Backdirt Ecopoetics

Kevin Pijpers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, I take an ecopoetic standpoint by attending to those practices that distinguish between dirt and backdirt on field sites. Fabricating this distinction features ongoing and intermittent speculation of dirt/backdirt on a continuum of archaeological value. Rather than positioning this distinction as external to the field site, it is rather a matter of being exposed to the site and exposing it in one and the same movement. A necessary quality of staying with the indeterminacy of this ecopoetic dimension of decision-making includes an embodied wit in contrast to a brainy rationality. Excavating with embodied wit implicates the relational interplay between exposing the landscape through excavating it and yielding to the excavation in the process. The field site is then made knowable by how the touching power of both excavators and field site threads the archaeologically imagined and material worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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