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Out of Order, Out of Time: Interrogating Current Approaches to European Prehistory

July 2015 (119.3)

Online Review Article

Out of Order, Out of Time: Interrogating Current Approaches to European Prehistory

Reviewed Works

The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe, by Richard Bradley. Pp. xv + 242. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012. €67. ISBN 978-0-19-960809-6 (cloth).

How Ancient Europeans Saw the World: Vision, Patterns, and the Shaping of the Mind in Prehistoric Times, by Peter S. Wells. Pp. 304. Princeton University Press, Princeton 2012. $35. ISBN 978-0-691-14338-5 (cloth).

The Archaeology of Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Sarah Ralph. Pp. 306. State University of New York Press, Albany 2013. $95. ISBN 978-1-4384-4441-3 (cloth).

Local Societies in Bronze Age Northern Europe, edited by Nils Anfinset and Melanie Wrigglesworth. Pp. 260. Equinox, Sheffield, England 2012. $99.95. ISBN 978-1-84553-742-5 (cloth).

The Prehistory of Iberia: Debating Early Social Stratification and the State, edited by María Cruz Berrocal, Leonardo García Sanjuán, and Antonio Gilman. Pp. 424. Routledge, New York 2013. $140. ISBN 978-0-415-88592-8 (cloth).

Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC: Crossing the Divide, edited by Tom Moore and Xosê-Lois Armada. Pp. 720, b&w figs. 140. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2011. €115. ISBN 978-0-19-956795-9 (cloth).

Over the past decade or so, there have been important advancements in the archaeology of prehistoric Europe. Many of these advancements are theoretical in nature, ranging from issues of the body and agency; to aesthetics, art, and memory; to community and temporality; as well as concerns regarding power and colonialism.1 Other advancements contribute to our understanding of European prehistory through methodology focusing on the use of isotopic analyses, portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) technologies, and GIS.2 However, for much of European archaeology (if there is such an entity), such approaches are the exception rather than the rule.

The volumes reviewed here are marked by sometimes bold and, for the most part, successful attempts to bridge the persistent chasm between method and theory but also between processual and postprocessual approaches to interpreting the past. I begin with the overtly theoretical volumes (Bradley, Wells, Ralph), which claim no predominant geographical focus but rather seek to contribute more broadly to our understanding of specific topics in European prehistory. The next section contains the reviews of region-centered edited volumes (Anfinset and Wrigglesworth on northern Europe; Berrocal et al. on Iberia; and Moore and Armada on Atlantic Europe). In the case of these region-focused edited volumes, which each contain multiple chapters, I highlight those chapters that I feel are most representative in both positive and problematic ways. All the volumes contribute substantially, and in some cases substantively, to our understanding of European prehistory while also reflexively assessing the current state of archaeology in their regions and Europe more broadly.

Bradley’s The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe continues his long-running focus on monuments, imagery, and meaning-making in prehistoric Europe. He organizes the volume into four parts, each subdivided into chapters: “Times and Spaces” (pt. 1, three chapters); “Circular Structures in a Circular World” (pt. 2, three chapters); “Circular Structures in a Rectilinear World” (pt. 3, three chapters); and “Summing Up” (pt. 4, one chapter). Each chapter has the feel of a separate publication, including some chapters with their own introductions and/or summaries. Bradley’s organization of the volume lends a somewhat disjointed feel to the volume, something one might have expected either the author or the press to notice; likewise, this disconnect is heightened by a lack of accompanying explanations or introductions to the four separately titled parts. This is unfortunate, as Bradley sets out on an ambitious course, one that he has covered before more thoroughly in other publications.3 These parts would have been excellent opportunities to introduce the broader theoretical concerns of each section, and, perhaps even more so, they were a chance for Bradley to discuss changes in his thinking over the past four decades and his reasoning for his current approaches to these topics.

