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Title: Looting deconstructed : a study of non-professional engagements with the material past in Kozani, Greece
Author: Antoniadou, Ioanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 751X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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In dominant archaeological discourse, looting has been primarily discussed in connection with its assumed profit-related motives and the destruction it causes to the archaeological context of antiquities. Such ways of thinking, however valid they may be in some instances, result in an inadequate representation and understanding of looting, which conflates diverse forms of non-professional digging and search for antiquities, ignores the socio-cultural contexts they are embedded within, and undermines or disregards the objectives or perspectives of those perceived as ‘looters’. This thesis addresses these problems and attempts to deconstruct the blanket conceptualisation of looting that assimilates and denounces a range of acts, from a failure to register an antiquity, the unauthorised possession of an artefact, to an object’s sale for subsistence purposes. In light of this, I present and interpret cases of non-professional digging and collection (but not sale) of relics gathered from ethnographic research amongst local communities in Kozani in north-western Greece. The results of the ethnographic research, interwoven with the critically analysed impact of official archaeology’s epistemology and practice (applied in Greece and elsewhere), offers a multi-layered understanding of looting, which goes beyond professionalised notions and ethics. I contend that rather than being inspired by economic objectives, looting phenomena often involve an array of diverse, complex and ambiguous social activities, embedded in daily practices. This study of looting is essentially a study of non-professionals, who physically engage with the material past, in order to control the past’s materiality and symbolic meaning and eventually construct social power for themselves. On one level, it attempts to scrutinize the complex forms of reaction and resistance of ordinary people towards official archaeology. On a deeper level, it hopes to reveal the hybrid character of seemingly opposing practices. The control over antiquities and the desire for the symbolic and social power it generates, transcend professional and non-professional behaviours towards the material past.
Supervisor: Hamilakis, Yannis ; Johnson, Matthew ; Marshall, Yvonne ; Sophronidou, Marina ; Varkatsa, Foteini ; Penoglidis, Damianos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology