Archaeology and the Future
The Future as a Research Subject in Archaeology
The future has seldom been an object of archaeological study even though there are some very profound and deep-reaching links between past, present, and future (Holtorf and Högberg 2015; Högberg et al. 2017). In particular, archaeologists and others dealing with the archaeological past are negotiating the future in two ways. On the one hand, they are studying long-term change. Patrick V. Kirch, for example, suggested once that an archaeology of prehistoric global change investigating the effects of uncontrolled human population growth on environmental degradation ultimately leading to sociopolitical crises can make a contribution “to the future of this planet” (Kirch 2004: 23). The historian Daniel Lord Smail used a long-term perspective of prehistoric human evolution to discuss the deep history of the human brain and its past, present, and future in order to discern what is fundamentally human today and how this understanding might be...
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