World Archaeological Congress


Newsletter: Volume 27 April 2009

Contributions to the next WAC Newsletter due 18th May 2009

Archaeologists Without Borders Workshop

Report on the website of the World Archaeological Congress

Archaeologies of Art Podcast Series Launched!

Call for WAC members to nominate Indigenous people

World Archaeological Congress honors Larry Zimmerman

Dr Andree Rosenfeld

Recommendation on ERA Draft Quality Ranking

WAC-6 Media Releases

WAC-6 Closing Ceremony Speech

Portuguese WAC-6 Media Releases

German WAC-6 Media Releases

Spanish WAC-6 Media Releases

Turkish WAC-6 Media Releases

Czech. WAC-6 Media Release on Iran



Cultural Heritage, Social Justice and Ethical Globalisation - A World Archaeological Congress Symposium

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Combined Abstracts

Social movement, politics and nationalism in the archaeology
of Central Europe, last 200 years

Jan Turek
Institute of Archaeological Heritage of Central Bohemia,
Prague, Czech Republic

In this presentation I address a wide range of questions analysing the relations and coexistence of nationally determined archaeological traditions. I am discussing the use and abuse of archaeological evidence from the time of formation of modern European nations in the 19th Century up to the time of Nazi and Communist propaganda. The project is concerned with the development of the archaeological paradigms in last two centuries, as well as, with the discussion on the social and political position of archaeology in the modern globalized world.

Central European archaeology in the era of globalisation

Arkadiusz Marciniak
University of Poznań

Globalization had a profound impact upon the practice of  archaeology in Central Europe in the last decades. Interestingly, challenges and opportunities it poses conicided and were intertwined with challenges of democracy and a free market economy in the post-1989 revolution period following the fall of the Iron Curtain in this part of Europe.

The paper intends to scrutinize the character of mutal relationships of these two global processes on the developments of Central European archaeology. These are marked by internationalising and standardising, especially apparent in archaeological heritage management, as well as emergence of  contract archaeology, commercialisation, funding policy, large scale investments, and standards of good practice. The paper will further discuss the most pertinent issues in Central European archaeology today including legislative framework in the context of the requirements of the European legal regulations, decision making process, maintenance of preserved archaeological heritage, and public presentation of archaeological resources. It also aims to identify its major ethical concerns.


Hey teacher, don’t leave the kids alone!
Magdalena Turkova
Czech Academy of Sciences
Prague, Czech Republic

At the age of ten many children wanted to be archaeologists. This should not surprise us, as archaeology is by its nature a topic with great potential for romantics and imagination. However, the question for current public archaeology is: Do we offer our children enough correct and digestible information on our past and objectives of archaeological research?!

In this paper I discuss the good, the bad and the ugly in the current presentation of past for children in Czech Republic. Are the Czech kids privileged or disadvantaged in their access to past? And how about children in the economically disadvantaged countries? All the people of the World have right for the knowledge on the past of their communities and Humankind already during their childhood, but in reality their access to the relevant information is different in different societies and cultures. 

Quilmes: The story of the 17th Century genocide, and the historical reparation that still fails to come
Jorgelina García Azcárate, Dirección de Patrimonio (Ente Cultural de Tucumán), Argentina
Delfín Gerónimo, Comunidad India de Quilmes, Argentina
Alejandra Korstanje, Instituto de Arqueología y Museo (UNT)- ISES-CONICET, Argentina
Marisa Lazzari, University of Exeter, UK

It was common practice during the Spanish conquest of the Americas to exterminate Indigenous peoples that opposed the invasion and domination over their territories. One of the most dramatic cases involved the forced relocation of the survivors of the organized resistance led by the population of Quilmes, in the Calchaquí valley (NW Argentina), thousand of kilometres south of their native lands on the banks of the Río de la Plata, at a place where today there is a city that bears their name.

By the end of the 19th Century, the old Quilmes pre-Hispanic settlement was recognized as an ‘archaeological ruin,’ and towards the 20th Century research interventions of various kinds and qualities had started.

More recently, an up-market hotel was built on top of the old cemetery of the settlement. Both the hotel and the on-site museum are currently under the management of a private entrepreneur who is the sole beneficiary of the profits derived from visitors and even charges fees to the local residents who may wish to visit the site during commemorative or other cultural events. Today, the re-organized Indian Community of Quilmes (Comunidad India de Quilmes, CIQ) are re-claiming the possession and management of the site and facilities. In 2002 the CIQ signed a cooperation agreement with the Institute of Archaeology and Museum (IAM) of the National University of Tucumán, to renew local involvement in scientific research, conservation and management of the settlement, nowadays re-named the Sacred City of Quilmes, while pursuing legal channels to secure its restitution.

In July 2007 we organized a cultural heritage workshop in order to provide a discussion and reflection space for all the inhabitants of the Calchaquí valley and academic and official cultural producers and mangers with an interest in the region. This presentation will discuss the history of this case, the conclusions reached at the workshop, and the recent actions that have been initiated to assist the Quilmes community in this process of redressing historical abuse and achieving full recognition and reparation.

