Theme 01:  Archaeology and Development

Peter G. Gould (University of Pennsylvania)

Development—economic growth and the political and social changes associated with it—has become deeply enmeshed with archaeology. Archaeologists are underwriting community development projects, contending with industrial or infrastructure developers, making their livings employed as commercial archaeologists, and working with communities seeking either to benefit from development or to protect traditions from the impact of development. National and international protocols intended to protect and promote heritage and archaeology are encountering obstacles from diverse and sometimes unanticipated directions rooted in development imperatives. Not surprisingly, the discipline is at odds concerning these trends.

Archaeologists are at once repelled by the threat posed by development to traditional cultures and the archaeological record; dependent increasingly on tourism, resource extraction or infrastructure development to fund archaeological exploration and conservation; and balancing the anthropologist’s or archaeologist’s desire to preserve material and intangible culture with local communities’ desire for the material and intangible fruits of development. This theme is intended to explore the intersection of archaeology and development in all of its manifestations. We start with the view that it is time for archaeologists to move beyond mere description of the difficulties associated with development. What is needed is in-depth analysis of the contending social, political, and economic forces involved in development, and exploration of the policies and practices best suited to manage those forces. Sessions organized under this theme should seek to make progress in the search for ethical clarity and practical impact as archaeologists engage with development issues. Session organizers should seek to assemble presenters who collectively can address focused themes from complimentary perspectives.

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