In a wholly new way, this book introduces the present-day social world of western Ethiopia and its borders with Sudan. Alfredo Gonzalez-Ruibal brings an archaeologist's eye to the region's mix of linguistic and cultural 'remnants' and gives them new life and relevance. He captures the peoples' own sense of having existed variously alongside, against, and within the Ethiopian state - which in some cases has been for millennia. Through focusing on those styles of material culture and embodied life which go with matters of language, identity, and an effort to maintain equality in human relations, the author shows how this 'shatterzone' should be understood as a coherent region with its own deep history. -- Wendy James, University of Oxford A richly textured and theoretically informed archaeology of the contemporary world...Drawing on detailed ethnographies and histories of three egalitarian societies occupying the borderlands of Western Ethiopia, Gonzalez-Ruibal refutes the common notion that such societies are incapable of change; instead, he demonstrates that the persistence of 'traditional' material forms emerge from deep-rooted resistance to ideologies of the state. His novel insights shed light on what it means to be culturally resilient in an increasingly globalized world. -- Paul Lane, Uppsala University
About the Author
Alfredo Gonzalez-Ruibal was formerly Assistant Professor in the Department of Prehistory, Complutense University of Madrid. He is now an archaeologist with the Institute of Heritage Studies (Incipit) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which is a group of over fifty people focusing on the study of cultural heritage as a scientific problem. Gonzalez-Ruibal is the editor of Reclaiming Archaeology: Beyond the Tropes of Modernity (2013), book of essays from a diverse array of archaeologists who have dealt in one way or another with modernity, including scholars from non-Anglophone countries who have approached the issue in original ways during recent years, as well as contributors from other fields who engage in a creative dialogue with archaeology and the work of archaeologists.