Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum


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Plants and archaeology in Australia.

Unpacking the Collection

Oxford: Oxbow Books. Sydney's Landscape of Quarantine. In A Bashford Eds. London: Palgrave. In Robert J. Foster, Kathryn H. Leacock Eds. Black Collection , pp. Buffalo: Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Encounter, Engagement, and Object Stories. Torrence, R.

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The mark of marvellous ideas: Groote Eylandt rock art and the performance of cross-cultural relations. Canberra: National Museum of Australia Press. The Ideal and the Real: Cultural and personal transformations of archaeological research on Groote Eylandt, northern Australia.

Landscape Architecture in Latin America: Unpacking Theory, Practice, and Agency, Panel 1

In Laurajane Smith Eds. In Ian Lilley Eds. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing. Journals Clarke, A. World Archaeology , 49 3 , International Journal of Historical Archaeology , 20, Excavating ethnographic collections: negotiations and cross-cultural exchange in Papua New Guinea.

Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum

World Archaeology , 48 2 , Journal of Historical Geography , 52, Landscape Research , 40 8 , Battlefield or Gallery? A comparative analysis of contemporary mark-making practices in Sydney, Australia.

Traveling Exhibition Services – MSU Museum

Australian Archaeology , 78, Frederick, U. The territory passed into state property but there was uncertainty about the continuity of the population. The community mobilized due to the lack of information and the harassment they received for them to stop exploiting the natural resources of the area. They lived from coal mining, logging and hunting, which are inconsistent activities with the conservation of the park.

There were protests and the community of Agua Blanca, who claimed to have been founded in , could prove its legal status since , through the Ministerial Agreement The community has had many projects but its archeology project is the ultimate one, which has marked the history of the community in recent years. This was in large part due to the special relationship established with the archaeologists. In , Colin Mc Ewan went to the site for the first time and returned a year later to excavate for his doctoral thesis. The villagers were hired and trained to dig, draw topographic maps and process the post excavation material.

Apart from this, and facing the uncertainty regarding the continuity of the villagers in possession of their lands, these archaeologists became allies and mediators between the community and the park, national authorities, and foreign entities to whom they turned to in search of financing. By , the park authorities and the community had improved relations thanks to a change of director of the park and the role that archeology, as enhancer of the touristic attraction of the place, and archaeologists involved in that process took.

In that year, excavations were afforded by the Central Bank and there was an exhibition in the community house. The British Embassy provided grants to expand community orchards.. In , the archaeological area was fenced, the first tourist trail opened and cultural meetings began, as a forum for dissemination and communication among communities, as well as institutions and scientists.

Nevertheless, the alliance between archaeologists and the community in Agua Blanca generated resentment and the Central Bank decided to cut funding. By then, it was planned the construction of a pipeline that crossed the community territory, and funds of the entity responsible for the work were obtained to build the museum site of the Agua Blanca community. The archaeological project was continued for five years and created jobs but its effects were longer lasting because it allowed the villagers to learn about archeology -to the point of being able to judge the quality of projects proposed in the future - and generated awareness of the importance of heritage preservation together with the natural resources of the park.

In , the cultural center was remodeled with the support of the British Museum, new glass cases were installed and lighting was improved. In recent decades, the community and the park have kept an informal but stable alliance.


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Local tour guides are considered honorary rangers and the community enjoys the park infrastructure. Their self identification as communities descendents of the Pueblo Manta and the state recognition as such, as part of a legal context that is favorable, mark this new phase of the community of Agua Blanca.

The impact of archeology in the area had a strong influence on the local population who consider themselves as descendants of the inhabitants of these dwellings. The work of archaeologists has undoubtedly helped build awareness of the value of heritage and gave the community a new sense of existence. It is also noted that the archaeologists-community relationship was not intermediated by the state. There were other archaeologists in Agua Blanca following this participatory approach, being noteworthy Kimbra Smith's contribution, who promoted craftwork through working with tagua and Spondylus.

For the villagers, archeology is not only scientific research; it has an impact on the development of the community as a provider of employment, on the one hand, and supplies for tourism -through scientific information and objects for the museum- on the other. In fact, they differ from other communities in the area as they clearly know what they want; they work independently and maintain a relationship on an equal footing with researchers. Many were pioneers in their day. However, the community impact of archeology in these places was not as in Agua Blanca.

Mc Ewan and Silva in a recent publication highlight among the "lessons learned" from Agua Blanca that it is "vital to build on the needs expressed by the community, rather than to impose unwanted projects"; "The long-term benefits of preserving and managing cultural resources exceed short-term gains that provide sales for looters"; "The commitment of the community can make a positive and essential contribution to heritage management and conservation projects" MC EWAN and SILVA, The community of Agua Blanca has clear present objectives and future prospects in a climate of substantial autonomy.

They prefer being apart as much as possible from the state, which, on the other hand, has always remained absent, and this is a matter of complaint. Socio-cultural sustainability of the archaeological site: aspects to consider in its evaluation. The Constitution of Ecuador establishes among the rights of Good Living, the right of people to "build and maintain their own cultural identity In response to the lack of specific methodologies, the clear identification of the aspects that should be considered to assess the socio-cultural sustainability of an archaeological site, it was necessary to use two different general methods which can be supplemented to achieve the objectives.

Both deductive and inductive methodsare useful for identification, selection and implementation of criteria and indicators for assessing the sustainability of archaeological sites. Overall, the deductive method is applied to the review of the criteria for selection, appraisal and zoning of the archaeological and paleontological sites described by Endere and Prado and to the analysis of policies and strategies of the National Plan for Good Living in response to the achievement of objective 5 SENPLADES, The inductive method is used in the fieldwork, in which qualitative methodologies were employed, especially semi-structured interviews and participant observations.

The abovementioned observations were carried out on the site itself, participating in guided tours and various activities, including a ritual ceremony in one of the structures considered to have sacred value. Detailed records notes, recordings, photographs were obtained. Interviews were completed at research centers and offices of various officials of the Culture area. Based on the above, six major criteria were defined features and state of the site, management, perception, transmission of knowledge and experiences, economic support, and environmental protection , which include qualitative indicators to gauge the socio-cultural sustainability of an archaeological site integrating different aspects involved in the concept Table 1.

Later, these criteria were applied to the Community Tourism Center Agua Blanca, contemplating a qualitative rating scale: high, medium and low sustainability. Table 1.


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Criteria, indicators and definitions referred to in assessing the socio-cultural sustainability. The archaeological heritage is the material substrate of the intangible culture carried by the community members of Agua Blanca. The largest proportion of the site has not been excavated yet and it is presumed the existence of numerous in situ remains. For this reason, integrity is intact and is evaluated as high.

Additionally, since it is a protected area where there are no visible threats and which is permanently monitored, the preservation of the site is also considered high. No risks are associated with urban sprawl, mining works, road works, and industrial and shrimp activities, among others, as in other areas of the Ecuadorian coast. Both seasonal rains as the mentioned phenomenon help buried archaeological objects emerge as a result of increased surface runoff and intensified erosion.

Therefore, large objects usually appear but out of context with altered stratigraphy. In order to protect the archaeological heritage in these periods of instability, it is necessary to have a Contingency Plan. The actual or potential value for research is high. The excavated area is small relative to the size of the site and its potential may be assessed, at least in part, through geophysical surveys. In connection with the organization and planning, the community has shown a high capacity to carry out the proposed activities and to have a proactive attitude in their implementation.

Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum
Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum

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