The Voice of Authority

Most archaeologists, however relativist, would today accept that archaeological interpretation is and should be answerable to data. They would also acknowledge that this 'guarded' (Hodder 1991) or 'mitigated' (Wylie 1992) objectivity is necessary in order to counter political misuse of the past. But in my view, it is wrong, even dangerous, to assume that some commitment to objectivity will protect archaeology from misuse.
(Hodder 1999: 159)

…foregrounding archaeologists' responsibility and answerability to multiple interested publics - and acknowledging that these interests are often conflicting - has launched vehement counter-critiques bemoaning the imperilment of academic freedom and scientific rigour in the face of the politicisation of archaeology.

Thus in order to account more responsibly for the situatedness of all knowledge construction and the diversity and conflict of lived experiences, we should not only seek plurality, openness and dialogue in the many voices that might recursively contribute to all stages of archaeological research, but also seek this plurality in our representations of the past.
(Joyce 2002: 74-75).

Dr Liliana Janik | Oct 2003
Further reading:
  • Hodder, I., 1999, The Archaeological Process, Routledge, London
  • Joyce, R.A., 2002, The Languages of Archaeology, Blackwell, Oxford
  • Praetzellis, A., 2000, Death by Theory, Altamira Press, Walnut Creek