Robert James Vigar
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9933
Approve DateOctober 25, 2019
Project TitleVigar, Robert (Pennsylvania, U. of) "My World, My Earth is a Ruin: Dispossession, Repossession and Archaeological Practice in Egyptian Nubia," supervised by Dr. Robert Leventhal
The Nubian community in Egypt suffered a series of devastating events during the early twentieth century from the construction of the Aswan High and Low Dam. This resulted in the forced dislocation of the indigenous Nubian population from their ancestral lands. Whilst these were historical events, acts of dispossession of land and livelihood continue to this day. My project seeks to interrogate land dispossession and subsequent acts of repossession among the indigenous Nubian community in Egypt, and how they are implicated in the archaeological endeavor. In this study, archaeological site looting is framed as ‘repossession’ and, along with processes of dispossession, rendered the object of ethnographic inquiry. I will conduct a 12-month ethnography in the village of Gharb Aswan, collecting randomly sampled household surveys, conducting semi-structured interviews, and practicing participant observation. This research will inform and contribute to the literature on dispossession, provide an alternative theoretical framework for understanding archaeological site looting, and highlight the position of archaeological practice towards local communities. With restorative methodologies in mind, this research can hopefully open spaces for constructive dialogue, the narration of alternative histories, and production of equitable futures.