Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage

1st Edition

By Laurajane Smith


272 pages

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pub: 2004-07-22
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This controversial book is a survey of how relationships between indigenous peoples and the archaeological establishment have got into difficulty, and a crucial pointer to how to move forward from this point.

With lucid appraisals of key debates such as NAGPRA, Kennewick and the repatriation of Tasmanian artefacts, Laurajane Smith dissects the nature and consequences of this clash of cultures.

Smith explores how indigenous communities in the USA and Australia have confronted the pre-eminence of archaeological theory and discourse in the way the material remains of their past are cared for and controlled, and how this has challenged traditional archaeological thought and practice.

Essential reading for all those concerned with developing a just and equal dialogue between the two parties, and the role of archaeology in the research and management of their heritage.


'Essential reading … Well-written [and] easy to follow … a useful companion volume.' - Rodney Harrison, The Australian National University

'Laurajane Smith has produced a significant work that will hopefully stimulate archaeological departments in South African universities to pay more attention to educating future CRM practitioners. This book is compulsory reading for CRM practitioners, archaeology students and their professors alike.' – South African Archaeological Bulletin

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2 . The Cultural Politics of Identity: Defining the Problem 3. Archaeological Theory and the 'Politics' of the Past 4. Archaeology and the Context of Governance: Expertise and the State 5. Archaeological Stewardship: The Rise of Cultural Resource Management and the 'Scientific Professional' arcHaeologist 6. Significance Concepts and the Embedding of Processual Discourse in Cultural Resource Management 7. The Role of Legislation in the Governance of Material Culture in America and Australia 8. NAGPRA and Kennewick: Contesting Archaeological Govrnance in America 9. The 'Death of Archaeology': Contesting Archaeological Covernance in Australia 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Laurajane Smith is Lecturer in cultural heritage studies and archaeology at the University of York, UK. She previously taught Indigenous Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and worked as a cultural heritage consultant for many years. Her research interests include heritage and the construction and negotiation of cultural and social identities, and public policy and heritage management, archaeological theory and politics, feminist archaeology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology