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Indiana Jones: Myth, Reality and 21st Century Archaeology

Indiana Jones: Myth, Reality and 21st Century Archaeology

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March 19th 2014:Without a Trace? Rethinking the Place of the Dead in Historical Accounts of the Past

In Madagascar today, and in the recent past, the dead are understood to inhabit the world alongside the living. Accounts of the 19th century tell of people possessed by the dead, of ghosts roaming abroad, and of the care that must be taken around them. How can archaeologists and anthropologists provide space in historical narrative for entities that we might consider to be imaginary or nonexistent? How do we acknowledge the agency of the dead for people in the past? For Columbia University’s Dr. Zoë Crossland, this means attending to the material signs of the dead – whether tombs and stand

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Featured Guest

Zoë Crossland

Zoë Crossland is based in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her interests lie in semiotic archaeology, and archaeologies of death and the body. She writes on Madagascar, forensics, and historic burial practices in the United Kingdom, with a focus on the archaeology of the last 500 years and of the contemporary world. Crossland examines situations where new beliefs and practices are introduced, and the conflicts and negotiations that are prompted by their introduction. She works through a variety of case studies, including the archaeology of mission, and forensic exhumation to understand the material-semiotic formations through which apparently incompatible attitudes and
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