Archaeology is characterized by an encounter with both present and absent properties of materials in a constantly changing world. Understanding these properties depends on developing a capacity to perceive beyond what is visible on the surface. To do so, archaeologists have to multisensorially engage not only with the fluctuations of the environment but also make use of both memory and imagination. Grounded on recent ethnographic work, I show how the assumed distinction between perceptual and non-perceptual aspects of experience does not allow us to understand how archaeologists learn to dig. Remembering and imagining unfold in continuity with feeling, which emerges as archaeologists become part of the history of the landscape while tracing the footsteps of others. Such experience challenges not only the widespread sequential understanding of cognition but also the punctuated view of knowledge production. From a sensory openness to both present and absent properties of a world in constant formation, the tension between discovery and construction dissolves.
|Translated title of the contribution||In the presence of the absent: Tracking materials in motion|
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Papeles de Trabajo|
|Publication status||Published - May 2013|