Institute of Archaeology

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First for Archaeology in UK 2015

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Mundane objects: materiality and non-verbal communication

6 December 2012

Mundane objects: materiality and non-verbal communication by Pierre Lemonnier

A further volume in the series on Critical Cultural Heritage, published by Left Coast Press, with Beverley Butler as Series Editor, is now available. 

Pierre Lemonnier's volume on Mundane objects: materiality and non-verbal communication demonstrates the importance of objects that, despite their 'ordinariness', lie at the heart of their makers’ and users’ systems of thought and practices. Some objects, Lemonnier argues, can wordlessly express the inexpressible fundamental aspects of a way of living and thinking in both ritual and non-ritual situations. By studying mundane technical activities such as fence building, creating models cars or trapping fish, we often gain a better understanding of what these objects mean and how they work within their cultures of origin.

This concise book will interest all those who see the intertwining of ‘function’ and ‘style’ as the very mark of all cultural behaviour: anthropologists and archaeologists; sociologists, historians, philosophers, cognitive anthropologists and primatologists.

Pierre Lemonnier is a Director of research at the CNRS (Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie, Aix-Marseille-Université, France). He conducted repeated field research from 1978 to 1982 among the various Anga people of Papua New Guinea and has worked on numerous topics including war and peace-making, and the anthropology of technology.

The acclaimed Critical Cultural Heritage series seeks to develop the intellectual and theoretical underpinnings of the growing field of heritage studies.