Bradley’s primary question in The Idea of Order is why one kind of monument (circular) appears widespread in some geographic areas. To a lesser extent, Bradley is also interested in the contrast between circular and rectilinear structures that appears in various places and at different times in European prehistory. Of course, this question is not a new one in European archaeology nor the anthropological archaeology of North America. As Bradley notes, Flannery and Kent both have engaged with this topic.4 Flannery and Kent were reliant on theoretical and methodological frameworks aimed at identifying and assigning complexity to different societies based on ethnographically derived distinctions between family size and type (nuclear and/or extended) and economic activity such as storage. Bradley seeks to move beyond the illusory binary of simple and complex to understand better the roles of cosmology in social organization from the Neolithic to the Iron Age of Europe. This admirable goal, however, is somewhat obscured by rather random uses of ethnoarchaeology and ethnography to flesh out his approaches to symbolic communication and art as critical elements in cosmological displays. This is not to say that ethnoarchaeology and ethnography are not useful sources of information, but rather, and in a similar vein to Flannery’s own admission, that such sources need to be approached critically, lest their use of information be seen as willy-nilly.

Nevertheless, Bradley’s volume is a solid investigation of the cosmologies of meaning that were pervasive in prehistoric Europe. In his inimitable way, Bradley interrogates how prehistoric people experienced the world around them and, as a result, modified that world and their more immediate, everyday lives. Bradley notes that such experiential projects were widespread in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe, consisting of the construction of monumental public architecture (e.g., Tara and Uisneach in Ireland and the various monumental tombs of the Orkneys, just to name a few of his abundant examples). On the quotidian level, such imagery can be seen in the deliberate reconstructions and replacements of, and/or extensions to, dwellings as noted at Ein el-Hariri in Israel, Weisweiler in Germany, and Elsloo in the Netherlands.

Bradley makes a compelling case for the use of circular imagery in prehistoric Europe, often moving between monuments, dwellings, and material culture. His sometimes dizzying array of cases strongly supports his idea that the constructions of and connections between circular structures were important components in cosmologies of meaning in the past. Less convincing is that by picking certain examples and comparing them, such as the Late Bronze Age Navan Fort with Mucking and Thwing in England, a similarity of purpose for these structures can be determined. Overall, the volume presents a somewhat jumbled collection of studies on the use of circular structures across Europe, and while the importance of such structures is highlighted, I am not sure that anyone ever thought otherwise. This volume lacks the cohesion of Bradley’s compelling and authoritative study of monuments in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe, yet it offers some intriguing insights into issues such as movement and visibility and their importance to communities in prehistoric Europe.

While Bradley discusses sensual engagements, such as visibility, with circular monumental and material culture archetypes in prehistoric Europe, Wells offers a focused, well-organized exploration of visuality in prehistoric Europe in How Ancient Europeans Saw the World: Vision, Patterns, and the Shaping of the Mind in Prehistoric Times. Wells sets out on a structured path that bears some similarities to Bradley’s encompassing study of the circular form. These similarities include the breakdown of the book into four major parts, each with accompanying chapters: “Theory and Method” (pt. 1, four chapters); “Material: Objects and Arrangements” (pt. 2, six chapters); “Interpreting the Patterns” (pt. 3, two chapters); and “Conclusion” (pt. 4, one chapter). The unequal distribution of the chapters by section demonstrates Wells’ preoccupation with constructing more theoretically robust engagements with material culture. This is clear in the first sentence of his preface: “Why does an Early Bronze Age cup look different from one made in the Late Bronze Age?” (xi). This type of question should stir the interest of the reader as it introduces broader issues of ontology, materiality, and temporality.

Wells begins the volume with a brief exploration of ideas on art, style, and visuality. He admits adopting more of a snapshot approach to the Bronze and Iron Age societies in Europe and, more specifically, how they arranged sociopolitical media, such as graves and pottery, in intentional ways. While this is an interesting and powerful approach to studying materiality—through visuality and how sensual engagements begin with eyeing up objects, practices, and events—some aspects of the author’s approach may receive a more lukewarm reception. For example, Wells suggests that “each product of a society—religious rituals, kinship systems, marriage practices, myths, burial customs, decorative patterns applied to pottery—encapsulates the whole of society” (14). If this is the case, there could be no accounting for change over time or differences in the same time with regard to the play between intentionality and unintentionality; nor are we allowed the wiggle room of contingency. Many archaeologists would agree that better understandings of the past can rarely be captured in the engagements between a solitary or individual social actor and a single artifact, practice, or custom. This is, of course, just one example from a fairly lengthy text, but nevertheless such statements will be off-putting for some readers.

