'History is written by the winners' is the received wisdom. This book explains why historical interpretation has to incorporate perspectives from those other than 'winners', and demonstrates archaeology's crucial role in this wide-ranging approach. The book draws more on Africa, Afro-America, Australasia and Oceania than on Europe, the source of the traditionally dominant perspective in archaeology. The four organizing themes of The Politics of the Past are the forms and consequences of the Eurocentric heritage, the conflicting perspectives of rulers and ruled, the significance of administrative and institutional rivalries, and the cleavages that divide professional from popular views of archaeology.
Archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and other scholars will find The Politics of the Past illuminating and provocative. It will enrich historical and archaeological inquiry and interpretation, and ramify their relevance for public policy.
'This book deals with ideas about cultural control and ownership and the reconstruction of past reality…Anyone who still thinks the past is, or can be, apolitical would do well to read it, whether their interest is in portable objects, in monuments or in abstract ideas.' - Antiquity
`An anthology containing vital material' - Tim Megarry, Greenwich University
'The essays in this volume are valuable and thought-provoking. - American Antiquity
'…these volumes retain their contemporary relevance and their value as collections or related papers.' - Harry Allen, Anthropology Department, University of Auckland.
'Well worth reading' - Man