Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage by Laurajane Smith

By Laurajane Smith

This arguable e-book is a survey of the way relationships among indigenous peoples and the archaeological institution have gotten into trouble, and an important pointer to tips to stream ahead from this point.

With lucid value determinations of key debates akin to NAGPRA, Kennewick and the repatriation of Tasmanian artefacts, Laurajane Smith dissects the character and outcomes of this conflict of cultures.

Smith explores how indigenous groups within the united states and Australia have faced the pre-eminence of archaeological thought and discourse within the manner the fabric is still in their earlier are cared for and regulated, and the way this has challenged conventional archaeological proposal and practice.

Essential analyzing for all these fascinated by constructing a simply and equivalent discussion among the 2 events, and the position of archaeology within the examine and administration in their heritage.

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As such, it alienates that past and the meanings and significances it has to local community identity. Others have identified the inherent racism in archaeological discourse and practice, identifying that terms like ‘prehistory’ denies the legitimacy of Indigenous knowledge about that past and undermines a sense of Indigenous history (Deloria 1973, 1997). Further, it is a term that is also underlined by a colonial discourse that classified peoples as ‘primitives’ or ‘civilized’, and that saw the period of prehistory as inherently primitive.

Processual theory What is processual theory? Processual theory, or the ‘New Archaeology’,2 represented the avant-garde of archaeological theory during the 1960s and early 1970s (Patterson 1986a, 1986b). Processual theory, or ‘processual archaeology’ (Renfrew and Bahn 1991: 14), developed in the USA in the early 1960s as a reaction to the perceived inadequacies of the ‘culture history’ approach (Watson 1973a; Trigger 1984b, 1989). By 1980, advocates of processual archaeology could successfully claim that, during the 1970s, processual theory had become ‘mainstream’ (Patterson 1986a: 44).

Archaeological excavations were not only disrupted by AIM, but Indigenous people also began to question publicly and forcefully the very legitimacy of the discipline (Deloria 1973; Langford 1983). From the 1970s, Indigenous people began attending archaeological conferences, not only to present papers challenging archaeological practices and concepts, but also to initiate and engage in arguments and debates from the floor (see for instance, Barunga 1975; Marika 1975; Langford 1983; Hammil and Cruz 1989; Antone et al.

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