Despite these caveats, Wells is especially successful in his development of visual engagements with objects and practices, particularly those in Bronze and Iron Age Europe, and how such engagements shaped prehistoric people’s worlds. Part 1 sets out to explain how the sociocultural and political relationships between visuality and objects shaped the social worlds in which people lived and how they might be identified in numerous ritual-based and everyday patterns. Perhaps one of Wells’ most effective chapters is “The Visual Worlds of Early Europe,” in which he details the different scales and times of visual encounters, moving from landscape to the house, and how different seasons brought about changes in lighting and texturing in these encounters. Wells seeks to illuminate the visual ecology of late prehistoric Europe by discussing the context of visuality, including the framing of sight.

Framing, an important component in studies of performance in Bateson and Goffman, plays a compelling role in Wells’ study.5 Pottery and graves both frame an onlooker’s vision and shape the onlooker’s bodily and mental engagements with the object. It is no surprise when Wells folds into his study ideas of performance that offer some of the social and political dynamics embedded in the interactions between object and onlooker. In chapters 5–8, Wells explores visual engagements with pottery, fibulas, and swords and scabbards, culminating in a discussion of their arrangement in graves. Wells states that the “character and arrangement of grave goods was of direct meaning and importance to the community and had less significance as regards the individual” (135). This concept, graves and their contents being the results of community action, is nothing new—that is, the dead do not bury themselves. However, Wells takes this a step further and suggests that graves and the arrangement of the body and objects around it were intentional diagrams, or templates for the social world, expressing “how things work” (134–35). Unfortunately, this suggestion is not explored fully, as it appears first in chapter 8 rather than in chapters 1–3, where such a statement would have added potency to Wells’ discussion of visuality and shaping. Chapter 9 deals with performance, yet there is no robust treatment of performance as one of the primary components in shaping visual practices, such as aesthetics and display. The volume concludes with a brief chapter on coins and texts (ch. 10), which is followed by a short discussion chapter and then the conclusion. In general, Wells’ volume is a thoughtful and thought-provoking study into the visual engagements with objects in the quotidian and funerary contexts of Bronze and Iron Age Europe. While the volume is sometimes marred by underdeveloped discussions of theory, as there are no substantive discussions of performance, aesthetics, materiality, or memory, these discrepancies do not detract too much from the overall quality of the book.

Whereas Bradley focuses on cosmology and order and Wells on shaping/structure and visuality, Ralph’s edited volume, The Archaeology of Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches, offers an intriguing collection of essays on the potentially disruptive sociopolitical forces expressed in moments and/or acts of violence as well as the capacity for violence to shape the social worlds in which past people lived. This collection is the result of a conference on violence organized by Ralph and hosted by the Institute of European and Mediterranean Archaeology (IEMA) at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, in 2008. The volume begins with Ralph’s introductory chapter and subsequently is split up into four main sections: “The Contexts of Violence” (sec. 1, four chapters); “The Politics and Identities of Violence” (sec. 2, four chapters); “Sanctified Violence” (sec. 3, four chapters); and “Epilogue” (sec. 4, one chapter). Unlike the previous volumes, each section’s theme is introduced by a very brief essay, authored by IEMA faculty members. In essence, these introductions offer brief reviews of the section’s chapters, but unfortunately with little corresponding discussion of the section theme itself.

The volume is well organized and has a cohesive feel to it. Ralph’s introduction is short and focuses more on the reasoning behind each section’s theme, while also providing a straightforward discussion of the volume’s purpose. It is unusual that Ralph’s introduction lacks a substantial treatment of the theoretical foundation for the conference, similar to the approach in IEMA’s first conference volume.6 However, the volume’s chapters provide a thought-provoking array of case studies, primarily from prehistoric European and classical Mediterranean societies. One chapter stands out as somewhat of an anomaly, given its heavy use of data gleaned from human skeletal remains. Redfern’s chapter, “Violence as an Aspect of the Durotriges Female Life Course” is a good blend of method and theory focusing on the differential appearance of violence in the lives of females (and, by extension, males) in Iron Age Dorset (United Kingdom). Building on the work of Hamlin7 on gender, age, and status of Late Iron Age and Roman-period Dorset populations, Redfern offers a refreshing discussion of violence and women starting with the idea that scholars often assume a passive role for women in contexts of violence—violence is something that happens to women. One of Redfern’s goals for her chapter is to explore possibilities for more active roles of women in these contexts. Redfern finds that while there is an overall low occurrence of violence in Durotriges communities, lives were punctuated by episodes of violence in which younger females (up to age 35) were active participants, identified through healed wounds from projectile points and blunt-force cranial injuries.

