Cornelius Holtorf Archaeology is a brand
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  • Nyborg Strand 16 Nov 2011 Dansk museikonferens
  • The most significant metaphor of archaeology!
  • Agatha Christie was married to the archaeologist Max Mallowan
  • REVELATION: possibly draw lessons from the ancestors for the present and the future!? (e.g. long term environmental change) SAVIOUR: - Insights that can assist us in planning the future, e.g. in relation to environmental change or adaptation to adverse environmental conditions - without preserved archaeological sites in the grounds are grandchildren won’t have their own history… ????
  • Not unproblematic! Globalisering Neo-kolonialism Kommersialisering Global uppvärmning och andra miljöproblem Brister i demokrati (bestämmer entreprenörer och ekonomer för mycket?)
  • The cultural economy!
  • Phil Harding
  • The issue is not how archaeologists can make those people who love Heinrich Schliemann, Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and Time Team more interested in their own version of archaeology. The issue is rather what these popular figures can tell the professionals about popular themes and interests they need to address themselves. (Holtorf 2007: 12)
  • See the metaphorical significance of what you are working with as an archaeologist! If archaeologists don’t tell such stories – others will. Archaeology is a verb: overcome adversity! solve mysteries! reveal truths! care ! Sometimes we must be critical – subversive – resist (just like any other citizen), e.g. Tara campaign; community archaeology; Mark Leone i Annapolis; Jeremy Sabloffs ”action archaeology” We can also modify or extend existing stereotypes!

Cornelius Holtorf Archaeology is a brand Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Archaeology is a brand! On the value of archaeology for present-day society Professor Cornelius Holtorf Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
  • 2.
    • ” Insofar as archaeology enhances people’s lives and society in general, its major impact might be said to lie in popular culture rather than any noble vision of improving self-awareness.”
    • Gavin Lucas 2004
  • 3. Archaeology’s impact in popular culture:
    • meaningful stories about the past…
      • sameness
      • otherness
    • the popular brand of archaeology…
  • 4. Archaeology as a brand
    • ” archaeology” linked to a fixed set of associations and qualities
    • very widely recognized
    • positive : archaeologists are heroes! ( archaeo-appeal )
      • ” Already as a boy I was fascina-ted by the ancient world. When people asked me what I wanted to be, I always said: an archaeo-logist . All my life I have dreamed of discovering something.”
      • Anthony Bowles in Pascali’s Island  (1988)
  • 5. The archaeologist as adventurer
    • ” cowboys of science”
      • ” Aren’t we all (deep down) hoping to find a lost civilization, treasure hoard, gold filled tomb, find of the century? I think there is a little ‘Carter’ or ‘Indy’ in us all .”
  • 6. The archaeologist as detective
      • Agatha Christie
      • Murder in Mesopotamia (1936):
      • “ You would have made a good archaeologist, M. Poirot. You have the gift of re-creating the past ”
  • 7.
    • Archaeology as revelation
    • The archaeologist as rescuer (or saviour?)
  • 8. A larger perspective …
    • Gerhard Schulze 1992:
    • Die Erlebnisgesellschaft
    • Rolf Jensen 1999:
    • The Dream Society
    • Joseph Pine & James Gilmore 1999/2011:
    • The Experience Economy
  • 9. The value of archaeology for present-day society
    • Regional development/ economic growth
  • 10. The value of archaeology for present-day society
    • Quality of Life:
      • entertainment : excitement, wonder, awe and magic
      • inspiration to become a hero:
        • overcome adversity!
        • solve mysteries!
        • reveal truths!
        • care!
  • 11. Some lessons for making archaeology valuable to society
    • Archaeologists need to ask their audiences not “How can I best persuade you about the merits of my project or discipline?” but “ What does what I am doing mean to you ?”
    • (Neal Ascherson 2004)
  • 12.
    • Tell stories about the past that are meaningful to broad audiences .
    • Tell stories that build on the brand value of archaeology.
    • Provide entertaining and inspiring experiences (remember: archaeology is a verb!).
    • Be critical of society as well!
    Some lessons for making archaeology valuable to society
  • 13. Archaeology sounds like fun to me!