Special Issue "Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology"

A special issue of Humans (ISSN 2673-9461).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2022) | Viewed by 4693

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
Interests: archaeology; shell; sociology of archaeology; gender; Archaic US; symbolism; caves; ritual; landscape; central Mexico

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This issue of Humans will offer readings on the doings of archaeologists and being an archaeologist. It will address faddish or persistent Topics in conferences, journals, or dissertations; citation circles; archaeology issues in war-torn countries; the economic impact of projects and our responsibilities to workers, their communities, and to local museums; the relevance and application or dissemination of findings; audience and accountability; and retrospectives on long-running or famous projects by directors. Papers could also address who we are; the process of making an archaeologist; our working conditions; the curation of notes, artifacts, photos/maps, and careers; or the avocational archaeologist. Papers from authors situated in private businesses, museums, or government settings as well as those of academics are also solicited.

For high-quality papers invited by the Guest Editor, authors may be entitled with a full waiver on the normal article processing charges (1000 CHF).

If you consider contributing to this Special Issue, we encourage you to send us a tentative title of your paper in advance. Just feel free to contact the editorial office([email protected]) if you have any questions

Prof. Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humans is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Professional Archaeology in the UK under COVID-19
Humans 2023, 3(1), 36-46; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans3010005 - 01 Feb 2023
Viewed by 301
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic had serious effects on the delivery of commercial archaeology in the United Kingdom during 2020 and 2021. This article presents a contemporary history of two years of practice and political developments. Because of commercial archaeology’s place within the broader construction [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic had serious effects on the delivery of commercial archaeology in the United Kingdom during 2020 and 2021. This article presents a contemporary history of two years of practice and political developments. Because of commercial archaeology’s place within the broader construction sector, it became a ‘protected’ industry, resulting in a massive increase in the amount of work undertaken. Archaeology adapted remarkably well to the difficult and dangerous conditions of the pandemic, while encountering new challenges in staff recruitment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
Article
African Archaeological Journals and Social Issues 2014–2021
Humans 2023, 3(1), 25-35; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans3010004 - 30 Jan 2023
Viewed by 284
Abstract
The two waves of reflexivity in archaeology are the identity politics of archaeologists and stakeholder politics. These social issues are considered in this article through the perspective of three African archaeological journals produced from 2014 to 2021. Identity politics is examined through a [...] Read more.
The two waves of reflexivity in archaeology are the identity politics of archaeologists and stakeholder politics. These social issues are considered in this article through the perspective of three African archaeological journals produced from 2014 to 2021. Identity politics is examined through a quantitative analysis of authorship, book reviewing, and the countries covered. I conclude that parity of gender authorship—assuming 61% male and 39% female archaeologists—has been achieved by the African Archaeological Review, Journal of African Archaeology, and Azania. In book reviewing, this is less so. The geographical coverage across the three journals shows lacunae. Stakeholder politics is most visible in book reviews and special issues. Journal ethics and goals and the final topics of open access and other ways of broadening the pool of authors, reviewers, and accessibility are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
Article
From the Trowel’s Edge to the Scholarly Sidelines: Community-Based Research in Academic Archaeology, 2012–2021
Humans 2022, 2(4), 277-288; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans2040018 - 01 Dec 2022
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Community-based approaches in archaeology are poised to make an important contribution to the decolonization of the discipline. Archaeologists who are committed to this agenda are undoubtedly aware that community archaeology is a vibrant and growing research area, but the extent to which the [...] Read more.
Community-based approaches in archaeology are poised to make an important contribution to the decolonization of the discipline. Archaeologists who are committed to this agenda are undoubtedly aware that community archaeology is a vibrant and growing research area, but the extent to which the practical aspects and interpretive impact of community archaeology are known beyond its adherents is unclear. This article reviews recent publication trends in highly ranked, international archaeology journals to determine if and what kind of community archaeology is reaching a discipline-spanning audience. The main finding of this analysis is that community archaeology occupies a dynamic but narrow niche within general archaeological scholarship. I argue that this pattern must be confronted and reversed if the transformative potential of community-based research is to be realized in archaeology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
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Article
Local Knowledge in American Archaeology: A Study in High Context Communication
Humans 2022, 2(4), 251-258; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans2040016 - 24 Nov 2022
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Over the course of twenty five years, approximately 1990 to 2015, American archaeologists grew to accept the regular use of local knowledge, in the form of Native American and local community knowledge, in their development of archaeological knowledge and in cultural resource management. [...] Read more.
Over the course of twenty five years, approximately 1990 to 2015, American archaeologists grew to accept the regular use of local knowledge, in the form of Native American and local community knowledge, in their development of archaeological knowledge and in cultural resource management. This change mostly pushed archaeologists to engage with groups of people that would have been ignored previously. This transformation is part of a larger process of Modernism becoming Post Modernism via the expanded use of high context communication, a concept from Communications Studies, throughout American culture. This paper briefly describes the use of local knowledge and summarizes structural changes in cultural resource management, especially consultation practices, that highlight a wider usage of high context communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
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Article
Seeing with the Strong Programme
Humans 2022, 2(4), 219-225; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans2040014 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 542
Abstract
Using the Strong Programme developed in Edinburgh in the 1970s clarifies how to do sociology of science freed from Enlightenment paradigms of testing for Truth. This paper uses, as an example, the case of Lewis Binford and his wife (in the 1960s) Sally [...] Read more.
Using the Strong Programme developed in Edinburgh in the 1970s clarifies how to do sociology of science freed from Enlightenment paradigms of testing for Truth. This paper uses, as an example, the case of Lewis Binford and his wife (in the 1960s) Sally Rosen, revealing Rosen’s work to make Lewis’s writing clear and persuasive. Rosen’s work was the efficient cause of Lewis Binford’s success with the New Archaeology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
Article
A Case for Buried Culture: From an Unknown Known to a Known Unknown
Humans 2022, 2(3), 74-94; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans2030006 - 14 Jul 2022
Viewed by 798
Abstract
This paper makes a case for Buried Culture—humanly modified packages of sediments and artifacts. Specifically, it argues that Buried Culture amounts to an a-social, literally posthuman, cultural being. The argument proceeds through three main steps. Firstly, drawing on the prototypical example of landfills, [...] Read more.
This paper makes a case for Buried Culture—humanly modified packages of sediments and artifacts. Specifically, it argues that Buried Culture amounts to an a-social, literally posthuman, cultural being. The argument proceeds through three main steps. Firstly, drawing on the prototypical example of landfills, it demonstrates that while ontically solid, Buried Culture is epistemically vacuous. Secondly, placing it between sedimentology and archaeology, a diagnosis is offered: The epistemic vehicles at our disposal either acknowledge Buried Culture’s existence as a proper being or appreciate its cultural qualities, but not both. Thirdly, an aesthetically oriented approach is proposed, adopting the analytical reasoning of the art critic as a means to straddle this gap. To illustrate this, a small-scale case study is presented, concerned with an early 20th-century landfill near Tel Aviv, Israel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
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Review