Other more notable chapters, among a host of informative and well-written contributions, include Galaty’s “An Offense to Honor is Never Forgiven” and Porter’s “The State of Sacrifice.” Galaty’s contribution presents the results from the Shala Valley Project in northern Albania. Galaty embraces the difficulty of working in Albania with equanimity and presents an image of a region rich in archaeological, ethnographic, and historical detail. His focus—honor or affronts to honor—is the basis for all forms of codified violence in northern Albania. He astutely points out that in such a harsh physical environment where resources are fairly scarce, conflict and violence may be more of a release valve for the communities inhabiting the region. Perhaps the only stumbling block is his use of world-systems theory. Certainly, world-systems theory helps explain the regional context for conflict and tension, but it does little to help flesh out the everyday aspects of conflict and violence. Here, Galaty may have been served better by drawing on Herzfeld’s rich ethnography, The Poetics of Manhood, which highlights the roles of masculinity and deception in contests of stealing and bravado.8 This, however, is a minor quibble.

Porter provides a well-reasoned and well-researched chapter on state-sanctioned violence in the form of sacrifice in the Near East. She weaves together a compelling study that is data driven and yet robustly theoretical as she covers both human and animal sacrifice and their functions for blessing buildings or as accompaniments for elites into the next world/afterlife. She argues convincingly that these practices were meant to create ancestors, those who could mediate between the lived and divine worlds. As a result of papers such as those by Redfern, Galaty, and Porter, Ralph’s volume takes on the rich and multidimensional issue of violence head-on, providing a thoughtful collection of essays full of insight and useful case studies for those particularly interested in the topic.

I have to admit to some trepidation when I sat down with Anfinset and Wrigglesworth’s Local Societies in Bronze Age Northern Europe. The Bronze Age of Europe is a conglomeration of fascinating time periods, events, and major social upheavals, which have been extensively published on already by Harding as well as Kristiansen and Larsson.9 That none of these authors shows up in Local Societies was initially a cause for concern, given their knowledge of the subject matter. A glance at the table of contents assuages those fears, as the aim of the volume is to move beyond the region-based approaches adopted by previous authors. Instead, the editors have amassed a plethora of case studies drawn from northern Europe and rich in local detail that seek to push theoretical boundaries.

Local Societies is divided into two parts: “Identity, Grand Narratives and Networks” (pt. 1, six chapters); and “Regions, Globalization and Resistance” (pt. 2, seven chapters). It is clear from the onset that Anfinset and Wrigglesworth seek to challenge and move beyond conventional approaches to sociocultural complexity that have been focused on the region and culture history. The volume contains a total of 13 chapters, including Damm’s absorbing and well-argued take on collective identities; Oma’s intriguing study of human-animal interactions and the importance of animals in the cosmologies of Bronze Age northern Europe; Skoglund’s intriguing focus on power and individuality and their roles in the social landscapes and rock art of Scandinavia; and Anfinset’s brief but engaging essay on social responses to the introduction of metal in Bronze Age Norway. I found this volume to be a set of encouraging and absorbing studies with the idea of local history situated firmly center stage. Anfinset and Wrigglesworth’s introduction relies heavily on the work of Castells, in particular his ideas on the emergence of network societies.10 Innovatively, they combine Castells’ work with Kristensen’s long-running work on Bronze Age social organization in northern Europe to produce what I think is an original and refreshing volume that sets up a new and productive approach to understanding the European Bronze Age and stands as an important counterpoint to previous studies that have relied on the more broadly cited Bronze Age of central Europe. Overall, the editors and contributors weave together a volume that is a rich mosaic of archaeology and local (pre)history that will contribute much to nonregional, as well as regional, archaeological investigations of the European Bronze Age.

