A couple of interesting new books have recently come out, Gavin Lucas’ Understanding the Archaeological Record, and Archaeology: The Discipline of Things by Bjørnar Olsen, Michael Shanks, Timothy Webmoor, and Christopher Witmore (eds.). These both, especially Olsen et al., concentrate particularly on things and archaeology after the so-called material turn.
Olsen’s In Defense of Things came out in 2010 and Hodder’s Entangled came out earlier this year. So it has been busy on the thing-oriented front in archaeology recently. This is a good thing and I hope to see more interesting books coming out. Books are a great place to present archaeological theory, which often requires a great amount of pages to elaborate.
I am only ten pages into Olsen et al. (as well as Lucas’s book) but already it looks very good. In philosophical terms it seems to issue the themes Hodder’s Entangled for example fell short of, although this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading Entangled. It is an important book. Anyway, Entangled, Understanding the Archaeological Record, and Archaeology: The Discipline of Things are probably the three most interesting books to come out this year, although I have not yet even seen Archaeology in the Making (Rathje et al. 2012), which should be interesting. And there’s also one more book that I have to check out as soon as it comes out: A Philosophy of Material Culture: Action, Function, and Mind.