Neolithic tells and archaeological narratives – uncovering 6th millennium Makri in Greek Thrace
Nikos Efstratiou In S. Hansen (ed.), Leben auf dem Tell als soziale Praxis, Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums in Berlin vom 26.-27. Februar 2007 (Bonn 2010): 45-54
From the introduction
Over the past fifteen years, field investigations at the Neolithic tell of Makri on the coast of Thrace have never been a straightforward process for me, neither regarding the methodological choices employed nor the archaeological interpretations ventured. On the contrary, it was the focal point of what I would like to believe is a continuous and conscious awareness of the difficulties we face every time we are confronted with archaeological reconstructions of any kind and scale. However, there are two aspects, which I must admit I was uneasy about: firstly, the disarming momentum of our archaeological practice (training), which leads us almost reflexively to apply a specific ‘protocol’ of field research, the repercussions of which are decisive and perhaps unforeseen for the final outcome of our efforts; and secondly, the devoid or at least deficient nature of our attempts to describe and reconstruct the past. Both sources of uneasiness can easily be taken as being caprice or banal in the sense that they tend to describe nothing else but our discipline’s well-known frailty, in which case this paper could be considered irrelevant or naive. But I will ask you to consider for once the possibility that there is more to what you will hear than a disillusionment about – as archaeologists –‘what we do’, ‘how we do it’, and ‘where we have ended up’. Let me also make clear that what is at stake here is the archaeological material itself and its potentiality to describe the past in a coherent way.