Tilling Nature - Harvesting Culture. Exploring Images of the Human Being in the Transition to Agriculture.

Elisabeth Rudebeck

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Archaeology is about human beings – in the present and in the past. When we concern ourselves with archaeology we have to imagine prehistoric human beings thinking, feeling and acting. This imagining is the very precondition for the creation of meaning from the fragments and traces of human lives that we choose as our data. What kind of images of human beings do we create through the writing and reading of archaeological texts? From where do these images come? How are they created, and what implications do they have for our understanding of the past – and of the present? This study is devoted to these and other related questions.

The questions are focused on a specific archaeological problem: the origins of agriculture. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is the most mythically charged theme in Western archaeology. Agricultural origins concerns Western identity. During the last two or three centuries, countries in the Western world have been transformed from agricultural societies to modern industrialised societies. The nostalgia for disappearing life-styles and contemporary concerns with environmental issues are probably the most important reasons for the vast archaeological interest in agricultural origins during the twentieth century.

This work investigates how the origins of agriculture has been defined, debated, deconstructed, restated, renamed and revived. The intention is to yield insights into the relation between images of the present, images of the past and images of the human being.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Archaeology
  • Olausson, Deborah, Supervisor
Award date2000 May 25
ISBN (Print)91-22-01872-7
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-05-25
Time: 13:15
Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hodder, Ian
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Stanford


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Archaeology

Free keywords

  • archaeological theory
  • origins of agriculture
  • gender
  • primitivism
  • human nature
  • modernism
  • Archaeology
  • Arkeologi


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