How do caves act?

in Neolithic cave burials
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This chapter addresses the question of what the agency of non-animate objects might imply for the study. It begins by discussing early archaeological applications of the ideas of Giddens and Bourdieu. It then moves on to discuss anthropological ideas about the agency of non-humans, in particular Ingold’s dwelling perspective and the idea of the taskscape. It suggests that the agency of inanimate objects has been conceptualised in two different ways. Gell’s ‘secondary agency’ is compared with Latour’s ‘actor-network theory’. These approaches are situated more broadly within developing Post-humanist interpretations of object agency. Understandings of time and temporality are also discussed within the same framework. The chapter follows Gell in using the distinction between A and B-series time to construct an account of time experience based on the material world. B-series time is held to be a map of temporally ordered events. Material narratives of time and object biographies are shown to be central to this process; of particular importance is the way that changes to objects and places index the passage of time.

Neolithic cave burials

Agency, structure and environment

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