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Druids request reburial of ancestral remains
Hi G,

do you not think that that is perhaps the way we are heading anyway, within what some people have come to call the 'commercial paradigm'? In some cases the 'imagined individual' is no more than a vehicle for dissemination and explanation.

Relativism is applicable at a cognotive or psychological level, i.e. from the individual perspective. It exists, clearly, and should be acknowledged, but how the hell do you realise it within the archaeological record, or assimilate interpretations with the data? Is it not a fascination of abstract theorisers in ivory towers? [ouch, hehe - just asking! Wink]
I suppose what I'm trying to say is, has the paradigm shift not already happened and we are now in the classic situation of having to try and define what paradigm we're in now. Hodder knew what he was trying to show or explain and the shift in the late 70s/early 80s was actually rather well thought out, however the current situation has been born from a collapse of the old ideas leaving a vaccuum rather than a purposeful shift to a new position, with additional confusion stemming from the division between academic and commercial archaeology.

Please argue! :-D
Dave, I think you are absolutely right, and the sooner that someone who knows where his/her trowel is coins a good label the better. Workers of the world unite and all that! I think people are starting to touch on this new paradigm. This is from Bradley's 2006 SAL thingy:

'It follows that field archaeology is a mixed genre which does not lend itself very comfortably to the format of hypothesis testing advocated by the New Archaeologists of the 1970's or the vivid evocations of prehistoric life sought by the avant garde twenty years later. It tries to provide both, but does neither either terribly well. The reason for this weakness is revealing. It is because objectivity is really unattainable and subjectivity is only productive when it is constrained by clearly articulated ideas.'

To this I would add that well collected data allows the 'clearly articulated ideas bit'.

Im starting to feel really positive about the direction of things after reading the Bradley piece, he also says:

'there are indications that people are moving between these different sectors of archaeology. For some time there has been movement out of commercial firms and into universities, but at the moment that may not be such a popular career move. In fact there are signs that it may become a two way traffic, for there can be as much chance of conducting properly funded research within a good contract unit as there is in some archaeology departments. Equally significant are those joint ventures in which academics work together with field archaeology units on projects of common interest. All these break down barriers'

My hope is that it is this that will result in a British paradigm shift. An end to the ivory towers of 90's academics who see themselves as 'law producers' (cf Flannery 1982), and dont know how to collect decent data and ,indeed, dont see it as important.


PS Dave, who has called the current state the 'commercial' paradigm.
Brilliant! I'll give a pint to someone who can come up with a decent and evocative name for a our new paradigm! Wink

Have you got a reference for that Bradley piece? I remember someone mentioning his project last summer but haven't got round to looking it up.

I think I agree mostly with that, although, I would like to see greater signs of movement the other way - universities to commercial - or at least greater discourse. I can see it happening in some places but its no-where near convincing at the moment and those who are engaging in it appear to be the exception to the rule. If its a one-way infiltration we're going to be having this discussion for a long time.

YET, I get the impression that most or many academic archaeologists have adopted a position critical of both processual and post-processual viewpoints (whilst accepting some aspects), and so surely have made a shift of sorts. Maybe that's just from where I'm sitting though. I remember someone suggesting that perhaps we should decapitate the upper echelons of the old guard (getting really revolutionary now)in academic institutions and perhaps we may encourage a greater degree of debate without having to worry about a bunch of dusty old timers covering their ar**s, and guarding their pensions.

I would hasten to add that that is not my opinion, but if it happened it would be interesting to see how it affects the mix Wink! One thing that really annoys me is that, whilst there is continual complaint that universities are producing a stream of graduates who are only worthy of trowel fodder status on site (not my words) - initially at least, I don't think the majority have a clue about what we're talking about hear, either. Post-processualism to some appears to be an excuse to get the dictionary out and then look confused when they can't find a definition.

And another point, maybe what we're seeing is not in fact subject to the concept of paradigms at all. Ever thought of that? Maybe Kuhn got it right as an observation, but scientific philosophers and others have managed to create a self-fulfilling and somewhat circular prophesy. Oh dear, I appear to be in the ivory elevator, rising rapidly!

p.s. i've heard it mentioned a few times by people in conversation. The only person I can remember coming out with it definitively is Tim Taylor, though. I like it as a descriptor, but perhaps it is more representative of a theoretical reactionism....or maybe I need a ciggy break and a double strength coffee!
Damn! I was gonna add originally 'but, of course, a paradigm is also just an arbitrary device blah blah blah'.

However, when there is a motive (i.e. revolution) it may do us well to 'put lines' around ideas. A model is an artificial device but at least you then have something to a) crowd around, b) take apart c.) both, or d)make a career out of.

Onwards and upwards (is that stratigraphically correct) to the next thread!

Facetious G
Isn't this going off thread?

"In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing..." (Nigel Tufnell) :face-approve:
Yes it is. We've started a new thread, The Commercial Paradigm.
Yes I saw. This one is much funnier. [:p]
Ok, point taken, humour chip re-inserted... Perhaps relevant to this debate is the whole Seahenge debate. I just googled Seahenge and Druid, as I remembered that some Druids took particular umbridge to the excavation of Seahenge. This is from the website of the Loyal Arthurian Warband (!),

'Blackbird: I wondered why Seahenge, being a Bronze Age monument, is so important for you as a Druid?

Raven: For me as a Druid - you have [at Seahenge] an oak timbered circle, and obviously Druid's have a very strong connection with the oak... My family, my ancestors also come from that point on the Anglia landscape... As we sit around this field today, I see oak trees with their leaves coming off. In fact all the trees are not expected to live as long as they used to and are actually dying off.

From the root systems, the water table, all changing, over-development, pollution - all that - and an upside down oak tree [at Seahenge] showing its roots to us at this time when the oaks of East Anglia are dying off - [It's] the symbolic nature of it today really.

Raven's affiliation with the antiquity contained within the landscape of Norfolk linked with his concern for the relationships between the living landscape and his own spirituality.'

Obviously there is no point fighting this battle as we have already lost...

Maybe Bienkowski is having one of those 'let's be nice to the neo-Druid moments' and when he reads the newspapers he might acually wake up in the real world and stop rabbiting on about scientists' rights or lack of them.

One a previous thread in this forum we were discussing what the next big breakthroughs would be in archaeology (as part of the issue of why there is a presumption for preservation in situ). I remember claiming that the breakthorough would be in science rather than in fieldwork methodologies. Whilst I agree that we should show respect in terms of those human remains where we know that the wishes of the deceased were to be buried/undisturbed, the remainder (especially the prehistoric ones) are essential to our work as archaeologists. If we start to rebury human remains now, we will only end up having to dig them up again every time science comes up with a new way of recovering information.

Look at recent work on human remains such as the mitochondrial DNA analysis of Cheddar Man and those that shared a common ancestor with him, or the oxygen isotope analysis on the teeth of the so-called 'King of Stonehenge ' that suggested that he grew up in the Swiss Alps. This is cutting edge stuff and keeps archaeologists enthused as well as the general public.

Perhaps Dr Bienkowski could tell us how many of the inhumations from his Iron Age sites in Jordan have been reburied, or are they all still in boxes in the local museum stores awaiting further study ?


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