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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Anarco-archeology, inarcheologies, anarcheology

In Coimbra, during the Epistemologies of the South conference I met Hugo Abalos, an archeologist working in Spain, somewhere in the Pyrenees if I remember correctly. His group excavate the land looking for what the local communities want to find - their issues orient the research. It is a kind of a local archeology, disconnected from national projects and not submitted to a big picture single narrative about human history or how did it all happened since the origins. He calls it anarco-archeology because, I believe, it is not about researching into an arché but rather excavating the floor for what is underneath the exercises of orientation, location and imagination of those who daily step on it. It is indeed something that is much missing in places like Mexico and here in central Brazil where archeological sites are found and then abandoned for they could unveil inconvenient narratives for the official history; something closer to a do-it-yourself, empowering, distributed and plural excavation for the underground. Taking back the underlying narratives, and making them deterritorialize the quickly unified one-world account of the events in the planet. Excavate the floors against the many epistemicides perpetrated in the name of a supposedly common history.

It is interesting to compare his anarco-archeology with my three senses of anarcheology:
1.Anarche-ology: the study of the unruled, the ungoverned, the absence of command and its effects;
2.An-arche-ology: the study of what is groundless and doesn’t have a foundation;
3.An-archeology: the study of versions of the past along with what is taken to be facts.
Abalos' anarco-archeology seems to be closer to the third - although the third always relates to the first two somehow. An-archeology is about not rushing to throw away versions in the name of a unified history of facts. It is about excavating with care - digging holes could be a quick path to epistemicides. Related to that is an-arche-ology which is about not assuming an origin, a common starting point that could serve as a foundation. It is excavating to eventually find the odd, the unfitted, the challenge - something akin to what Ben Woodard calls xenoarcheology, excavating for the alien. Rather, take the surprising and the non-archaic as a what lies underground. An-arche-ology is also excavating for more simulacra, for there is no original, no prototype. It points at a non-ending excavation. There is underground as long as there is a floor.

Anarcheology - and anarco-archeology - is about excavating. I also understand that there could be incavating, something I called (in a piece of paper left in a bottle at Lascaux) inarcheologies. There, it is a matter of creating the past - of bringing up active imagination to implant something on the earth. Just as we do when we grow vegetables by implanting them, affecting the past as it is registered on the floor is to change is operational system. Inarcheology is something we do, in different degrees of intensity, on a regular basis.

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