The aesthetics of depositional practice

CJ Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


An archaeology of aesthetics can be more than a study of past artistic evaluation. It can be extended to encompass an understanding of styles of action considered proper and efficacious, and which drew in a knowledgeable and skilful fashion on specific understandings of the world and the order of things. Through the detail of selected depositional contexts in the British Neolithic, it is shown how the deliberate burial of artefacts and other materials was undertaken with such forms of aesthetic value in mind. In an 'aesthetics of deposition', a perception of effectiveness was intimately related to the effort and care expended upon the appropriate selection, arrangement and burial of things. While individual objects may not in themselves have been ascribed an aesthetic quality, their bringing together and arrangement in burial did serve to create aesthetic effects. In a post-Duchampian tradition they could even be seen as artworks.
Translated title of the contributionThe aesthetics of depositional practice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315 - 333
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Archaeology
Volume33 (2)
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge


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