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Title: Archaeological discourse at Megiddo, Gezer and Masada : an historiographic interpretation of trends
Author: Farrington, N. H.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis addresses three questions: firstly, how do archaeological interpretations come to exist in the manner in which they do? Secondly, how are they established and maintained as fact? And lastly, how are they discarded in favour of alternative interpretations? Using the example of the area now known as Israel and literature relating to the case study sites of Megiddo, Gezer and Masada, from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day, this thesis examines how archaeological knowledge is created in text. The way archaeological knowledge is constructed, produced, and presented is examined historiographically, and using methods of discourse analysis, largely based on James Gee’s (2005) ‘language-in-use’ techniques.; In a move away from traditional studies of Israeli archaeology which have focused on nationalism and bias, the thesis investigates a number of themes in the writing of archaeology. Firstly, it examines the evolution of interpretation in a number of key areas at Megiddo, Gezer and Masada. It analyses how authors deal with certainty and doubt, and disagreement and conflict in archaeological writing. This thesis examines the ways in which text (specifically the Bible) is used in archaeology. Narrative themes such as ideas of progress, decline and quantity are examined, which display value judgement by the authors. Finally, concepts involved in the writing of archaeology in both academic and public arenas are analysed. This thesis concludes that archaeological discourse is continually altering due to new methods, techniques, and fashions, but that the structure of discourse remains relatively constant over time. It finds the writing of archaeology is an exercise in power and ownership, and uncertainty is a key aspect of archaeological research and archaeological writing; ultimately, though archaeology and its practitioners may strive for ‘truth’ in various forms, the most that can be hoped for is an interpretation. This thesis concludes that elements of discourse are never fully discarded though they may go out of fashion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available