Similarly, Berrocal, Sanjuán, and Gilman have produced in The Prehistory of Iberia: Debating Early Social Stratification and the State a rich collection of essays that explores conventional and new approaches to social organization—approaches that I think will have a broad appeal to European archaeologists. The volume is split into three parts: “Introducing Social Stratification and the State in Iberian Prehistory” (pt. 1, three chapters); “Case Studies” (pt. 2, 15 chapters); and “Conclusion” (pt. 3, one chapter). Part 1, written by the editors, sets the tone for the volume as it reviews the theoretical frameworks and models in which the editors are the most interested and contributes to the volume’s overall cohesion. The theoretical backbone of the volume is steeped in what we call the processual archaeology of the late 20th century, and it would thus be easy to dismiss their efforts as out-of-date. But it would be a mistake to do so. The editors have introduced some significant twists and turns, including historical approaches to power, drawing on Clastres’ and Scott’s influential works.11 The first chapter is a brief but tantalizing exploration of the aim and structure of the volume, while chapter 2 is a more conventional approach to identifying state-level societies in southern Iberia. Chapter 3 stands out as a particularly strong contribution through a discussion of the complicated and often problematic relationship between archaeology and history.

Part 2 is an impressive collection of studies that range in date from the Neolithic to the eighth century B.C.E. The theoretical range is diverse but also has common threads running throughout, as authors move from complexity and hierarchy to nonhierarchical approaches to complexity, identity, and networks. Despite this array of time periods and topics, part 2 provides both the newcomer to and specialist of Iberian prehistory with interesting approaches to archaeology more generally, as well as more specifically to the goings-on of the various regions of the Iberian peninsula. Two chapters that I found especially intriguing for different reasons include “Bronze Age Political Landscape of La Mancha” (Brodsky et al.) and “Rethinking Social Hierarchization” (Trías et al.). The former chapter, on archaeological survey derived primarily from aerial photography, known site locations, and limited surface collection, interested me greatly. However, I found the presentation (and more importantly, the methodology) of their survey and subsequent GIS perplexing. The black-and-white images are of poor quality and are fuzzy, apparently the result of low resolution. Since their use of GIS aims to differentiate settlement sizes and patterns, different symbols for different size settlements or different types of “site” would have been very useful. The authors’ use of nearest-neighbor analysis was also baffling, as a more informative approach would have been rank size based on distances between settlements. Overall, the chapter is a solid contribution to the volume, as it grounds the somewhat conventional theoretical approach to social organization in different methods of data collection and analysis.

Trías et al. find steady theoretical ground as they move from Renfrew and Cherry’s peer polity to a discussion of aesthetics, personhood, and hybridity. The authors provide a necessarily brief overview of the material categories in which they have the most interest, including swords, daggers, machetes, pectorals, diadems, needles/pins, axes, chisels, arrowheads, spearheads, torques, bracelets, bridles, and mirrors. The authors suggest (perhaps channeling Durkheim) that through the use of these objects, individuals came to shape the self in terms of broader relationships and interactions between individual and society. Yet given the initial emphasis on aesthetics, I felt a little misled (and disappointed) that very few images of the objects themselves or the contexts in which they were found were provided.

Overall, The Prehistory of Iberia is a fine study of contrasts that can be found in the different approaches to Iberian prehistory. Despite the contrasts, there is still a feeling of cohesion about the volume that is often lacking in edited volumes. This may be because of a central thread of 1970s processual archaeology with bold attempts to push beyond that paradigm. It is encouraging to see this kind of hybrid approach to a joint publication and that this work, for the most part, does not shy away from data-oriented chapters that are also theoretically robust.

The final volume under review is Moore and Armada’s ambitious, and subsequently massive, Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC: Crossing the Divide. The book is split into six parts: “Crossing the Divide” (pt. 1, one chapter); “Landscape Studies” (pt. 2, seven chapters); “The Social Modeling of Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Societies” (pt. 3, nine chapters); “Continuity and Change” (pt. 4, six chapters); “Rhythms of Life and Death” (pt. 5, six chapters); and “Exploring European Research Traditions” (pt. 6, four chapters). As has been noted for many of the volumes reviewed here, the themes of the various parts would have benefited from further treatment at the beginning of each part rather than just in the introduction at the beginning of the volume. This would spare readers having to go back to the introduction every time they start a new part.

