An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta

ISBN : 9780199216604

Robin Skeates
304 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Sep 2010
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Despite the fundamental importance of the senses in human experience, archaeologists have, until recently, tended to neglect the abundant sensory dimensions of the material world they investigate, with the exception of the sense of sight, which has dominated archaeological theory and practice. In this book Robin Skeates establishes a well-defined methodology for an archaeology of the senses, produces a challenging new interpretative synthesis of Maltese prehistoric archaeology, and provides a rich archaeological case-study for the emergent interdisciplinary field of sensual culture studies. Using the combined methods of reflexivity, inventory, experimentation, thick description, and creative writing, Skeates explores the senses of sight, sound, smell and taste, touch, spatiality, the emotions, and their synaesthesthic interplay. Over space, three particular types of sensory domain are considered in detail within the wider context of the Maltese islandscape: dwelling places, monumental buildings, and the underworld. And over time the character, dynamism, and diversity of the successive sensual cultures of prehistoric Malta are defined.


1. Introduction: Towards an Archaeology of the Senses
2. The Senses Restrained
3. The Maltese Sensescape
4. Dwelling Places
5. Monumental Buildings
6. The Underworld
7. Conclusion: Making Sense of Prehistoric Malta

About the author: 

Robin Skeates, Reader in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University

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