Materiality of Time & Theoretical Archaeology

Nathalie Gontier will participate in the Symposium on Materiality of Time: Phenomenology and its Place in Archaeology, organized by Donald Crystal and Stefan Schmidt for the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference. Cordial thanks to the organizers as well as to the editors of the journal Time & Mind for featuring a special section!

Cardiff University, December 18th, 2017

Symposium on Materiality of Time: Phenomenology and its Place in Archaeology

Organized by Donald Crystal and Stefan Schmidt


In the past two decades, phenomenology has enjoyed its use within archaeological theory. This vein of inquiry saw its most fruitful deployment within the archaeology of Neolithic Britain during the mid to late 90s. Yet, since its translation into archaeological practice, the question of time has seldom been addressed within the wider archaeological-phenomenological debate. The concept of time is, however, widely discussed within philosophical phenomenology. Philosophically, it provides a framework for understanding the merits of corporeally ‘being-there’ and the creation of place through human praxis. The marginalization of time (both modern and ancient perception of it) in archaeological theory is arguably a misinterpretation and distortion of philosophical phenomenology by archaeologists. Time is the axiom which all actions obey, yet the experience of time is subject to our consciousness as well as to our corporeal experience. In a sense, a reassessment of the relevancy of phenomenology and time in archaeology seeks to place human existential experience back into the human past. There shall be two main focuses within the session: The first will be on the link between time and “geographical experience,” which describes the reciprocal process of human-environment interactions; the second will seek to demonstrate the interconnectedness between, what Ricoeur (1985) termed cosmological and phenomenological aspects of time, using archaeology.


Donald Crystal and Steffan Schmidt - Introduction

Stefan Schmidt - Materiality of Time and Temporality of Place

Donald Crystal - Postphenomenology and Time

Jack Robert Coopey - Hourglass Dawns

Nathalie Gontier - A Cosmological and Cosmographic History of Time

Andrew Watson - Phenomenology in the Present Day: Can it really enhance the archaeological record?

Ana G. San-Martin - Times the Living Make the Dead Live

David Fine - Against Instance: Proposing a radical epistemology of times


The journal Time & Mind featured a special section on the symposium in 2018 (Volume 3, Issue 11).

Download Nathalie Gontier's paper on Cosmological and phenomenological transitions into how humans conceptualize and experience time.

Copyright AppEEL 2012