Controlling the Past, Owning the Future
The Political Uses of Archaeology in the Middle East
The diverse contributions to this volume share a common framework in which the political use of the past is viewed as a process of social discourse. According to this model, political appropriations are seen as acts of social communication designed to accrue benefits to particular groups. Thus the contributors pay special attention to competing social visions and the filters these impose on archaeological data. But they are also attentive to the potential consequences of their own work. Indeed, as the editors remind us, “people’s lives may be affected, sometimes dramatically, because of the material remains that surround them.”
Rounding out this important volume are critiques by two top scholars who summarize and synthesize the preceding chapters.