Looking with both eyes. Comments to Håkon Glørstad "Where are the Missing Boats? The Pioneer Settlement of Norway as Long-Term History"
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNorwegian Archaeological Review. 2013, 46 (1), 83-87. 10.1080/00293652.2013.777101
Glørstad introduces his paper with a joke that ridicules searching for your keys in the illuminated areas only. After reading the paper one may wonder if he missed the point of his own joke. Anyway, it seems just as unwise to restrict your search to the dark areas – keys may also be found in the illuminated areas. Why deprive yourself of tools that are specially designed to shed light on the dark areas, that focus and enhance the subtle connections inherent in the archaeological record? Why shut out the light of a wide world of ethnographical information that may contextualize functions and capabilities concerning how things may have worked in a past reality that decided life or death for our early settlers? Why try to see the archaeological record with one eye only? Boats may be traced in a multitude of internal relations between the positioning of settlements, lithic assemblages, ambient conditions, landscape and seascape. It is our challenge to inject contrasting fluid into this network; to trace, explore and interpret the connections that emerge. This will reveal things that are no longer visible to the naked eye – like boats – not only their presence, but also information about character, function and capabilities.