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Archaeological Review from Cambridge - 38.2: Archaeology and the Publics

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Cultural Heritage in Modern Conflicts: A Theoretical Analysis of Memory and Materiality in Babylon, Iraq
    (2023-11-30) Bortolan, Martina
    Performative, symbolic, and material aspects pervade remembrance. Cultural heritage becomes a source of individual and collective identity, a point of reference from which to conceptualise society and its functioning. Thus, its violent destruction has strong repercussions on the people that identify with it. Drawing from the case of the US occupation of Babylon, a site that lies at the core of Saddam Hussain’s nationalisation efforts, I explore the instrumentalisation of memory within conflictual contexts. I will analyse such instrumentalisation by considering heritage sites through the lens of materiality and object biographies. I then connect Babylon to the concept of iconicity, and how it can be leveraged to embed new narratives to existing sites. Finally, I highlight how heritage is an important field in which conflicts unfold, contributing to the negotiation of power relations between the actors involved.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Archaeology, Indigenous and Local Knowledge, and Climate Change in the Caribbean: Select Case Studies among the Kalinago, Macushi and Maroon communities in the Windward Islands and the Guianas.
    (2023-11-30) Richards, Andrea; Daggers, Louisa; Soke-Fonkel, Thanya; White, Cheryl; Sutherland, Augustine 'Sardo'; Edwards, Annalisa; Auguiste, Irvince
    Within the geographic space known as the Caribbean, vulnerability to and because of climate-induced hazards is commonplace. Contributing to this are the various geophysical features and historical land use issues which define the region, some of which have contributed to how traditional communities are both impacted by and respond to the changing climate. These hazards are experienced through rising sea levels, coastal inundation and storm surges, and increasingly severe and erratic weather events, impacting, for example, wet and dry Archaeology, Indigenous and Local Knowledge, and Climate Change in the Caribbean: Select Case Studies among the Kalinago, Macushi and Maroon communities in the Windward Islands and the Guianas. November 2023 / Archaeology and the Publics 79 seasons, water and food security, and infrastructure. Although the region's vulnerability has increased, climatic challenges are not a 21st century phenomena. Its first inhabitants several millennia ago experienced climate-induced and other natural hazards, requiring ongoing adaptation to constantly changing environments. Our traditional communities have had long relationships with their natural environment and so play a critical role in studying this human environment dynamic through a long-term perspective. Not only are they exposed to these hazards contributing to vulnerability at the community level, but their heritage is also exposed. Through their traditional knowledge and archaeological data from their ancient villages, knowledge is passed down today as a guide for climate action and providing essential indicators for past and future resilience. This paper examines how the changing climate intersects with archaeology, Indigenous and local knowledge in relation to ongoing and future climate action and narratives in the Caribbean. This is approached through a focus on case studies among the Kalinago of Dominica and Saint Vincent, the Macushi from Guyana, and Maroon communities from Suriname, highlighting how traditional knowledge and archaeological research can provide valuable data concerning past climate adaptation and a better understanding of Indigenous and local responses. This paper emanates from a knowledge-exchange event held in Aruba in November 2022, which brought together communities, researchers, and students to discuss the role that archaeology and traditional knowledge can play in the region’s response to the changing climate.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Stonehenge in Punch Cartoons 1860-1999: A Leaky Pipeline from Experts to the Public
    (2023-11-30) Michaelson, Gregory
    Popular accounts of prehistory usually reflect prevailing archaeological understanding. However, cartoons about prehistory are based on a small number of well-established tropes, that seem resistant to new evidence and changing interpretations. In an ongoing study, over 850 cartoons about prehistory, published in Punch between 1841 and 2002, are being interrogated. Of these, 96 concern Stonehenge, an internationally renowned monument, whose origins, purposes, and symbolic status are regularly contested. From expert publication, public dissemination, and educational and popular accounts, it might be expected that Stonehenge cartoons would expose Druid, Bronze Age or Neolithic origins, astronomical, mortuary, religious or ritual use, and wider British exceptionalism. However, while timelessness is a pervasive theme, origins and use are jumbled, and explicit nationalism is rare. Rather, the cartoons offer multiple readings, reflecting recurrent concerns and whims. The cartoons suggest a longstanding disjunction between humour about Stonehenge, and expert debates. This offers opportunities for informed, yet entertaining, interventions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Digital Archaeology in Schools: The Use of Archaeological Games in Public Education in the State of São Paulo in Brazil
