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Beyond Crusades: How (Not) to Engage with Alternative Archaeologies

Cornelius Holtorf
World Archaeology
Vol. 37, No. 4, Debates in "World Archaeology" (Dec., 2005), pp. 544-551
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025090
Page Count: 8
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Beyond Crusades: How (Not) to Engage with Alternative Archaeologies
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Abstract

Archaeologists have often felt uneasy when encountering alternative (fringe, cult, fantastic, pseudo-) archaeologies. Some have suggested that alternative approaches and their results must be disproved, while others have been calling for better public understanding of science. My contribution takes a different point of view. I emphasize the social and cultural needs that both scientific and alternative archaeologies address and suggest that the main significance of archaeology does not lie in the specific insights gained about the past but in the very process of engaging with the material remains of the past in the present. Critical understanding and dialogue, not dismissive polemics, is the appropriate way to engage with the multiple pasts and alternative archaeologies in contemporary society.

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