Archaeologists, whether willingly or unwittingly, have played a role in promoting colonialist structures that oppress indigenous people in countries around the world. Nowhere has this been more evident today than in El Petén, Guatemala.
Oral tradition influences the way people interact with the social and physical world around them and transmits knowledge and institutions that affect cultural norms, behavior, and the environment.
Archaeology involves the interpretation of material culture from peoples in the past. But we rely on contemporary theoretical concepts and analytical tools to study the objects that we find.
The policy of restitution raises many questions. These questions are an invitation to reassess the role of museums, curators, and professionals within a system of appropriation, or rather possession and disaffection, which has failed to communicate the moral, historical, and scientific implications of separating an item from its historical context.
Preservation and dissemination of data are at the heart of efforts to digitize and make accessible collections of legacy data from archaeological excavations.
In Rwanda, the field of heritage production is dominated by the central government. National museums and memorials are part of the government’s efforts to establish a usable history for the country, where politicized divisions between ethnic groups, reinforced and reified during colonialism, resulted in a devastating genocide in 1994. Establishing a singular narrative and identity—along with the life-or-death stakes—means that the democratizing practices advocated within heritage scholarship circles are unlikely to gain traction.