    (2023-11-30) Paltro de Viveiros Pina, Amanda; Cruz, Matheus Morais
    Through the presentation of two case studies, this paper aims to discuss digital archaeology’s possible impacts on public education in the State of São Paulo (Brazil). First, the potential of the application of digital games in schools and concepts of immersion and interactivity to support new perspectives on the use of different forms of learning will be presented. Furthermore, the essential necessity to develop free, accessible, and scalable products in the face of the challenges imposed by the current conditions of Brazilian public education teaching programs will be demonstrated. The case studies are based on two digital games Sambaquis – Uma História antes do Brasil, and O Último Banquete em Herculano, developed respectively by the research group Arqueologia Interativa e Simulações Eletrônicas (ARISE) and the Laboratório de Arqueologia Romana Provincial (LARP), both based at the Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil). To conclude, possible reflections on the future of archaeology allied to technological development and its probable applications in education will be addressed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    From Soot to Saplings: Integrating Industrial Pasts into Public Demands for Environmental Sustainability
    (2023-11-30) Gleave, Kieran
    At a time when environmental sustainability is demanded across the public spectrum, the pollutive and productive legacies of the industrial past are increasingly viewed as antitheses of our visions for greener futures. Moving forwards, the public-facing professional, governmental, volunteer and commercial networks which manage Britain’s industrial archaeologies and heritages face a challenging task: integrating industrial pasts with contentious climate legacies into public visions for environmental sustainability. To explore potential avenues for this integration, this article discusses trophic and passive approaches to ‘rewilding’ defunct industrial sites and landscapes. By drawing from visits to the National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct Pilot Project and the Upper Peak Forest Canal, I explore the merits of each rewilding strategy and discuss their potentials to secure sustainable re-uses for industrial sites: both those presently defunct and those which face closure through future deindustrialisation
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the Complex Relationship between Archaeology and Society: Lessons from India's History
    (2023-11-30) Samadder, Aritri
    This paper discusses the relationship between archaeology and society, arguing that the discipline can be used to serve multiple agendas.  The paper explores the influence of archaeology on the public and investigates how political manipulation of history affects the archaeological practices of the Archaeological Survey of India. It uses the Babri Masjid demolition as a case study, highlighting the role of social memory in historical discourse. The author concludes that archaeology can serve as a tool to satisfy multiple agendas, even if they are sometimes contradictory. The paper suggests that policies regulating the misuse of archaeological information should be put in place to mitigate the loss of intellectual and cultural property and prevent the loss of valuable human life.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Towards a New Project Design Methodology for Archaeological Projects in England
    (2023-11-30) Watson, Sadie
    The policy framework within which development-led archaeology is conducted in the UK is well understood and the contracting sector is an accepted stage in the planning process due to various policies, originating from both national and local Government. Projects are undertaken following standards established by Historic England almost two decades ago, with management systems and stages commonly followed. Yet our project design methodology hasn’t evolved to reflect the changing times, or encouraged capacity for considering the publics, with intended beneficiaries of our work poorly identified and often misunderstood. This paper proposes a new process of project management for development-led archaeology, to ensure that we conduct work that has meaningful and sustainable outcomes for the wider publics. I outline the challenges within the current structure and provide a revised project life cycle with publics at its heart.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Politics on a Small Scale: Archaeological Ethnography as a Lens of Understanding Community Politics.
