On the Edge of Metamodernity? Archaeology after Postmodernism

Heitz, Caroline Franziska (21 February 2020). On the Edge of Metamodernity? Archaeology after Postmodernism (Unpublished). In: Philosophy of Archaeology, A ROOTS Reflective Turn Symposium. Kiel University. 20. – 21.02.2020.

Archaeology is currently experiencing fundamental transformations as a discipline, accompanied by yet another paradigm shift – addressed by some as processualism 2.0. While processual archaeology drew on modernity’s realism, it was postmodernity’s relativism that informed postprocessual archaeology. However, recent epistemological developments like the ontological, material, science and digital turn might lead archaeology beyond anthropocentrism and idealism challenging the postmodern thought: There is a danger of turning (back) to naive realism and (new) processualism. Furthermore, the combining of qualitative and quantitative methods from science and humanities might bear the problem of mixing contradicting epistemological stances. Taking a broader perspective, the postmodernism as a whole seems to be losing traction: Current challenges like the financial and refugee crises, environmental pollution, global warming, artificial intelligence (AI) are leading to an intensified examination of the real beyond the subjective. With reference to art and culture, it was proposed that such real-world problems led to the dawn of a new era: Metamo-dernity. Metamodernism is characterised by the oscillation between the real and the fictional, the modern and the postmodern, materialism and idealism, relativism and realism. Although such a provocative view might be contentious, its synthetic tendency is intriguing. How could archaeology deal with these different stances without getting caught up in contradictions? I propose to draw on what I call ‚third way epistemologies‘ that have so far received little attention in our discipline in order to explore their potential for metamodern archaeology

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences > Pre- and Early History

UniBE Contributor:

Heitz, Caroline Franziska


900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)




Caroline Franziska Heitz

Date Deposited:

26 Feb 2021 07:27

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:47

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Archaeology, Metamodernism, Postmodernism, Modernism, Paradigms



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