An Archaeology of Care at the Society for Historical Archaeology

Richard Rothaus and I have been bandied about the idea of an “archaeology of care” for a couple years now. Richard’s contribution to our 2014 Punk Archaeology volume probably prompted this discussion, and it developed more fully in a blog post, our podcast, and an article for the North Dakota Humanities Council’s On Second Thought magazine (read it here). 

The paper will appear in a panel titled: “The Archaeology of Care: Rethinking Priorities in Archaeological Engagement.” And our buddy Kostis Kourelis has submitted an abstract for a paper titled: “The Archaeology of Refugee Crises in Greece: Diachronic Cultural Landscapes.” Read his abstract here.

An Archaeology of Care in the Bakken Oil Patch (North Dakota, USA)
Richard Rothaus, William Caraher, Bret Weber

The University of North Dakota Man Camp project has used archaeology to engage seriously the issues of workforce housing and industrial landscapes in the Bakken. Our work proceeds with a focus not on the ebullience (or catastrophe) of the Bakken, but rather on the material culture of housing in a dynamic extractive landscape. We do not advocate, nor do we analyze or make policy recommendations. Our work in the field epitomizes, however, an archaeology of care for the communities in which we work. Our conversations in the field, attention to detail, and willingness to take seriously the everyday life of individuals and communities creates a connection between the wider world (which we represent, oddly enough) and their very personal experience. Our recognition of, and interest in, the agency of individuals buffered by incomprehensibly large forces has value for the academic and non-academic communities.

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