Our understanding of the world around us is shaped by the way we move through it, yet mobility is rarely studied by archaeologists, who prefer instead to discuss notions of place. Whilst place maybe reassuringly tangible, it is also fixed and bounded. Mobility on the other hand is dynamic, providing a more nuanced understanding of what it is to be alive. Mobilities allow the movement of people, ideas, objects and information from place to place, and person to person – it should be central to archaeology.
However, can we ever know what it was like to move in the past; to understand its meanings and complexities? Unlike many other disciplines that attend to mobility studies; ones that can observe and interview the moving subject, archaeology has only the silent witness. This silence, though, is not to be misconstrued with stillness, and the evidence for past mobilities surrounds us. Archaeology requires a distinctive approach to mobility, and a particular facet it offers is the Longue Durée – a chronological perspective that few other disciplines have. The paper discusses the evidence for mobility within the archaeological record and explore this distinctive approach.