On the history and theory of narrative in archaeology: a problem sketch

Published: 2010-03-24 | DOI: 10.54799/CYUC9748


The aim of my paper is to introduce the conference theme »The Archaeologist as Narrator« by highlighting some of the associated problems. My assumption is that (prehistoric) archaeologists besides other activities associated with their practice, like excavating, collecting, cataloging, mapping or even experimenting, also have to be regarded as narrators in a wider sense. Archaeologists by means of words (as well as by means of the graphics and pictures they produce) revive the past at least partially in the head of their readers or listeners. Th erefore they arrange fi nds and observations in a certain context and construct plots that make sense of the changes that become visible in the archaeological record. But in which way do archaeologists narrate? Is there a specific form of archaeological narrative besides well established historical and ethnographical modes of narrating? Do archaeological master-narratives even exist? How did the style of archaeological narratives change over times? And is it actually appropriate that archaeologists narrate? Or should they leave it to those who are familiar with it: writers, journalists and historians? These are the questions that will be dealt with briefly in this introductory paper.

How to Cite

Veit, Ulrich. 2010. “On the History and Theory of Narrative in Archaeology: A Problem Sketch”. EAZ – Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift 51 (1/2):10-29. https://doi.org/10.54799/CYUC9748.
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
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