Material Culture and Text: The Art of Ambiguity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Material Culture and Text

The Art of Ambiguity, 1st Edition

By Christopher Tilley


206 pages

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Originally published in 1991, this is the first book-length exploration of post-structuralist discourse theory in archaeology. It tackles the most basic problem of historical and archaeological analysis - the relationship between text and artefact – in an analysis of prehistoric art fusing theory and the practice of interpretation to create a fresh framework for understanding the relationship between past and present. Focusing on a collection of rock carvings from northern Sweden, the author shows how alternative conceptualizations of the material from structuralist, hermeneutic and structural-Marxist frameworks substantially alter our understanding of their meaning and significance. Engaging readers in an interpretive process, this book is for specialists in archaeology, anthropology, art history and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

Preface Part 1: Reading a Material Text 1. Motifs and Rapids 2. Nämforsen Through the Eyes of Hallström 3. Locating a Grammar 4. Why Nämforsen? 5. Design Form 6. Mobile Space, Arrested Time 7. Related Texts Part 2: Mediating the Text 8. A Structural Logic 9. An Hermeneutics of Meaning 10. An Analytics of Power 11. Conclusions

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Archaeology

Reissuing works originally published between 1930 and 1996, this set presents a rich selection of renowned and lesser-known scholarship across the subject. Classic previously out-of-print works are brought back into print here in this set of research, guidance and surveys. It includes works of theory and of practical research, ranging over a wide range of themes from archaeology and place-names to industrial archaeology to the rock art of Africa.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology