Item Details

Ice and Concrete: Solid Fluids of Environmental Change

Issue: Vol 5 No. 1 (2018) Special Issue: Time of Materials

Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

Subject Areas: Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jca.33371


Recent environmental changes have sparked off unprecedented dialogues between practitioners of the earth sciences and the humanities, which defy some of the basic assumptions underpinning western science. However, a gap still persists between natural scientists and scholars in the humanities in their tendency to concentrate respectively on the solid matter and fluid meaning. This article seeks to close this gap by paying attention to glacial ice and concrete, materials that often mark the onset and culmination of human history and have been historically regarded as solid fluids. We suggest that ice and concrete are caught in a punctuated understanding of change that turns fluidity and solidity into mutually exclusive properties. The article concludes by comparing this oxymoronic syndrome with the ways the Inuit of West Greenland experience their cryogenic landscapes as nurturing environments in constant becoming.

Author: Cristián Simonetti, Tim Ingold

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