Aarhus Universitetsforlag

Excavating the Mind

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348 pages
ISBN 978 87 7934 217 0

Edited by
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With contributions by
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About the book

Excavating the mind deals with the relationship between the material culture of humans, i.e. our technologies, arts and environments, and our mental worlds.

Emphasizing the close interdependence of mind and matter, the volume resonates with current developments within sociology, psychology and the cognitive sciences, yet it aims to supplement the focus on modern, predominantly Western societies and individuals with studies of different cultural contexts and processes in the evolutionary and historical past as well as the ethnographic present.

With contributions from cognitive and social archaeology as well as anthropology, semiotics and the history of religion, the book combines well-illustrated case studies covering a wide chronological and geographic span - from Neolithic Europe to the present-day South Pacific - with incisive discussion of particular theoretical issues in the study of mind and material culture.

Excavating the mind is an original contribution to the multidisciplinary debate on the uniquely human entanglement of complex material cultures and mental worlds.

Table of contents

Debating the mind

Imitation, mirror neurons and material culture

Boxes or creepers? Containments and entanglements of mind and matter

On Being More-Than-One and Doubts About Mind

Linear B as Distributed Cognition. Excavating a Mind not Limited by the Skin

Cultural practice, material reference and the generation of meaning

Meaning in miniature. Semiotic networks in material culture

Of God Stones and Dance Plazas. The Material Meditation of Historical Consciousness

The Hall and the Church during Christianization. Building ideologies and material concepts

In small things remembered. Pottery decoration in Neolithic Southern Italy

Colourful Meaning. Terminology, Abstraction and the Near Eastern Bronze Age

Agency, technology and society

Making daggers and scouting for talents. Situated learning in Late Neolithic Scandinavia

Decision-making and Structuration. A study of minds behind private statues in New Kingdom Egyptian temples

Combined efforts. The cooperation and coordination of barrow-building in the Bronze Age

Literacy. A Tool of Modernity and Community in Vanuatu

Archaeology and the Inanimate Agency Proposition. A critique and a suggestion


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