By John Carman
Not like such a lot textbooks on historical past which debate the production of historical past as a cultural phenomenon or provide sensible courses to historical past practices, Archaeology and history takes a clean process via offering an creation to issues within the box of historical past because it pertains to the cloth legacy of our earlier. A survey of present ways to theorizing archaeological perform offers a few principles approximately how we comprehend and relate to the continues to be, websites, buildings and structures that experience come to our current from the prior. The ebook is split into seven chapters, every one preceded by means of a quick interlude which considers the kinds of literature and methods of conversing approximately historical past which represent that method. For these now not already conversant in fresh archaeological concept, the booklet presents a quick creation to present tendencies. each one bankruptcy is in flip divided into key issues indicated through sub-headings, and those key issues are reiterated on the finish of every bankruptcy and are through a listing of prompt readings.
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Additional info for Archaeology and heritage: an introduction
All such designations share certain things in common. All aim to protect the object from alteration or change: in effect, they 'freeze' 49 Archaeology and Heritage it at a particular moment in its history. In more extreme applications - where a measure of 'restoration' is undertaken the object is not only frozen at a particular moment but reconstructed to conform with an expectation of what it 'should' look like. The designations also give the site a certain status: indeed, this is one of the purposes underlying the protection of old things: it is to mark them as important or significant (see Chapter 6 for more on this).
As such, they are subject to a conventional series of treatments: 37 Archaeology and Heritage • retrieval/discovery; • (physical) conservation to maintain the fabric; • collection/curation (involving recording and documentation as part of an institutionalized practice); • (possible) display; • (possible) trading. In general, such objects will follow a path that will lead them either to the status of 'portable antiquity' or to that of 'museum object'. The portable antiquity may find itself part of a privately held and owned collection or be traded in the international market for such objects.
She focuses in particular on the broad usage of the term, comprising as it does 'both the Mona Lisa and a photograph of the living room of a French steelworker' (Greenfield, 1989: 252) and citing with ironic disdain O'Keefe and Prott's (1984: 33) extension of the concept of 'cultural heritage' to include human faeces (Greenfield, 1989: 255); from a strictly archaeological perspective, however, such remains can be of immense value in understanding the past. The reduction of complexity The preceding discussion shows that the heritage field is something about which little simple agreement exists.
Archaeology and heritage: an introduction by John Carman