My main theoretical interests lie in semiotic archaeology, and
archaeologies of death and the body. I work in historical archaeology and the
archaeology of the contemporary past, focusing particularly on nodes of
controversy where conflicting sets of beliefs and practices converge. In
particular, I am interested in the ways in which negotiations and conflict
between actors are mediated through material conditions. To fully understand
the extent to which archaeology may analyze such conditions I work with two
radically different areas of research.
My research in Madagascar is concerned with archaeologies of encounter in the
highlands. One aspect of this research traces the introduction of
Protestant Christianity into Madagascar by British missionaries at the start of
the 19th century. Here I focus on the potential dislocation that was
experienced when one way of living, learned through a lifetime’s experience
within specific material and social conditions, was challenged in a
confrontation with a radically different understanding of how to act
effectively and morally, the ways in which people attempted to resolve and make
sense of this dislocation, and the new and unanticipated formations that were
created as a result. I am currently completing a book which explores the
semiotics of encounters in highland Madagascar, provisionally entitled:
‘Encounters with Ancestors: archaeologies of recognition and loss in highland
Forensic Archaeology and Charles
Sanders Peirce’s Semeiotic
My second area of research focuses on the production of the excavated body.
Here I draw on the semeiotic of C. S. Peirce to explore the signs of the body
and of exhumation, considering how archaeologists constitute themselves and
others through embodied material engagement with the world. Through exploring
the language and orientation of forensic archaeology towards the excavation of
human remains, this research works towards a fuller appreciation of the
situated and material semiotic relationships through which archaeology is
composed, in order to better understand how we construct meaning from excavated
2011 (in press). A Fine and Private Place: The Archaeology of Death
and Burial in Post-medieval Britain and Ireland. A. Cherryson, Z. Crossland
and S. Tarlow (co-authors). Leicester: University of Leicester Archaeological
2012 (in press). The signs of mission: rethinking
archaeologies of representation. In Materializing Colonial Encounters:
Archaeologies of African Experience. F. Richard and D Cruz (eds). Duke
2011 (in press). Archaeology of warfare and conflict. In The Oxford
Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, R. McLean and T.
Insoll, eds. Oxford University Press.
2010. Materiality and embodiment. In The Oxford Handbook of Material
Culture Studies (Ms No. 19). D. Hicks and M. Beaudry, (eds), pp. 386-405.
Oxford University Press.
2009. Of clues and signs: the dead body and its evidential traces. American
2009. Acts of estrangement: the making of self and other through
exhumation. Archaeological Dialogues 16(1):102-125.
2008. Z. Crossland, M. Freeman, P. Jones and B. Boyd. The
Llanbadarn Fawr ‘gravestone urn’: an object history. In Monuments in the
Landscape. P. Rainbird (ed), pp. 212-227. Windgather Press.
2006 Landscape and mission in Madagascar and Wales in the early 19th
century: ‘Sowing the seeds of knowledge’. Landscapes 7(1): 93-121.
2003 Towards an archaeology of ‘empty’ space: the efitra of the
Middle West of Madagascar. Michigan Discussions in Anthropology, 14:
2002 Violent spaces: conflict over the reappearance of Argentina’s
disappeared. In The Archaeology of 20th Century Conflict, J. Schofield,
C. Beck, and W. G. Johnson (eds), pp. 115-131. One World Archaeology, London:
2001 Time and the ancestors: landscape survey in the Andrantsay region of
Madagascar. Antiquity 75(290): 825-836.
2000 Buried lives: forensic archaeology and Argentina’s disappeared. Archaeological
Dialogues, 7(2): 146-159.
Back to Top