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Publication Detail
Exploring attitudes towards the archaeological past: Two case studies from majority Muslim communities in the Nile valley
There is a dearth of studies on intercultural dynamics in Southwest Asian and North African archaeology, not least since conventional narratives assert that present-day majority Muslim communities in these regions are not interested in the pre-Islamic past. In this paper I argue that, despite seemingly overcoming such positions, collaborative projects may actually exacerbate them through perceiving local communities as deficient, in need of being taught and re-united with “their” heritage. Using data from two current projects in Sudan, I explore actual motivations of local publics to engage with the archaeologically approachable past and the interests they voice vis-à-vis archaeological heritage. I suggest that emphasizing these dimensions effects a shift in how nonarchaeological partners in collaborative projects are conceptualized. This opens new ground for engagement, as changing perceptions impact on interactions and, in consequence, power relations between protagonists.
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