Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 1671–1676 | Cite as

Geology/archaeology in action: a personal perspective

  • Michael ChazanEmail author
Original Paper


This article uses Bruno Latour’s concept of Science in Action to consider the relationship between archaeology and geology. It is argued that neither the New Archaeology nor Postprocessual Archaeology provides a strong foundation for dialogue between archaeology and geology. Significant differences in temporal scale and structure pose a significant hurdle to integration of geology and archaeology. However, the practice of both disciplines is characterized by an internal tension between the use of imagination and intuition versus a reliance on data. This dynamic provides the basis for cooperation between geology and archaeology, but it must be realized that collaboration requires that geologists be seen as equal partners in inquiry rather than as specialists in service of an archaeological research agenda.


Geology Archaeology Geoarchaeology Imagination Abductive reasoning 



Many thanks to Christopher Miller, Nicholas Conard and Paul Goldberg for including me in the Tubingen meeting and for feedback on drafts of this article and also to the two reviewers who offered challenging perspectives that allowed me an opportunity to clarify the ideas presented here. I would also like to thank the patient archaeologists and geologists who have worked with me over the years.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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