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Title: Towards virtual typology
Authors: Harris, Oliver J. T.
First Published: 2019
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Norwegian Archaeological Review, 2019, In Press
Abstract: To use category names should be a commitment to tracing the assemblages in which these categories gain a momentary hold (Tsing 2015, p. 29) Anna Beck’s paper is a welcome addition to the growing literature on assemblage theory in archaeology. It represents a detailed attempt to think through the implications of this approach for one of the most important areas of archaeological thought: typology. Building on the work of Chris Fowler (2017) and Gavin Lucas (2012) in particular, archaeologists are beginning to show the potential for linking cutting-edge theory with this most intransigent of archaeological concepts. Beck correctly skewers the way in which standard typological thinking rests upon the notion of an ‘ideal type’, the perfect Trelleborg house in her case, and how this representational, Platonic, mode of thinking, traps archaeologists in a limited and closed interpretive loop. As she rightly argues, a move to assemblage theory can help us make room for more complex and powerful descriptions that celebrate the heterogeneity and vibrancy of the past. This can be a world of shifting and mobile becomings, not static, closed off, and essentialised being. Typologies, as both Beck and Fowler (2017, p. 96) argue, are assemblages too.
ISSN: 1502-7678
Links: TBA
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2019, Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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