Archaeologies of the Heart

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review


How might we classify Archaeologies of the Heart? It would seem to be the duty of a reviewer to classify the work being reviewed, so readers can say ‘This articulates with my work’ or ‘This is not relevant to me’. Given this responsibility, what is an archaeology of the heart? Is it community archaeology? There are many examples of community archaeology, but it is more than this. Postcolonial archaeology? Kind of, but as John Welch and Meg Conkey point out, there is no such thing as postcolonial. Perhaps this book is a form of Indigenous archaeology? Maybe. Certainly, many of the chapters are grounded in Indigenous archaeological theory and a majority involve Indigenous communities. Is it feminist archaeology? Sort of. Many of the papers are informed by feminist models of research, inviting us to draw on our emotional selves. Perhaps it is an archaeology of emotion, or a form of engaged archaeology? Sure. There is plenty of emotion, plenty of engagement, but it is more than this as well. Archaeologies of the Heart is all these archaeologies but also something else, something new. Long ago, I was at a conference at the University of New England, Armidale, called ‘Archaeology in the early 1990s’. It was attended by eminent archaeologist Mark Leone who described it as ‘a bit like being at a religious meeting’. That conference was part of the emergent movement of Indigenous archaeology, defined by Nicholas and Andrews (1997:3) as ‘archaeology done with, for, and by Indigenous peoples’. Archaeologies of the Heart has that same feeling. It defines and precipitates an important turning point. As such, it stands to be a seminal and paradigm-shifting contribution to archaeology. Archaeologies of the Heart should be read by all archaeologists, whether they are on the humanistic or natural science end of the archaeological spectrum.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationAustralian Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • social justice
  • ethical globalisation
  • cultura heritage
  • Indigenous archaeologies


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