Ending the war on error: Towards an archaeology of failure

Max Price, Yitzchak Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Failure is a fundamental part of the human condition. While archaeologists readily identify large-scale failures, such as societal collapse and site abandonment, they less frequently consider the smaller failures of everyday life: the burning of a meal or planning errors during construction. Here, the authors argue that evidence for these smaller failures is abundant in the archaeological record but often ignored or omitted in interpretations. Closer examination of such evidence permits a more nuanced understanding both of the mundane and the larger-scale failures of the human past. Excluding failure from the interpretative toolbox obscures the reconstruction of past lives and is tantamount to denying the humanity of past peoples.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1598-1606
Number of pages9
JournalAntiquity
Volume97
Issue number396
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • agency
  • archaeological reasoning
  • error
  • failure
  • intentionality
  • ritual
  • scale

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Archaeology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ending the war on error: Towards an archaeology of failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this