daryl stump on applied archaeology and indigenous knowledge

17May13

Daryl Stump, ‘On Applied Archaeology, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Usable Past’, Current Anthropology 54, 3 (2013).

Several recent discussions within archaeology refocus attention on the relationship between western knowledge and “indigenous knowledge”: one arising from the question of local ownership of land, technologies, and archaeological materials; another responding to the continued interest within development, conservation, and ecology in the potential efficacy and sustainability of local resource-use strategies; and a third that explores the possibility of producing archaeological interpretations that incorporate local conceptions of the past. In addition to an interest in indigenous knowledge (whether technical or conceptual), these various lines of inquiry are related by the desire to give due respect to local beliefs, practices, and property, and by the ambition to define ways in which archaeological research can provide benefits to society in general or, more specifically, to the communities that play host to archaeological field projects. These shared goals account for the fact that these discussions are sometimes conflated, but they can nevertheless be separated into distinct projects by examining the criteria by which their proponents are likely to judge success. Doing so permits an assessment of the feasibility of these approaches, referred to here as applied archaeology, hybrid archaeologies, and the production of a “usable past.”



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