1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology

Edited By Robin Skeates, Jo Day Copyright 2020
    612 Pages 27 Color & 117 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    610 Pages 27 Color & 117 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    610 Pages 27 Color & 117 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Edited by two pioneers in the field of sensory archaeology, this Handbook comprises a key point of reference for the ever-expanding field of sensory archaeology: one that surpasses previous books in this field, both in scope and critical intent.

    This Handbook provides an extensive set of specially commissioned chapters, each of which summarizes and critically reflects on progress made in this dynamic field during the early years of the twenty-first century. The authors identify and discuss the key current concepts and debates of sensory archaeology, providing overviews and commentaries on its methods and its place in interdisciplinary sensual culture studies. Through a set of thematic studies, they explore diverse sensorial practices, contexts and materials, and offer a selection of archaeological case-studies from different parts of the world. In the light of this, the research methods now being brought into the service of sensory archaeology are re-examined.

    Of interest to scholars, students and others with an interest in archaeology around the world, this book will be invaluable to archaeologists and is also of relevance to scholars working in disciplines contributing to sensory studies: aesthetics, anthropology, architecture, art history, communication studies, history (including history of science), geography, literary and cultural studies, material culture studies, museology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.

    List of figures

    List of tables

    List of plates



    1 Sensory archaeology: key concepts and debates

    Robin Skeates and Jo Day


    2 Digging up the sensorium: on the sensory revolution in archaeology

    David Howes


    3 Early theories of sense perception: Greek origins

    Han Baltussen


    4 Doing sensory archaeology: the challenges

    Ruth Tringham and Annie Danis


    5 How does it feel? Phenomenology, excavation and sensory experience: notes for a new ethnographic field practice

    Christopher Tilley


    6 The senses in museums: knowledge production, democratization and indigenization

    Cara Krmpotich

    PART II: SENSORIAL PRACTICES, contexts and materials

    7 Emotion and the senses in archaeology

    Ruth Nugent


    8 Movement, materials and intersubjectivity: insights from western Ireland

    Ryan Lash


    9 Sensing death and experiencing mortuary ritual

    Liv Nilsson Stutz


    10 Environment and the senses

    Andrew Hoaen


    11 Waterfalls and moving waters: the unnatural natural and flows of cosmic forces

    Terje Oestigaard


    12 Darkness and light in the archaeological past: sensory perspectives

    Marion Dowd


    13 The sensory archaeology of textiles

    Susanna Harris


    14 Sensory perception and experience of glass

    Chloë N. Duckworth


    15 Ceremonial architecture and public events

    Takeshi Inomata


    16 Cities and urbanism

    Jeff Veitch


    17 Warfare and the senses: archaeologies of the senses and sensorial archaeologies of recent conflict

    Matthew Leonard and Esther Breithoff


    18 The sensory experiences of food consumption

    Erica Rowan

    PART III: Archaeological Case-studies by period and region

    19 Stealing through the back door: sensory archaeology in the European Mesolithic

    Ben Elliott


    20 Sensory archaeology in Scandinavia and Finland

    Astrid J. Nyland


    21 Sensory Mediterranean prehistory

    Robin Skeates


    22 Sensory approaches to the Aegean Bronze Age

    Jo Day


    23 The sensory world of Mesopotamia

    Augusta McMahon


    24 The sensory worlds of ancient Egypt

    Richard Parkinson


    25 Classical archaeology and the senses: a paradigmatic shift?

    Heather Hunter-Crawley


    26 Experimental archaeology and (re)-experiencing the senses of the medieval


    Brendan O’Neill and Aidan O’Sullivan


    27 Haptic vision: making surface sense of Islamic material culture

    Simon O’Meara


    28 Sensorial experiences in Mesoamerica: existing scholarship and possibilities

    Sarah Newman


    29 Sensory archaeology in the Pueblo Southwest

    Ruth M. Van Dyke


    30 Sensory approaches to the woodland and Mississippian cultures of the Eastern Woodlands of North America

    Corin C.O. Pursell


    31 Sensory archaeology in the Pacific

    Tim Thomas


    32 Afterword: sensory archaeology¿a work in progress

    Robin Skeates and Jo Day




    Robin Skeates is a Professor at Durham University, UK. His research and publications explore a wide variety of themes within the overlapping fields of material, visual and sensual culture studies and museum and heritage studies. He is author of An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta, which combines his specialist interests in sensory archaeology and Central Mediterranean prehistory.

    Jo Day is Assistant Professor in Greek Archaeology and Curator of the Classical Museum at University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland. She edited Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology and continues to research archaeology and the senses, especially relating to the Aegean Bronze Age. She also works on early ceramic technology and ancient foodways.