Archaeology, Memory and Oral Tradition: An Introduction

  • Siân Jones
  • Lynette Russell


This paper serves as an introduction to this special edition of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology on the theme of archaeology, memory and oral history. Recent approaches to oral history and memory destabilise existing grand narratives and confront some of the epistemological assumptions underpinning scientific archaeology. Here we discuss recent approaches to memory and explore their impact on historical archaeology, including the challenges that forms of oral and social memory present to a field traditionally defined by the relationship between material culture and text. We then review a number of themes addressed by the articles in this volume.


Memory Oral history Belonging Narrative Place Heritage 



We would like to thank the WAC-6 organising Committee for the opportunity to put together the original conference theme. We also thank the participants in that theme who are not present in this volume, for their contribution to such a vibrant and productive discussion in Dublin in 2008. We are very grateful to the contributors in this volume for their hard work, ideas and constructive responses to our editorial requests. We would also like to thank them for their collaboration in the peer review process. Finally, we would like to thank Rose Butler for editorial assistance, and Chuck Orser for his enthusiasm and encouragement.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeology, SAHC, Mansfield Cooper Building, Rm 3.17University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow 2011-2016, Monash Indigenous Centre, School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous StudiesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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