Concepts of Time in Quaternary Prehistory
Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 12: 165-192 (Volume publication date October 1983)
Geoff N. Bailey
In lieu of an abstract, the publisher reproduces the first page of the article. (Link)

Letters to My Tutor…

My dearest Simone,

Reading this article I was most drawn to wanting to read more on the thinking concerning the relationship between study of the past and the study of present. Bailey writes that “on the one hand is the view that the past should be explained in terms of the present … and made relevant to present-day social concerns. On the other hand is the view that the present should be explained in terms of the past, that the study of the past should be in terms of large-scale historical processes not obviously visible to the individual observer in a contemporary setting, processes which to some extent determine the present situation.” The history professor who most influenced my thinking was partial to the latter view. I feel partial to Bailey’s statement that the two views do not have to be seen as mutually exclusive, but rather they can be seen as based on interrelated concepts of time.

In a most casual search on the subject matter of this article, I quickly came upon at least three other articles I would like to read. They seemed like that would further enhance my understanding of the discussion of time as it relates to archaeology and give additional guidance as to further reading:

Time Perspectivism, Temporal Dynamics, and Battlefield Archaeology: A Case Study from the Santiago Campaign of 1898” by William E. Altizer

Temporal Insanity: Woodland Archaeology and the Construction of Valid Chronologies” by Erin C. Dempsey

Rethinking the great divide: long-term structural history and the temporality of event” by Jan Harding (opens a download window)

So far I’ve only given a cursory glance at them and I partly want to link to them here so that I will remember to go back to them.

Today I’ve been thinking again about how confronting death affects thinking about time.  Do Americans become more deterministic in their thinking about time when confronted with death … do we lean toward a thinking that there are processes at work that explain why a death occurred at a particular time?   A police officer acquaintance and former classmate of mine was shot and killed on the job over the weekend.  In more recent times I had reconnected with him on Facebook and we had chatted a couple times.   Chatting with him was such a special comfort to me in that his style of speaking and use of language brought a welcomed familiarity.  I was reminded that flowery romanticism in everyday conversation was just more commonplace in the Mississippi Delta (and the South in general) than other parts of the U.S.  Upon hearing of his death, I still had browser windows opened for articles he had linked to on Facebook and thoughts of speaking with him again were heavy in my mind.  When someone posted a picture of him on Facebook yesterday, I thought it was to show his recent fitness results.  But today there were messages of condolence from mutual friends.  I still don’t feel comfortable leaving Facebook condolences, but I’ve wondered how Facebook may be influencing the way we grieve and communicate with each other about death.

Many warm thoughts of you,