—Marion Dowd, Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland, and author of The Archaeology of Darkness
—Mark Mehrer, Northern Illinois University
How did ancient peoples experience, view, and portray the night? What was it like to live in the past when total nocturnal darkness was the norm? Archaeology of the Night explores the archaeology, anthropology, mythology, iconography, and epigraphy of nocturnal practices and questions the dominant models of daily ancient life. A diverse team of experienced scholars uses a variety of methods and resources to reconstruct how ancient peoples navigated the night and what their associated daily—and nightly—practices were.
This collection challenges modern ideas and misconceptions regarding the night and what darkness and night symbolized in the ancient world, and it highlights the inherent research bias in favor of “daytime” archaeology. Numerous case studies from around the world (including Oman, Mesoamerica, Scandinavia, Rome, Great Zimbabwe, Indus Valley, Peru, and Cahokia) illuminate subversive, social, ritual, domestic, and work activities, such as witchcraft, ceremonies, feasting, sleeping, nocturnal agriculture, and much more. Were there artifacts particularly associated with the night? Authors investigate individuals and groups (both real and mythological) who share a special connection to nighttime life.
Reconsidering the archaeological record, Archaeology of the Night views sites, artifacts, features, and cultures from a unique perspective. This book is relevant to anthropologists and archaeologists and also to scholars of human geography, history, astronomy, sensory studies, human biology, folklore, and mythology.
Contributors: Susan Alt, Anthony F. Aveni, Jane Eva Baxter, Shadreck Chirikure, Minette Church, Jeremy D. Coltman, Margaret Conkey, Tom Dillehay, Christine C. Dixon, Zenobie Garrett, Nancy Gonlin, Kathryn Kamp, Erin Halstad McGuire, Abigail Joy Moffett, Jerry D. Moore, Smiti Nathan, April Nowell, Scott C. Smith, Glenn R. Storey, Meghan Strong, Cynthia Van Gilder, Alexei Vranich, John C. Whittaker, Rita Wright
Check out Nancy Gonlin's TEDx talk on the archaeology of the night: