Monday, 25 September 2017

Fantastical Archaeology Websites Review - Fascinating

Hi All,

Issue 3, Star Trek Current series, IDW Publishing (2011)
So this week we will be starting to schedule your Fantastical Archaeology website reviews. The range of subject matter of the websites you've chosen are impressive, and We'll be exploring interesting notions such as the archaeology of Bigfoot and, the perennial favourite, the archaeology of aliens, ancient or otherwise. And not to take away anyone's thunder, I do want to flag an over-arching theme or two that I hope we'll all think about in these presentations.

Importantly, while there will be lots to smile at, maybe shake a head at, and be gobsmacked at in the sites we will be exploring, what we will also be exploring are the ways in which archaeology and the idea of heritage is used in fantastical assertions to counter human heritage and agency in the archaeological record (something very distinct from alternative ways people access archaeology to define a heritage beyond archaeology). Beyond the spectacle, there are some important realities wrapped up in denying ancient peoples their ability to have shaped and made the archaeological record they left behind, as discussed in this post, or in the contemporary political agendas and drive to situate facts as just someone's opinion, and the ability to wholesale construct fiction and present it as fact in a time where all knowledge has become politicized opinion, as explored a little in this post.

So keep in mind, beyond the particulars and our own certainties that these are fantastical notions without substance, these constructions of the archaeological past are a) believed as factual by some, b) believed to be actively suppressed "truths" as a conspiracy of the intelligentsia by more, c) and are really a  surface veneer to a range of racial and legacy colonialism logics that in effect and aim, remove the past as the heritage of other peoples. And as we will see, there is a plethora of such worldviews out there in the social ether, and ignoring them is really not an option.

Indeed, as we negotiate how archaeology is in the world today, and how the material past is valued beyond the arcane science of archaeology by people, we need to develop rather nuanced awareness and abilities to recognize where archaeology can service communities whose heritage values arise from and beyond archaeological interpretation, and where archaeology can counter - or "trump" Trumpian alt logics - found in these assertive fantastical archaeologies that dispossess the past from those descended from it.

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