Histories of Labor in Archaeology

Histories of Labor in Archaeology lead image

Histories of Labor in Archaeology, special issue of the Bulletin of the History of Archaeology

Archaeology is work. The products of this work—from artifacts and ecofacts to reports and publications—depend on the physical labor of employees, students, volunteers, and communities (local, descendant, and/or Indigenous). These workers’ participation in the archaeological process generally remains implicit, unacknowledged, or silenced.

Recent scholarship, however, valorizes workers’ knowledge and explores how to incorporate worker perspectives on archaeological sites. Other work builds on the foundations of Indigenous archaeology, incorporating workers as stakeholders in the interpretation of the past. However, archaeological labor is rarely studied in its specificity.

For this special issue of the Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, we solicit papers that focus on archaeological labor and laborers in historical perspective. We are interested in addressing questions that include, but are not limited to:

  • How has labor been acknowledged—or silenced—in past archaeological projects? With what effects?
  • How have dynamics of age, race, class, disability, gender and other dimensions of identity intersected with workers’ participation in past archaeological projects?
  • How have workers organized themselves and/or unionized? Around what issues? To what ends, and with what results?
  • How have labor conditions including—but not limited to—training procedures, payment, safety, legal systems, and worker management impacted the production of archaeological knowledge?
  • What cultural productions have developed around archaeological labor?
  • What theoretical perspectives and methods enrich the study of archaeological labor in historical context?

We are especially—but not exclusively—interested in work by contingent scholars, early-career researchers, and authors from the Global South, with diverse regions of study.

Interested authors may submit abstracts by November 15th, 2022. Those selected for the issue will be notified in early 2023, and full papers will be due by April 1st, 2023.

The Bulletin of the History of Archaeology (BHA) was inaugurated over 20 years ago as a forum to exchange research, information on on-going projects, and resources devoted to a growing interest in the histories of archaeology.