Tuesday 19 February 2013

Will the study of archaeology soon become a thing of the past?

Michael Braddick (professor and pro-vice-chancellor for the faculty of arts and humanities at the University of Sheffield) ass:
'Will the study of archaeology soon become a thing of the past?" Guardian (Higher Education Supplement, Feb 19th 2013. 
Certainly the current emphasis in archaeology's misguided "outreach" focussing merely on the glittery gold-and-silver (with its antiquitist fascination with narrativisation of loose decontextualised artefacts found by non-archaeologists with metal detectors) will do nothing to aid real British archaeology in  defending itself from Philistine cuts. Perhaps it deserves its inevitable fate.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Actually, archaeology will need more outreach with programs like PAS to remain relevant. Why should anyone support a couse of study that only benefits and caters to a select few?

Paul Barford said...

It seems "Cultural Property Observer" has completely misunderstood what I said, but in doing so illustrated perfectly my point. Insted of seeing archaeology, CPO sees "relevance" in the "narrativisation of loose decontextualised artefacts" which is a TOTALLY different thing from real archaeology.

I think the Philistine will consider that on the surface many academic academic disciplines "only benefit and cater to a select few" (molecular biology, quantum physics, Latin philology, ethnography, ethology etc. etc).

Obviously I am of the opinion that archaeology, properly done, is of wider social and cultural (and more general) benefit than the antiquitist invention of stories about artefacts based on extra-source information and speculation. That is no more than mythmaking (which is not to deny the latter a role too in various contexts).

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