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Ghosts of Archaeology: The Journey of Archaeological Knowledge from Science to Science Fiction



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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 However, Lethbridge’s rediscovery in the parapsychological world carries the danger that an outdated version of archaeology is becoming reinforced in times when misinformation is a global challenge



Public Archaeology, Narratives, Antiquarianism, History of Archaeology, Data Analysis

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Archaeology and the Publics

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