Posted by: Johan Normark | November 29, 2009

A brief update

On Wednesday morning I took an early train to Stockholm to meet up with Stephen Houston who had been invited to Stockholm University. He held an interesting lecture on the visible and the invisible (but sensed) in Classic Maya art and architecture. On Thursday he was the discussant on a workshop that the PAG-group had put together (on the “archaeology of the senses”). After the workshop we went to restaurant Gondolen. On Friday five of us went on an excursion in the area around Enköping and Uppsala and saw two causeways, some rock carvings, and mounds. I returned to Göteborg just before midnight.



  1. Here is my update:

    I spent the day reading a shit-ton of articles about the possibilities of finding “ethnicity” in archaeology.

    One of the main issues I have is that there seems to be many cases in which the conceptual and analytical category (ethnicity) is conflated with the social processes it attempts to locate/describe.

    I am not very optimistic about the possibilities of finding ethnicity archaeologically, mostly because the whole idea is so amorphous. Since ethnicity is such a shifty and contingent category today, I am not sure how possible it is to “find” it in the archaeological record–at least not in any definitive way.

    Another fun day in grad-school land,


  2. I have produced two articles on ethnicity and my conclusion is similar to yours. We cannot find ethnicity in the archaeological record. Even the term itself is relatively new. Just remember that not long ago people talked about the Maya as a race (this is still the case among the 2012ers and perhaps non-anthropologists). Race and ethnicity are far from the same categories. I am sure we will come up with some other categorization before the end of days.


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