N. The Ideational Archaeological Landscape: Archaeological Sites, Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Public Imagination

Organizers: Stella Souvatzi, Open University of Cyprus and Athena Hadji, Open University of Cyprus

Chair: Meredith Chesson, University of Notre Dame

Saturday, May 7th
1:30 – 3:10
Kroeber 155


This session seeks to investigate the politics of the past with reference to archaeological sites and landscapes as objects of deliberate construction of the past as cultural heritage and of tourist consumption, as well as the popular strategies of representing those sites to the public.  Public attitudes range from the initially Roman concept of genius loci (“the spirit of the place”) to visiting an archaeological site as part of a quest for authenticity for a class of 21st century “nomads” that culturally informed tourists tend to be. The construction and management of cultural heritage involve control of knowledge in which the past is translated into and represented through a number of visitable archaeological sites. The issues surrounding how representations are constructed and communicated are vitally important, given the growing concern over the public impact and social relevance of archaeology and its epistemological status. Essential theme of inquiry is the idea of space – in particular archaeological sites – and how it is transformed in relation to tourism and because of its consequences. Space is perceived not only as a three-dimensional entity, but primarily as a notional and ideational construct, (c.f. “the island”, “the historical site”, “the resort”). Meanings of identity and power also take many site and landscape forms, involving, among other things, the promotion of certain sites and landscapes over others.   We welcome contributions from archaeological theory and heritage studies, as well as tourism that address critically one or more of the above issues.


Linking the Past with the Contemporary World: First and Second Lives of Early Bronze Age Pots from the southeastern Dead Sea Plain of Jordan

Meredith S Chesson, University of Notre Dame, mchesson@nd.edu & Morag M. Kersel, DePaul University

Follow the Pots project investigates mechanisms, logistics, and networks of stakeholders in an archaeological looting story. We focus on materiality and how people today and in the past value and use material culture, especially to establish a link with an “imagined” place (e.g., the Holy Land). FTP encompasses the deep past, the contemporary world, and a dynamic future in which different stakeholders value, construct, use, and discard cultural heritage in legal and illegal endeavors. We present results of recent fieldwork as we trace the first and second lives of Early Bronze Age pots from grave to store to display shelf.

Community Supported Archaeology: A New Frontier

John Fardoulis, Kytherian Association of Australia, john.fardoulis@gmail.com

In July 2010, new community-engaging paradigms were established on the Greek island of Kythera. The community supported Greek Ephorate archaeologists in excavations that would not have taken place without such assistance.  Funding came from the Kytherian-Australian community, with the local Bishop providing accommodation at a monastery. Volunteers included archaeology students from Athens, local residents, and members of the Diaspora. Hundreds of people got to attend tours, with dozens physically participating in excavations. A comprehensive communication strategy was also executed including: newspaper and radio coverage, public lectures, plus connecting with youth through social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

Tourism, Heritage, and a Good Pint: The Irish Bar as an Archaeological Site

Alexandra Hartnett, Barnard College, Columbia University, ahartnett@barnard.edu

Irish-themed bars are iconic in their representations of historic Ireland. The deliberate construction of particular material settings transports contemporary patrons into an “authentic” past. The fluorescence of these bars has fostered an image of Ireland that is static. As a result, visitors to Ireland are often disappointed when confronted with reality. This has fostered a tourism agenda that performs a distinct brand of Irishness. As such, “traditional” Irish bars should be considered to be deliberately constructed archaeological sites. At their core lies a tangible anxiety that stretches between a desire for a specific lived experience and a false reality.

Making Up Moku`ula

Janet Six, University of Hawai`i-Maui College, six@hawaii.edu

Moku`ula was home to Maui royalty for over 400 years.  In 1838, Kamehameha III made the site his home.  A one-acre island, in a 17-acre wetland, Moku`ula, was buried in 1914 by a sugar plantation.  Although primarily associated with the Maui chiefly lines, current plans are to restore Moku`ula to the post-contact time of its usurpers, the Kamehamehas and to the drafting of a western-style Hawaiian Constitution and the Great Mahele (or divisions lands).  A known necropolis and wahi pana, if all goes according to plan, this sacred and political center will soon have bus turn-arounds and a gift shop!