The present study adopts a reflexive, critical stance in examining the premises underlying the conference session and, by extension, those underlying archaeology as a discipline. The role played by excavation in archaeology both today and historically underlines a wide variety of and changing perceptions about the goals and even the definition of what ‘archaeology’ is, while bringing our effectiveness at achieving those goals into question.
(Online publication April 21 2011)
Geoff Carver has excavated for state services, university departments and private companies in Canada, England, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel and the USA. The proceedings of a series of sessions on field methods that he organized for EAA and UISPP conferences were published by BAR under the title Digging in the dirt (2004). He has also published papers on archaeological information systems (AIS), soil colour, the epistemological basis of archaeological documentation (especially the interplay between documentation media and stratigraphic theory), modelling post-depositional transformations to the archaeological assemblage, the problems in applying reflexive methods in certain on-site divisions of labour, and so on. After studying for a Ph.D. in archaeology and GIS, he has been working mostly as a CAD technician.