This project was interested in questions about the ontological and phenomenological status of the material remains that archaeologists study.
The archaeological preoccupation with matter, such as things, materials, materiality, deriving in part from the philosophical reflections of Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, Daniel Miller and others has left little room for considerations of the inconsequentiality and incidentalness of many things, most of the time, in quotidian human life.
The core enquiry of the research project was based on thoughts about “Beiläufigkeit” as elaborated by Hans Peter Hahn, re-traceable to Heidegger’s idea of “Zeug”. The members of the project investigated the extent to which archaeological things can be incidental, whether in the past or in the present. In doing so, the dynamic alternation between attention and the meaning of things on the one hand and their invisibility and inconsequentiality on the other were examined.
The research concerning Beiläufigkeit/incidentalness applied to times past (in which situations were things incidental) and to the diachronic dimension of archaeology (how do specific things from the past become incidental to present academic concerns).