Accepted Paper:

Quantum archaeology: a user's guide  


Max Adams (University of Newcastle)

Paper short abstract:

This paper argues for a quantum unit of past. Employment of this concept in real-time field archaeology forces on the archaeologist a non-linear, dynamic role in mapping the tolerance of the information universe which we call the past.

Paper long abstract:

In 1987 at Bradford TAG a revolution was called for in placing formation processes at the centre of both field investigation and conceptual ideas of archaeological entities. This revolution has not yet been televised. Archaeological theory-time has passed slowly. Even so, it may be worth pushing towards the next boundary: the quantumisation of archaeological entities and process. In theory and in practice this requires the creation of a unit of past, of a theorisation of archaeological time and the re-positioning of the archaeologist in time. It requires archaeologists to complete the subjectivisation of their practice; it requires them to conduct the single scientific experiment that would justify their claim to being primary witnesses to and custodians of the past. This is not idle fancy. It is neither obscure nor conceptually complex. Nor is it post-processual mutton dressed as lamb. It is the start of the next revolution. But don't bother turning your television on just yet.

Panel S05
The evanescent milkman cometh: archaeologies of obscure complexities, actions, formation and transformation