Future World

Anticipatory Archaeology, Materially Affective Capacities and the Late Human Legacy


  • Leila Alexandra Dawney University of Brighton Environment and Technology
  • Oliver J. T. Harris University of Leicester Archaeology and Ancient History
  • Tim Flohr Sørensen University of Copenhagen The Saxo Institute




post-humanism, Into Eternity, future archaeology, nuclear waste


Using the 2010 film Into Eternity as a springboard for thought, this article considers how archaeologies of the future might help us make sense of how to seek commonality and take care across vast temporal scales. The film, about a nuclear waste repository in Finland, addresses the impossibility of communicating across millennia. In thinking with this film, we engage with recent responses to the post-human call, arguing that they are inadequate in dealing with the new questions that are asked by post-human thought. Instead, we attempt to engage the work of Spinoza and Sloterdijk in rethinking the human as a strategic position or point of purchase amongst the shared materiality present and future worlds. We offer the concepts of the materially-affective and atmosphere in order to identify points of connection, drawing on moments in Into Eternity to work through these points in a tentative repositioning of the human as a site of concern.


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Author Biographies

Leila Alexandra Dawney, University of Brighton Environment and Technology

Leila Alexandra Dawney is a cultural and political geographer, and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton. She is particularly interested in power, affect and embodiment, exploring the forms of experience and subjectivity that are produced in and through spaces of late capitalism. Currently, she is undertaking research on spaces of militarism, affective cartographies of debt and post-socialist cultural change.

Oliver J. T. Harris, University of Leicester Archaeology and Ancient History

Oliver J. T. Harris is an archaeologist, and an associate professor at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on questions of the body, affect and assemblage in archaeology, especially (though not exclusively) in relation to Neolithic Britain, in addition to archaeological methodology. He is the codirector of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project which examines the long-term occupation of a Scottish peninsula from the Neolithic to the present day.

Tim Flohr Sørensen, University of Copenhagen The Saxo Institute

Tim Flohr Sørensen is an archaeologist, and an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. His main research interests are contemporary archaeology and archaeological theory. His current research focuses on processes of ruination and the unfinished, and central epistemological challenges to archaeology, such as absence, fragmentation, vagueness and tracelessness.


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How to Cite

Dawney, L. A., Harris, O. J. T., & Sørensen, T. F. (2017). Future World: Anticipatory Archaeology, Materially Affective Capacities and the Late Human Legacy. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 4(1), 107–129. https://doi.org/10.1558/jca.32497



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