After Interpretation: Remembering Archaeology


  • Bjørnar Olsen Departement of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, University of Tromsø



archaeological theory, things, material turn


In the light of some significant anniversaries, this pa- per discusses the fate of archaeological theory after the heyday of postprocessualism. While once considered a radical and revolutionary alternative, post- processual or interpretative archaeology remarkably soon became normalized, mainstream and hegem- onic, leading to the theoretical lull that has charac- terized its aftermath. Recently, however, this consen- sual pause has been disrupted by new materialist per- spectives that radically depart from the postproces- sual orthodoxy. Some outcomes of these perspectives are proposed and discussed, the most significant be- ing a return to archaeology – an archaeology that sacrifices the imperatives of historical narratives, so- ciologies, and hermeneutics in favour of a trust in the soiled and ruined things themselves and the memo- ries they afford.


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How to Cite

Olsen, B. (2012) “After Interpretation: Remembering Archaeology”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 20(1), pp. 11–34. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2012.01.