Locating all our Selves in Ethical Research, or How We are the Knowers and Not the Object to Be Known: A Conceptual and Case Study Analysis
Garrick Cooper, Kairangahau Mäori, N.Z. Council for Educational Research, New Zealand
danielle davis, Oodgeroo Unit, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

In this paper, we examine the conceptual and cultural underpinnings of research practices, drawing on participatory and postmodern research.  We ask if ethical research is possible in relation to Indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage, or is research inherently an act of colonisation. Can we move from object, to subject, to self knower? Can this disruption manifest in participatory research that benefits epistemologies and achieve better social justice outcomes for Indigenous peoples?

Archaeology at the Sharp Edge of the Trowel
Nick Shepherd, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa

What does it mean to practice locally as part of a global discipline? How do we negotiate the increasingly contested and divisive contexts of “the global”? In particular, what does it mean for an organisation like WAC, with a tradition of multi-lateralism and open platform? How do we respond when, increasingly, the notion of the global is not associated with the “good” of peer pressure and ethical sanction, but with the “bad” of environmental degradation, corporate greed, and the cynical mobilization of state power for narrowly sectarian ends; so that for many people the issue becomes: how does one defend oneself against the global? Taking as a starting point some recent discussions in the WAC Executive Committee, I set out to explore a set of positions and understandings whose intention is to move us beyond standard responses, to consider a more critical mode of engagement with the global – archaeology at the sharp edge of the trowel. Briefly, I consider notion of positionality in relation to the global, notions of “practical” and “epistemic” decolonization, and the options for developing an activist practice in relation to global contexts. Open-ended and speculative, my comments are intended to open for discussion a set of questions and issues at what I would understand to be an important junction in WAC’s history as an organisation.

Localizing global. A framework for discussing WAC’s problem and promise
Alejandro F. Haber, Universidad Nacional de Catamarca – CONICET, Argentina

Whatever it is said in general terms about ‘cultural heritage’, ‘social justice’ and ‘ethics’ is already framed by the tension between global and local that is being reshaped under the present phase of capitalism. Drawing from descriptions of this phase, given by different authors under the labels of post-fordism, post-coloniality, and empire, I discuss the present different roles of cultural heritage, social justice and global ethics. Finally, I will comment on the potential roles (‘problem’ and ‘promise’) for the World Archaeological Congress in the present historical context.

Problems of conservation and management of cultural heritage in the context of globalization in Nigeria.
C.A. Folorunso, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Several ethical issues arise with regard to the conservation and management of cultural heritage in the developing nations in general and they are demonstrated in this presentation with cases from Nigeria. The problems range from the continuous destruction of archaeological sites by multinational companies without any proper EIA or site records, unending looting and destruction of archaeological sites by impoverished local people that are encouraged by international network of antiquity dealers, and the dubious activities of some western museums in collaboration with some officials in the museum establishments in Africa in general to misappropriate the cultural heritage. How do we interpret the concept of “world heritage”? For who, by who and for what purpose is cultural heritage conserved and managed? Are heritage resources supposed to be mere objects for entertainment in exhibitions in foreign land or objects of intellectual property that are relevant for the well being and development of the owner societies? These and other ethical questions on the issues pertaining to custody of numerous Africa’s cultural heritage materials across the globe would be examined.
No Simple Thing
K. Anne Pyburn, Indiana University, USA

Preservation is an unproblematic concept to most archaeologists and many sectors of the public. Remnants of the human past with scientific merit and often great beauty are commonly regarded neither as the property of a single culture nor of the descendants of their creators, but as the property of all human beings. But attempts to foster the preservation of important monuments and artifacts across the globe has resulted in some new ideas about what preservation really is and why in any particular case certain people may be in favor of preservation while a surprising number are not. Ultimately, these controversies have forced archaeologists and the public to consider exactly what is important about the past, and whether some types of importance can always be held as globally paramount.

Charting a future for archaeology in the land of the Celtic Tiger
Gabriel Cooney, University College Dublin, Ireland

The position of archaeology in Ireland in the early years of the twenty first century is somewhat contradictory. Over the period since the early 1990s when the Celtic Tiger effect made Ireland one of the most globalised economies in the world there has been an unprecedented level of development-led archaeological activity as archaeological mitigation is embedded in the legislative framework. Alongside this activity iconic images of Irish heritage continue to be used to promote the unique cultural character of  the island. At the same time because archaeological excavation has come to be associated with development it is often portrayed as destructive, damaging to heritage. Ironically there is also a public and political perception of archaeology holding up development. Because of delays in communicating the implications of the results of recent work for understanding the past and the present there has been much debate about the value of this work. With the move in political ideology away from nationalism the significance of the past has become more ambigious and problematic. Political developments in Northern Ireland raise the challenge of how the past is to be interpreted in a post-conflict social context. Irish society, south and north, is also becoming more culturally diverse. The paper will consider these issues and initiatives that are being taken to reposition archaeology within Irish society and to provide it with a more coherent sense of social purpose. 

Cultural Heritage, Social Justice, Ethical Globlisation
Moderator: Claire Smith, Flinders University, South Australia

If we are to tackle the challenges of a more ethical globalisation, we have to integrate a human rights framework into our practices and policies, with a consequent emphasis on shared responsibilities. This discussion panel will bring together the main themes of the conference, and identify any recommendations that should be taken the meeting of the Executive of the World Archaeological Congress, which will be in early October, 2007, in Mel