    (2023-11-30) Gianniri, Klairi
    Archaeology, as it is known and being practiced in the West, often played a significant role in promoting colonial and nationalistic agendas. Although the colonial heritage of the discipline and its neocolonial present have been exposed and critiqued, the vast majority of archaeologists do not seem to be fully conscious that archaeology acts politically at various scales. Thus, politics in archaeology is usually associated with grand national narratives, rather than relationship networks in a local or community context. As a result, studying the way a small community is being affected by archaeological research is often considered to be of secondary importance, even though such activity carries profound political effects and implications. This paper aims to shed light on these implications through a case study at the mountainous areas of East Crete, where the utilisation of archaeological ethnography highlighted the role of archaeology as a mediator of the collective past and contested present.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ghosts of Archaeology: The Journey of Archaeological Knowledge from Science to Science Fiction
    (2023-11-30) Kocsis, Andrea
    The paper aims to evaluate the boundaries between science and pseudo-science in the public understanding of archaeology. It uses the legacy of T.C. Lethbridge as a case study to illustrate the process of transitioning from a scientific to a pseudo-scientific realm. It establishes the relationship between Lethbridge and the academic community based on archival documents, while it aims to glimpse the parapsychological communities’ narratives by the distant reading of dowsing forums, using data parsing and topic modelling techniques. The paper claims that the role Lethbridge represented as the late antiquarian polymath, opposing the institutionalisation and processual methods of archaeology, is still an appealing model for some members of the public, who prefer interacting with the local past outside the institutional formulas of professional archaeology. However, Lethbridge’s rediscovery in the parapsychological world carries the danger that an outdated version of archaeology is becoming reinforced in times when misinformation is a global challenge
  • ItemOpen Access
    Untangling Difficult Heritage: Arguing for Equal Linguistic Access for Stakeholders of Past International Conflicts
    (2023-11-30) Moxham, Oliver
    This paper is a manifesto for applying the theoretical argument for translational justice — equality through linguistic presence and accuracy — at difficult heritage sites for stakeholder language groups. Decolonizing museum and heritage spaces has dominated debates in the field of archaeology. Difficult heritage sites relating to conflict are no exception (Macdonald 2010, 2015). Transparent discourse between stakeholders is a prerequisite for reconciliation around the difficult past represented by heritage. Theories in translation and heritage studies around language identity support this, demonstrating how the presence of one’s own language creates a feeling of inclusion and consideration essential for reconciliation processes (Baker 2018; Giblin 2022; Inghilleri and Harding 2010). Developing on translation studies theories of “translational justice” (De Schutter 2017; González Núñez 2016; Meylaerts 2006) and the relationship between conflict and translation (Baker 2018), this paper argues for a best-practice translation policy at difficult heritage sites which prioritises facilitating mutual respect and dialogue between stakeholders of international traumatic histories.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Construction of the Archaeological Inventory of the Sites with Rock Art of the Vides River.
    (2023-11-30) Guerrero-Gonzalez, Sara-Valentina
    This research is an inventory of six rock art sites and the state of their conservation in the Vides River basin in the Amazon region of Colombia. It also discusses the social and economic relationships that the local inhabitants have with these rock art sites. This paper draws theoretical and methodological support from the feminist, decolonial and heart-centred approaches in archaeology. Additionally, the research is complemented by the methodologies of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH). Finally, a series of reflections are made on the potential of archaeological heritage to construct community social relations
  • ItemOpen Access
    Archaeology and the Publics
    (2023-11-30) Nikolaou, Christos; Shen, Benny; Onyemechalu, Stanley; Pilgrim, Chike
    It has been exactly 40 years since the publication of one of the earliest ARC issues: Volume 2:1 Archaeology and the Public (1983), emerged from a Theoretical Archaeology Group conference put on by Mike Parker Pearson and others in 1982. Our publication likewise has strong theoretical underpinnings. Archaeology as a discipline has never been more concerned with its positionality within public discourses and its relativity to different segments of the publics. This is because the Information Age has brought with it new challenges with respect to what defines public spaces and who are accepted as authorities in these spaces (Stephens et al 2023). By pluralising the ‘public’ in our volume title, Archaeology and the PublicS, we hope to demonstrate and highlight the multivocality and diversity inherent in the public – and the opportunities and challenges that come with this diversity.