Social Archaeology

Social Archaeology

Prof. Dr. Martin Furholt | Tel.: 880.3372 | Room: 150 | Current lectures (UnivIS)

 

There are widespread, often repeated narratives about the social organization of past societies, about past motivations, ‘human nature’, specific forms of ‘rational behaviour’, supposedly governing prehistory. These are usually not the result of an actual study of the past, but rather projections of our own prejudices into prehistory and history. Social Archaeology represents a research program that aims at bringing the archaeological record back into our understanding of Prehistory, and it does so by bringing together archaeological data with social theory, and anthropological knowledge.

Social Archaeology explores the ways in which prehistoric and historic people interacted, how mutual aid, sharing, collaboration, competition and conflict governed social relations, how people organized their communities, what social groups or factions existed, how collective decisions were made, who held political power and on what this power was based, what institutions existed and how they were upheld, how social space was constructed and what role it played, it investigates the changing properties of social networks and central locations. Social Archaeology examines past concepts and practices underlying kinship and gender, how values and identities were formed and maintained. Social Archaeology is interested in past ontologies and worldviews, and their relation to ritual, magical, and religious practices, it examines the relation between ideologies and modes of material production and exchange.