The archaeological and ethnographic records of the communities among whom we work reveal connections with “nature” and “objects” that go beyond the modern forms we take them for. To “take seriously” these other logics has unleashed theoretical and methodological reflections in the form of, for example, “ontographies” and “multi-species ethnographies.” While “ontographies” point towards the necessity of taking into account the ontological conditions of the native discourse, the character of “multispecies” is that of a methodological disposition that enables a symmetrical approach to all beings revealed as significant to local, material, and contextual relations.

Much research suggests that the “natural” runs through, shatters, and unfolds fractally into models unanticipated within a modern logic: houses, archaeological sites, or food possess similar statuses to plants, animals, hills, or waterfalls. In this sense, we invite participants to consider an openly biotic archaeology in fluid and unstable archaeological contexts that flow and connect like interconnecting vessels. What happens when the object, “the thing” is no longer inert but is rather potent, mutable, and vital? When it pulses upon an immanent ground? This symposium proposes an archaeology that thinks through different the compositions of materiality from vitalisit, symmetrical, posthumanist, phenomenological, and other perspectives, in both contemporary and early contexts. These approaches are not exclusive but rather emerge from a broad range of ways of seeing that approach “the archaeological”  and/or “the material” as something more than – or certainly something different from – an inert and dissectible record or model. We also invite participants to think, from ethnographic and archaeological records, empirical materials conventionally thought of as “natural,” exploring both their relations with “none natural” referents (their “split forms”), as well as considering the relations, meshworks, and webs that run through and constitute them (their origami-like folds). Finally, we invite participants to develop new presentational modes that become necessary to make these approaches intelligible and to bring into effect new modes of research and understanding of the phenomena under study.


key words:

Nature,  objects,  beings,  ontographies,  multispecies.




Bernarda MarconettoUNC-CONICET, Argentina.

Verónica S. LemaCONICET, Argentina.

José Roberto PelliniUFS, Brasil.


symposium commentator.


Benjamín Alberti - Framingham State University