No chapter is more notable than the introduction, “Crossing the Divide: Opening a Dialogue on Approaches to Western European First Millennium BC Studies,” for its theoretical breadth and length (78 pages). This chapter immediately establishes that there can be no cohesive approach to the first millennium B.C.E. in Europe, as there are too many societal developments to reconcile for such an approach to be useful. Rather than attempt to synthesize Europe’s prehistory through a single theoretical framework, the editors adopt a multidimensional review of current theoretical approaches, including a review and challenge to the three-age system based on our ever-expanding chronologies based on “absolute” dating; a somewhat superfluous review of the term “Celtic Europe”; review of processualist and postprocessual approaches; review of Europe as an amalgamation of regions; and the current studies of European prehistory, including landscape, hierarchy/heterarchy, continuity/change, material culture, life and death, warfare, and identity.

Part 2 is dedicated to landscape studies of Iron Age Europe. Unfortunately, this section provides a somewhat confusing array of studies from across Europe, rather than a cohesive set of landscape studies. This is offset by the use of GIS in the regional studies presented by archaeologists working in the Iberian peninsula and Burgundy. I was consistently impressed with the combination of processual and postprocessual approaches to theory with solid, if not innovative, uses of GIS and other analytical tools to explore settlement and environmental data. This, I think, is an encouraging development in the archaeologies presented in the volume as well as European prehistory more broadly.

Part 3 consists of scholars presenting thoughts on the modeling of Late Bronze Age and Iron Age societies. One might question the relevancy of modeling such broad societal dynamics. If we accept that Europe is an amalgamation of regions, then should we not reconsider our usage of broad temporal categories as well? If we look at shorter periods in time as well as more local processes, to what extent do these panregional and broader temporal models hold up? This is addressed by Collis and Hill in the first two essays in this part. They both contemplate new directions for interrogating the different periods of the Iron Age, or in some cases later (Medieval) periods. I was intrigued with Hill’s proposal that Iron Age societies be considered as nontriangular. Heuristically, this makes a great deal of sense and should contribute to efforts to move us away from region-centered top-down approaches to Iron Age social life and toward a better understanding of how local societies organized themselves and interacted with their own histories.

Part 4 is a collection of essays on the dynamics between continuity and change. Interestingly, the first chapter (ch. 18), a brief exploration of the methodologies and analytical techniques incorporated in studies of prehistoric Iberian metalwork, does not offer a theoretical foundation with which the rest of the section’s chapters engage. Rather, it is in chapters 19–21 that one finds more robust theoretical treatments of continuity and change, nestled in among more standard fare dealing with metalwork and settlement patterns. This section makes the reader work at combining the disparate points rather than offering a clear flow of theory, data, and discussion. Disappointingly, there is little to no discussion of the broader implications of temporality and tradition in the socioeconomic and political life of populations living during the Iron Age.

This critique carries through to part 5, “Rhythms of Life and Death,” which provides a discordant mixture of studies of boats and a cluster of mortuary studies from Iron Age Iberia, as well as a few from other regions. More baffling for the reader is part 6 and its somewhat disparate approaches to European research traditions. While Hingley and Sharples provide clear and concise summaries, I found an engagement with Edward Gibbon somewhat confusing (at least in this part), and Del Riaz’s contribution to ethnicity seems equally out of place.

Such critiques aside, Moore and Armada have produced a fine addition to the corpus on Iron Age Europe. Although I think the volume would have benefited from a clearer sense of organization (perhaps along the lines of regional contributions) and from a more specific theoretical focus, I find enormous value in its ambitiously broad scope. Few other volumes exist for Iron Age Europe, and students and experts alike will find much to peruse between the covers.

Overall, the numerous volumes reviewed here offer glimpses into the exciting future of the archaeologies of Europe, as well as a look at the changes over just the past few years. It is encouraging that theoretical approaches focusing on visuality and considerations of aesthetics are helping us rethink our engagements with material culture. The spread of more theoretically robust approaches incorporating landscape, identity, personhood, and ethnicity is equally encouraging, especially when paired with more data-oriented approaches. I hope that such approaches offer an important starting point for pondering the nature of our own theoretical engagements, analytical techniques, and how our work fits into both local and broader narratives.

