The literature on the archaeology of emotion and affect is mostly quite recent and is not extensive. This review considers the main lines of approach taken so far and explores how different understandings of what constitutes an emotion underlie the work of archaeologists in this area. A distinction is made between past emotion as a subject of study and examination of the emotional subjectivity of the archaeologist as a method. The potential contribution of archaeology to emotion studies in the future includes bringing a sense of contextual historicity to the discussion and developing our knowledge of how material things and places are involved in shaping and expressing emotion. Inspired by some historians of emotion, a focus on shared emotional meanings, values, and codes seems a more productive direction than the exploration of idiosyncratic personal emotional experience.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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