Archaeology Beyond Dialogue

How do global trends affect our view of the past?

World trends such as tourism, diaspora, and media globalization have led to new forms of relationship with the past. Yet these global processes also threaten to silence local or alternate claims to that past. How should archaeologists respond to this dispersal of archaeological knowledge and interest? Many have come to accept the need for dialogue. In Archaeology Beyond Dialogue, Ian Hodder argues that there is a need to do more than engage in dialogue with participating communities; archaeologists must consider the implications of globalizing trends for the way they excavate and analyze their data.

Over the last two decades, Ian Hodder has been a central figure in archaeological method and theory arguing for reflexive techniques that are more transparent, dialogical, and participatory. He explores these developments by examining the diversification of archaeology, the effect of a more global archaeology on archaeological methods and analysis, new theoretical trends in social archaeology, and new interpretations of prehistoric sites focusing on agency, power/knowledge, and subject position. Hodder applies these concepts to the important site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey and the megaliths and monuments of the European Neolithic. He contrasts alternative approaches that claim, unsuccessfully in his view, to eschew meaning in the interpretation of the past.

This book should stir the archaeological community to a realization that it does not exist in a vacuum and that the part it plays affects many people: those with ancestral ties to the prehistoric inhabitants, those living in the general vicinity of the site, and the workers doing the excavation.


Ian Hodder is the Dunlevie Family Professor in the department of cultural and social anthropology at Stanford University, and fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University.

Table of Contents:
1. Dialogical Archaeology and its Implications

I. The Globalization of Archaeology
2. The Past as Passion and Play: Çatalhöyük as a Site of Conflict in the Construction of Multiple Pasts
3. Who to Listen To? Integrating Many Voices in an Archaeological Project

II. The Impact on Method—Interpretation at the Trowel's Edge
4. "Always Momentary, Fluid and Flexible": Toward a Reflexive Excavation Methodology
5. Whose Rationality?
6. Archaeological Practice as Intellectual Activity
7. Social Practice, Method, and Some Problems of Field Archaeology (with Åsa Berggren)

III. The Impact of Theory
8. The "Social" in Archaeological Theory: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective
9. Agency and Individuals in Long-term Processes
10. An Archaeology of the Four-Field Approach in Anthropology in the United States

IV. Dialogue and Engagement with Prehistory
11. The Domus: Some Problems Reconsidered
12. The Wet and the Dry: Interpretive Archaeology in the Wetlands
13. British Prehistory: Some Thoughts Looking In
14. Daily Practice and Social Memory at Çatalhöyük (with Craig Cessford)
15. The Lady and the Seed: Some Thoughts on the Role of Agriculture in the "Neolithic Revolution"

16. Setting Ethical Research Agendas at Archaeological Sites: The Attempt at Çatalhöyük

References Cited
About the Author