Susan Terry Childs

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Boston U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-848

Approve Date

June 25, 2020

Project Title

Childs, Susan () "The Social Lives of Archaeological Repositories"

The purpose of the virtual workshop is to begin to problematize the archaeological repository, the facility that provides professional collections and curatorial services on a long-term basis. Although most anthropologists would agree that the archaeological repository depicted in the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is a stereotype, few have attempted to understand the repository as a site of social relations that operates to construct the past through its practices, policies, spaces, and human actors. We want to understand repositories as sites of knowledge production — as sites of power — by framing repositories as ethnographic places of networked actors that influence which artifacts and associated records to keep, which to toss, which research to permit, what artifacts to display and how; who owns the past; and who gets to narrate the story. This workshop aims to begin that discussion by investigating the many types of repositories and understanding outside perceptions from professionals representing the archaeological sectors of academia, cultural resources management, tribes, and state and federal government. An ultimate goal is to explore whether and how collaboration can be fostered among repositories and how all stakeholders can effectively cooperate to advance the discipline of archaeology on a sustainable path forward.