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Title: Beyond identity : the socio-economic impacts of archaeology on a non-descendant community in Sudan
Author: Bradshaw, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 1597
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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The impact of 'global' archaeology on 'local' communities that live upon or beside archaeological sites is a question of great importance and an emerging topic in archaeological discourse. The studies that have taken place so far have focused mostly on how archaeology is used in the construction of identity in 'descendant' communities, that is, communities which claim an ancestral link to the ancient inhabitants of the archaeological sites. However, these studies have tended to sideline the many 'non-descendant' communities that exist across the world and who are equally subject to the archaeological phenomenon; they have also largely neglected to consider archaeology's not inconsiderable socio-economic impacts. Using a range of investigatory models and analytical frameworks, this study therefore seeks to go 'beyond identity' to illuminate the impacts of archaeology on local communities through an ethnographic case-study of a non-descendant community living amid ancient 'Nubian' archaeological sites in Sudan's Nile Valley. In doing so it contributes to the relatively new field of archaeological ethnography, as spearheaded by scholars such as Meskell (2005) and Hamilakis (2011). The study finds that although the residents living in the case-study community do not identify with ancient Nubia, let alone ancient Nubians, both of which the archaeological sites officially represent, the sites are nevertheless endowed with significant cultural and historical meaning. This meaning is, however, being eroded: a mixture of increasing religious orthodoxy and the alienating effects of archaeological site management plans are both contributing to this decline. In addition to, or perhaps now in place of, cultural and historical connections, this study finds that the community residents frame archaeology's impact, or lack thereof, in economic terms. And, although most scholars have assumed that archaeology's main economic impact comes through its ability to stimulate tourism, in the case-study area it is archaeological employment that has the most important economic impact. Indeed, such is the scale of its importance, it has a tangible knock-on effect on social and political relationships between the community residents. Once again, the study finds that archaeological site management in the case-study area is part of this issue, as it has been experienced as a slow process of economic dispossession. Among other things, this study therefore concludes that site management plans cannot be separated from economic, or cultural, concerns.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral