Fluid Pasts: Archaeology of Flow
Rivers are interminglings of cultural and natural forces. They are artefacts, shaped by human agency and used to shape other things. But flowing water is more than just a passive resource under human control. It is an especially vibrant and partly wild kind of matter - a vital force or energy that influences, resists and acts back on cultural projects. The book examines archaeological evidence for human engagement with flow. From wadis of the arid Near East to meandering streams of more temperate North America, from 'monumental' rivers of ancient China to the looping channels of the Mississippi steamboat era, and from rivers of prehistoric and medieval Britain to those of post-medieval France, evidence emerges of dynamic entanglements of people and rivers.
Flow can reshape the study of landscape and revitalise wetland archaeology. It has the potential to transform the ideas and perspectives brought to bear upon it. The very character of flow, it is argued, prompts us to think differently about the material world, and to develop more dynamic and fluid forms of analysis.
Fluid Pasts: Archaeology of Flow by Matt Edgeworth, published September 2011, Bristol Classical Press (Bloomsbury Academic). Paperback, 155 pages, 21 B&W illustrations, RRP £14.99 / $27.00
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