Tag Archives: public archaeology

“Nasty Women” and Man the Hunter: Archaeology and Gender Politics in 2016

Gender Politics in the 2016 Election: Exploring Archaeological Interventions Let’s talk about gender. We certainly aren’t the only ones; the country is abuzz with discussions surrounding gender and politics. For the first time in history, a man and a woman are competing for the highest office in the United States of America. In no other presidential election have gender politics been so visible, or so divisive. To start, I’ll touch on two primary examples (of many, to be sure) of the ways gender has come into play in the current election.   Example 1: Donald Trump’s Version of Masculinity A few weeks ago, the world heard a presidential nominee speak casually, proudly, smugly about sexually assaulting women. We saw the outrage – many voices from both parties condemned his words, and many more pointed it out as a demonstration of the type of toxic masculinity that persists like a wound beneath gender relations in our country. We also saw many men and women move to defend these words; they were justified as “locker room talk” and “men being men,” or dismissed as the status quo for men in power. Often, these justifications ignored the difference between talk of sex and talk [Read More]

An Archaeologist’s Guide to Election Season: A Preface

It’s Election Season – but what does Archaeology have to do with it? November 8 is a mere three weeks away.  Where do we start, so close to the end of what has been perhaps the most divisive and vitriolic election in the history of our country? Over the next month, I propose to assemble a series of posts exploring the relationships between archaeology and the national and global issues facing the country as we elect our 45th President.  These connections are rich, challenging, productive, and continually developing, though perhaps not immediately apparent to a general public that sees archaeology as a discipline dealing exclusively in a distant, resolved past.  As we witness wars, our own and others, through images that many of us can barely comprehend from the safety of our homes; as climate change, mindless of the debates around its existence in political circles, takes its increasing toll, already displacing whole communities and leaving the Great Barrier Reef dying in its wake; as Black bodies are met with fear and violence and exposed to national input on the validity of their lives and the justification of their deaths; as sacred lands and access to clean water are denied to Native Americans in the name of profit; as women [Read More]

Martin’s Cove and the Future of Public Archaeology

Howdy! With this final post, I will relinquish my tenure as the guest editor of the Binghamton MAPA blog. It’s been a pleasure covering issues in public archaeology in the American West. I suspect you’ll enjoy the work of my successor, the very capable Trish Markert, a PhD student in historical archaeology. So now my task is to bundle up the several ideas I’ve explored this month, and to propose a few things that will be challenges for public archaeology in the future. As you may have noticed, I’ve got a lot to say on the issue of public archaeology and the public lands of the West. But I’ve got comprehensive exams to take in a few weeks, a dissertation prospectus to be writing, and grading to be done! So I’m forced to keep this as brief as possible, and leave several major issues unexplored.   However, for now, I want to turn to the issue of the public and private spheres, and how public archaeology is going to increasingly be called on to mediate the two, particularly in regards to sacred sites, cultural landscapes, and traditional cultural properties. Since large-scale, publicly-funded salvage archaeology began during the Depression, we’ve gotten pretty [Read More]

Bears Ears and the Issue with Ownership

Howdy! This week I return to our “regularly scheduled programming” and discuss the issue of ownership in relation to archaeology and public lands. The question “who owns the past?” arises wherever there is contestation over cultural heritage between groups. Conversations about ownership have hinged on the ethical considerations surrounding portable artifacts, antiquities, and human remains. Examples include the return of the Euphronios Krater to Italy, the recent sale of Hopi Katsina friends (or masks) in a Paris auction house, England’s stubborn refusal to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, and the long controversy over the repatriation of the Ancient One (Kennewick Man). The ownership of portable cultural patrimony is a huge, fraught issue that isn’t going away. Dozens of books discuss cultural patrimony and ownership. However, the debate is a bit different when we talk about cultural sites and landscapes that cannot be moved (unless you’re Carmen Sandiego!). The issue of ownership is no less applicable in the case of cultural landscapes, though it is the ability to make decisions about management of particular places that is at stake. This is a lengthy post, so let me lay out a map on the hood of the truck and give you some directions. I am [Read More]

DAPL is the biggest issue in Public Archaeology right now

Howdy! I had planned out a nice narrative arc for this month’s blog post, but the rapidly evolving situation in North Dakota has encouraged me to throw some of those plans out the window. In this post I explain the string of legislation that has led to the showdown in North Dakota, and explore some of the implications for public archaeology. *Edit: while I was writing this, the Department of the Interior, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Justice issued a joint statement effectively halting construction of DAPL within 20 miles of Lake Oahe. You can read it here. It very intriguingly insinuates that the government may revisit its process for tribal consultation.* The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL for short) is without a doubt the biggest issue in Public Archaeology right now. “But, why is this a *public* archaeology issue?” you may ask. “Doesn’t most of the pipeline route run through private land?” Well, the answer lies not only in the complicated legal framework of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, but also in Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. These documents are laden with jargon and legalese, but I’ll try to break them down. [Read More]

Public Archaeology and our Vast Public Lands

Greetings! I am Kellam Throgmorton, PhD student in archaeology, and I will be at the helm of the Binghamton MAPA blog this month. Over the next several weeks I will be highlighting the ways that archaeology intersects with the vast public lands located throughout much of the western United States. These are spaces that collectively belong to the citizens of the nation, though opinions vary widely on what they mean, who controls them, and how they should be managed. These opinions are often expressed in strong language and actions: an armed occupation of federal facilities in Oregon; contentious public meetings between ranchers, Native groups, environmentalists, and federal officials in Utah; and ongoing peaceful protests by tribal members in North Dakota intent on protecting vital cultural sites. In this month’s posts, I will explore the surprising connections between these events, public lands, and archaeology. Previous guest editors have interpreted “public archaeology” in numerous ways. Clearly an important facet of public archaeology is critical engagement with one of several “publics”—be they descendant communities or people who simply have an interest in local history. Similarly, previous posts have used the term “archaeology” primarily to refer to the material remains of the past—houses, monuments, [Read More]

Public Engagement Abroad: Peyre Blanque Archaeological Project

The last few posts for MAPA, I’ve been discussing different aspects of public engagement. As part of that I wanted to talk about public engagement in a non-american context, how its different, and why those differences create a whole different type of archaeological heritage. In an earlier blog post, I discussed the ways in which we engage with the pubic as archaeologist, and how it can be technically more difficult than it first seems. In many ways these are site or project specific. I went to talk with BU faculty members Dr. Sébastien Lacombe (Director) and Dr. Kathleen Sterling (Co-Director) who together run a project in southwestern France called the Peyre Blanque Archaeological Project.  The project has been running for the last 9 years, and aside from having amazing archaeology, it has a pretty amazing relationship with the public too. I sat down with both Dr. Sterling and Dr. Lacombe to get their perspectives on public engagement at Peyre Blanque and how it differs from American archaeology. First some background on Peyre Blanque. The project is a very rare Upper Paleolithic “open-air” settlement (more precisely a Middle Magdalenian, about 16,000 BP) located on top a ridge. Not surprisingly a modern hiking trail runs along side it. In many cases, a [Read More]