What Does Archaeology Have to Do with Nationalism?

by: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

What can excavations of archaeology and origin myths tell us about competing nation states?

In Ulrike Sommer’s book chapter “Archaeology and Nationalism,” she argues that the myths about our national pasts are often more politically relevant to the present and future. During a time when collective understandings of our national past and our national monuments seem to be in question not only across the U.S. but also across the world, Sommer’s words ring especially true.

At the start of her chapter, featured in the anthology Key Concepts in Public Archaeology, Sommer asserts that “[a]rcheology is closely related to the state both organisationally and ideologically.” She explains how “archaeology became entangled in origin narratives,” or in other words, how nation states look to historical and physical evidence in order to develop an origin myth about the nation itself….

Read the rest here at JSTOR Daily.

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