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Archeology Constructing the Past

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Lise W.
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documents in English
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case study
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4 pages
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General public
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  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. Conclusion

Archeological findings provide a way in which pieces of the past can be discovered. This information is useful for providing insight as to how we've evolved technologically and socially. However, it has become increasingly difficult in determining how this information should be circulated. The way in which this information is released to the public can dramatically affect how the display of the past is interpreted. These interpretations are a part of issues that affect the public today. They include debates on ownership, identity, ethnicity, gender, heritage, and nationalism. In particular, this paper will analyze how the interpretation of Archeology has reproduced the past in addition to enforcing social values and ideologies.

As media is becoming an increasingly large part of public life, it has also transitioned into an educational tool. In the hopes of releasing Archeological findings to the public the discoveries are now displayed through media. Whether it is to educate or entertain, media has constructed a new way in which the public can digest the past. The three modes of media will be explored in this paper it will include the use of museums, programming such as National Geographic, and a movie created by Disney. These three provide a unique perspective of how the past is portrayed to the general public. Although it is great that Archeology has found its way into our magazines and TV screens media has also created problematic situations in which the past is more constructed than factual. The room for interpretation is endless in that cultural narratives and stories of the ?other' may be misinterpreted or wrongly portrayed.

[...] These portrayals are problematic because they construct a past that is not valid and contribute to an unrealistic depiction of Archeology. Reference 1. Gero, J. and Root, D. 1996. Public presentations and private concerns: Archaeology in the pages of National Geographic. In Contemporary Archaeology in Theory, pp. 531- 548. Edited by R. Preucel and I. Hodder. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishing. 2. Gifford-Gonzalez, D. 1995. The Drudge-on-the-Hide. Archaeology 48(3): 84. 3. Silverman, H. 2002. Groovin' to ancient Peru. A critical analysis of Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. Journal of Social Archaeology 2(3): 298-322. [...]


[...] Archeological findings provide a way in which pieces of the past can be discovered. This information is useful for providing insight as to how we've evolved technologically and socially. However, it has become increasingly difficult in determining how this information should be circulated. The way in which this information is released to the public can dramatically affect how the display of the past is interpreted. These interpretations are a part of issues that affect the public today. They include debates on ownership, identity, ethnicity, gender, heritage, and nationalism. [...]

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