Digging Politics

08:02 by Cornelius Holtorf

Our Post-doc Emily Hanscam has co-edited (with James Koranyi) a book on Digging Politics. The Ancient Past and Contested Present in East-Central Europe, published in 2023 by De Gruyter.

In her own chapter in the volume, entitled Archaeology and the Challenge of Continuity: East-Central Europe during the Age of Migrations, Emily writes: 

“The ancient past is political, as made apparent by the contributors to this volume. The political nature of the past is especially visible in contested space like East-Central Europe where ideas about the continuity of peoples continue to impact identity formation processes today, supported in some cases by the materiality of the past. This sort of relationship between the modern nation-state and the ancient past is endemic globally, deserving of our continued attention. As discussed in the introduction to this volume, archaeology and nationalism have a long and well-studied relationship (…) Despite his body of work, the presence of methodological nationalism, or the assumption that the nation is ‘natural’, remains pervasive in narratives about the past. This is not an easy problem to solve, given that archaeology as an academic discipline was founded in the late nineteenth century to provide material evidence for national narratives; it is therefore unsurprising that in many ways archaeology continues to create and sustain the nation today.”

— a major problem for archaeology to address in the future!

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