Archaeological Ethnography, Heritage Management, and Community Archaeology: A Pragmatic Approach from Crete

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Kyriakidis, Evangelos ; Anagnostopoulos, Aris (2016)

This article examines the introduction of archaeological ethnography as an approach to establish positioned research and bring context-specific and reflexive considerations into community archaeology projects. It considers recent cri-tiques of heritage management in archaeology and the role of archaeologists as experts in it, contending that smaller and less prominent sites exist in different contexts and pose different problems than large-scale projects usually addressed in the literature. We describe how the ‘Three Peak Sanctuaries of Central Crete’ project, investigating prehistoric Minoan ritual sites, involves communities and stakeholders and what demands the latter pose on experts in the field. Archae-ological work is always already implicated in local development projects which create and reproduce power hierarchies. It is therefore important that archaeol-ogists maintain their critical distance from official heritage discourses, as they are materialized in development programmes, while at the same time engaging with local expectations and power struggles; they also have to critically address and position their own assumptions. We use examples from our community archae-ology project to propose that these goals can be reached through archaeological ethnographic fieldwork that should precede any archaeological project to inform its methodological decisions, engage stakeholders, and collaboratively shape heritage management strategies.
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