic society that the street has remained empty post-abandonment. This situation is only now beginning to change. This chapter briefly summarizes a project which set out to record, interpret, and present Strait Street to diverse audiences, focusing here on the field methods used in the investigation. While this is primarily an archaeological study, the methodology also incorporates ethnographic and historic components to construct a complex narrative of coexistence and tolerance in the heart of the Mediterranean.
William E. Boyd
In the archaeological context, a sense of the evolving landscape becomes especially important where there is considerable time depth or cultural sequencing inherent in a single site. The prehistoric occupants of that site used and related to the landscape in very different ways throughout time. However, archaeology is a modern endeavour, a form of enquiry directly related to post-Enlightenment and modernist conceptions and constructions of knowledge, place, and society, enacted within a complex of social-administrative and political constraints. The physical existence of an archaeological site reflects its multi-contextual conceptual identity. The concept of cognitive ownership has tended to be couched in relatively simple pragmatic terms: observing behaviour and drawing categorization of individuals and groups engaging in a cultural place as a management tool. In some studies, this has led to deeper understanding of cultural values, while in others, to more pragmatic management or activist conclusions.
Severin Fowles and Kaet Heupel
Archaeological methodologies direct our attention towards the study of present, material things. This is frequently praised as its greatest contribution to social theory. But humans cultivate relationships with absent things as well, and these absent things can be marked and assertive, exerting a powerful influence on society despite their immateriality. How, then, to engage in an archaeological study of absent things? And how might we undertake this project without slipping into the romantic notion that absences are necessarily mournful, in the sense that so many authors now write of the absence of the past as tragedy of the present? Here, it is argued that this issue has a special relevance to the archaeology of the contemporary past, and the authors draw upon recent excavations at the New Buffalo Commune-a 1960s and 1970s hippie commune in New Mexico-to explore the shifting relationships between modernity and absence on the one hand, and between absence and desire on the other.
This articlefocuses on Achaemenid Persia’s rule of the Levant. It explains that the Levant fell under the control of Persia after Cyrus the Great defeated the last Babylonian king,Nabodinus, in 539 BC. The article describes the conquest and organisation of the Levant from 539–486 BC, the situation of the Levant under Persian domination in the fifth century and the disturbances and changes in the Levant from 404–332 BC. It also highlights the difficulty in reconstructing the history of Levant during the Iron Age III or the Persian Period.
This article offers an introduction to acoustic remote sensing. In shipwreck studies, acoustic remote sensing has traditionally been used for reconnaissance surveys and for site relocation. With the advent of higher-resolution sonar systems, the focus in shipwreck studies has shifted toward site reconstruction and studies of site formation. Acoustic systems provide baseline data at rates higher than those of experienced dive teams. This article describes how acoustic data is generated. It describes the profiling methods such as single-beam echo-sounders and sub-bottom profilers, and swath methods such as side-scan sonar and multibeam echo-sounders. The last few years have seen developments of multielement sonar platforms, which allow for the acquisition of true concurrent sonar data sets from one platform. Every phase of development in sonar technology brings an increase in sensors' resolving capability and therefore the ability to image smaller and smaller artifacts in greater detail.
The chapter contributes to unravelling how Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) as a method of inquiry might inform the archaeological understanding of the contemporary world. To illustrate this, the author engages in an inquiry on Shin Takamatsu’s architecture following Guattari’s fascination with his architectural machines in the 1980s. Drawing on two epistemological figures-the hasty sightseer and the slow ethnographer-the chapter demonstrates two different approaches to contemporary architecture. It is argued that ANT methodologies can help to create a space in which the past, present, and future are combined and are still in the process of becoming. Equipped with ANT-inspired methods, contemporary archaeologists can engage in explorations of vibrant processes and emergent world-making techniques.
Peter Davies and Susan Lawrence
Technology, environment, and society have always been intimately connected in Australia, from the earliest arrival of modern humans almost 50,000 years ago to the settlement of Europeans since 1788. Colonists from Britain quickly learned the lessons of the natural environment in terms of thin soils and erratic rainfall. These factors placed real limits on settlement and industry, but also stimulated the introduction and adaptation of new ideas and technologies. No environmental factor had greater impact on colonial settlement than the availability of water. Archaeologists in Australia have focused on the use of water as a source of industrial energy, its role in the formation of cultural landscapes, and the development of urban water supplies and drainage. Much archaeological work remains to be done, however, on documenting and interpreting the ways in which people captured, stored, and distributed water, and the ever-changing relationships between people, technology, and environment through time.
Robert W. Park
In the Arctic, people experience some of the most profound seasonal changes anywhere on earth: the temperature and amount of daylight differ tremendously between summer and winter, the nature and extent of the usable landscape varies enormously with the annual formation and dissolution of the sea ice, and the composition and abundance of the fauna changes dramatically due to most species' annual migrations. Moreover, because the sea ice environment melts every summer, all direct traces of human use of that landscape are lost annually. Therefore, to a greater extent than in most archaeological situations, our understanding of the history of human use of the sea ice part of the coastal environment must be inferential.
Raven Garvey and Robert L. Bettinger
Anthropology’s approach to hunter-gatherer ecology and adaptations has changed remarkably from the Enlightenment to the present. Paradigm shifts, turning on the issues of adaptive scale and the degree to which humans are subject to natural selection, have led to descriptions of hunter-gatherer adaptations as, alternately, facile and backward or elegant and forward-thinking. Modern approaches, while still varied, are far less concerned with description, focusing instead on prediction and dynamic causes of culture change, but no less convinced that a modern understanding of human adaptation requires careful study of the hunter-gatherers of the archaeological past and ethnographic present.