This article proposes a re-reading of what inclusion into the sphere of the historical actually means in modern European historical discourse. It argues that this re-reading permits challenging a powerful but problematic norm of ontological homogeneity as something to be achieved in and by historical discourse. At least some of the more conceptually profound challenges that accounts of “deep history”—of very distant pasts—pose to historical discourse have to do with pursuits of this norm. Historical theory has the potential of responding to some of these challenges and actually reverting them back to the practice of accounting for deep times in historical writing. The argument proceeds, in a first step, by analyzing the ties between modern European mortuary cultures and historical writing. In a second step, the history of humanitarian moralities is brought to bear on the analysis to make visible, thirdly, the fractured presences of deep time in modern-era and contemporary historical writing. The fractures in question emerge, the article argues, from the ontological heterogeneity of historical knowledge. Thus, in the end, a position beyond ontological homogeneity is adumbrated.

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