Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The dwelling perspective : Heidegger, archaeology, and the Palaeolithic origins of human mortality
Author: Tonner, Philip
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This interdisciplinary thesis is about dwelling, both as a method in archaeology and as a mode of existence. My thesis has two principal aims. Firstly, to explore the 'dwelling perspective' as this has been outlined in recent archaeological theory. This will involve discussion of phenomenological philosophy and the figure of Martin Heidegger. The term 'dwelling' is a technical one originating in Heidegger's philosophy of being. Phenomenology has been making inroads into archaeological theory as a consequence of the interpretive turn of the 1980s. The theoretical commitment of this thesis is that phenomenological inquiry is a useful project in archaeological research. Reflexive archaeological research in the present might articulate and confirm certain phenomenological dimensions of present experience so as to inform and enhance our understanding of the past. Secondly, I discuss the notion of dwelling in the existential sense as a mode of existence in terms that might allow us to deploy this concept in Palaeolithic archaeology, with specific reference to mortuary practice and "art". I propose two case studies in order to explore this. Firstly, mortuary practice and existential awareness of death will be explored with reference to the site of the Sima de los Huesos. Secondly, Heidegger's notion of artistic production as a world-opening event will be explored in relation to Upper Palaeolithic art in caves. The focus on mortuary practice and art is not arbitrary: both are central planks of Heidegger's account of dwelling and both are linked by 'heterotopic' space. Heidegger presented a novel account of human existence as 'Dasein'. Dasein is being-in-the-world and being-in-the-world is unified by what Heidegger called 'care' (Sorge). Heidegger's account of Dasein remains anthropocentric: I argue that we should move away from Heidegger's own anthropocentric view of being-in-the-world, dwelling or care toward a phenomenological archaeology that goes 'beyond the human'. I argue that care or dwelling is evidenced by the archaeological record of human becoming and that our ancestors 'cared for' or 'dwelled with' their dead. Care is evidenced by appropriating the world and by looking after compatriots within the world, and I argue that such an existential state had been reached before the advent of the Upper Palaeolithic. I argue that Upper Palaeolithic "art" opened up a hunter-gatherer world that enabled others, including animal others, and objects, to become meaningful to groups of Daseins, and so to become part of particular "dwelling places". Heidegger remains the key theorist of dwelling but his anthropocentrism should be abandoned. Suitably revised, Heidegger's account of dwelling will provoke us to look at Palaeolithic archaeology from a fresh perspective.
Supervisor: Gosden, Chris ; Lock, Gary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Phenomenology ; Dwellings--Philosophy ; Archaeology--Philosophy ; Place (Philosophy) ; Paleolithic period ; Cave paintings