James A. Johnson
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Works Cited

Bateson, G. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology,  Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bolender, D.J. 2010. Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record (The Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology Distinguished Monograph Series). Albany: State University of New York Press.

Borić, D., ed. 2010. Archaeology and Memory. Oxford: Oxbow.

Borić, D., and T.D. Price. 2013. “Strontium Isotopes Document Greater Human Mobility at the Start of the Balkan Neolithic.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(9):3298–303.

Bradley, R. 1998. The Significance of Monuments: On the Shaping of Human Experience in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe. London: Routledge.

Castells, M. 1996. The Rise of Network Society. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers.

Clastres, P. 1989. Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology. Translated by R. Hurley and A. Stein. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Dietler, M. 2010. Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Doonan, R., B. Hanks, D. Zdanovich, E. Kupriyanova, D. Pitman, N. Batanina, and J. Johnson. 2014. “Metals, Society, and Economy in the Late Prehistoric Eurasian Steppe.” In Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective: Methods and Syntheses, edited by B. Roberts and C. Thornton, 755–84. New York: Springer.

Fernández-Götz, M. 2014. Identity and Power: The Transformation of Iron Age Societies in Northeast Gaul (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Flannery, K. 1972. “The Origins of the Village as a Settlement Type in Mesoamerica and the Near East: A Comparative Study.” In Man, Settlement and Urbanism, edited by P.J. Ucko, R. Tringham, and G.W. Dimbleby, 23–53. London: Duckworth.

Flannery, K. 2002. “The Origins of the Village Revisited: From Nuclear to Extended Households.” AmerAnt 67(3):417–33.

Fowler, C. 2004. The Archaeology of Personhood: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge.

Fowler, C. 2013. The Emergent Past: A Relational Realist Archaeology of Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Garstki, K., B. Arnold, and M.L. Murray. 2015. “Reconstituting Community: 3D Visualization and Early Iron Age Social Organization in the Heuneburg Mortuary Landscape.” JAS 54:23–30.

Giles, M. 2012. A Forged Glamour: Landscape, Identity, and Material Culture in the Iron Age. Oxford: Oxbow.

Goffman, E. 1986. Reprint. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Original edition, New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

Hamlin, C. 2007. “The Material Expression of Social Change: The Mortuary Correlates of Gender and Age in Late Pre-Roman Iron Age and Roman Dorset.” Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Harding, A.F. 2000. European Societies in the Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harris, O.J.T. 2012. “(Re)assembling Communities.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 21:76–97.

Herzfeld, M. 1985. The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and Identity in a Cretan Mountain Village. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jones, A., ed. 2008. Prehistoric Europe: Theory and Practice (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 12). Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Kent, S. 1990. Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space: An Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Study. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kristiansen, K., and T.B. Larsson. 2006. The Rise of Bronze Age Society: Travels, Transmissions and Transformations. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lillios, K.T., and V. Tsamis, eds. 2010. Material Mnemonics: Everyday Memory in Prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxbow.

Lucas, G. 2005. The Archaeology of Time. London and New York: Routledge.

Scott, J.C. 1998. Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Sofaer, J.R. 2006. The Body as Material Culture: A Theoretical Osteoarchaeology. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • 1. E.g., Fowler 2004, 2013; Lucas 2005; Sofaer 2006; Jones 2008; Borić 2010; Dietler 2010; Lillios and Tsamis 2010; Giles 2012; Harris 2012; Fernández-Götz 2014.
  • 2. E.g., Borić and Price 2013; Doonan et al. 2014; Garstki et al. 2015.
  • 3. Bradley 1998.
  • 4. Flannery 1972, 2002; Kent 1990.
  • 5. Bateson 1972; Goffman 1986.
  • 6. Bolender 2010.
  • 7. Hamlin 2007.
  • 8. Herzfeld 1985.
  • 9. Harding 2000; Kristiansen and Larsson 2006.
  • 10. Castells 1996.
  • 11. Clastres 1989; Scott 1998.

Out of Order, Out of Time: Interrogating Current Approaches to European Prehistory

By James A. Johnson

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 119, No. 3 (July 2015)

Published online at

DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1193.Johnson

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