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Review
Bending the Trajectory of Field School Teaching and Learning through Active and Advocacy Archaeology
Humans 2023, 3(1), 10-23; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans3010002 - 15 Jan 2023
Viewed by 560
Abstract
Many individuals practicing field-based research are subjected to sexual harassment and assault. This fact holds true for people engaged in archaeological field research and may be true for students who are just learning field methods while enrolled in an archaeological field school. We [...] Read more.
Many individuals practicing field-based research are subjected to sexual harassment and assault. This fact holds true for people engaged in archaeological field research and may be true for students who are just learning field methods while enrolled in an archaeological field school. We review some of our current research on the means of reducing and preventing sexual harassment and assault at archaeological field schools, as well as ways to create safer, more inclusive learning spaces. Additionally, we suggest that for the discipline to advance field school teaching and learning, we, as field directors, must situate ourselves as active and advocacy anthropologists: an approach that puts our students as a central focus when developing field-based pedagogy. As the authors of this work, we review our identities and positionality in conducting this research and in making meaning from the data we have collected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)

Other

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Essay
Class Barriers to Merit in the American Professoriate: An Archaeology Example and Proposals for Reform
Humans 2023, 3(1), 1-9; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans3010001 - 22 Dec 2022
Viewed by 408
Abstract
Consumers and academics alike perceive a status hierarchy among American universities. By this perception, professors are placed in the status hierarchy befitting their scholarly merit. However, a recent study of the archaeology professoriate found no consistent correlation between faculty placement and merit. This [...] Read more.
Consumers and academics alike perceive a status hierarchy among American universities. By this perception, professors are placed in the status hierarchy befitting their scholarly merit. However, a recent study of the archaeology professoriate found no consistent correlation between faculty placement and merit. This essay identifies reasons for the lack of meritocracy, some unique to archaeology and others common to many fields. Archaeology, similar to the American academy at large, ignores class as a bias that handicaps some while favoring others. Notwithstanding challenges of definition and measurement, class should be treated equally with race, gender, and other biases in an academy’s pursuit of true meritocracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Reflections on the Sociology of Archaeology)
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