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Mediating Nationalism and Archaeology: A Matter of Trust?

Sandra A. Scham
American Anthropologist
Vol. 100, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 301-308
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/683112
Page Count: 8
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Mediating Nationalism and Archaeology: A Matter of Trust?
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Abstract

Recognizing that the past is a property of value, archaeologists have traditionally presented themselves as "trustees" of that property. Yet they have in fact become contractors who try to divorce themselves from the consequences of their work. The two roles are very different, and there is much to be gained from re-creating the idea of archaeological trusteeship. A trustee is a disinterested protector of property for the beneficiaries; a contractor is responsible only to the signatories to the contract and has no impartial obligations. Recognizing the distinction is crucial to the argument that archaeologists can "make a difference" in how cultural property is negotiated.

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