Archaeological Heritage and Social Conflict in Modern Greece and Cyprus
Published by: Indiana University Press
While the archaeological legacies of Greece and Cyprus are often considered to represent some of the highest values of Western civilization—democracy, progress, aesthetic harmony, and rationalism—this much adored and heavily touristed heritage can quickly become the stage for clashes over identity and memory.
In Contested Antiquity, Esther Solomon curates explorations of how those who safeguard cultural heritage are confronted with the best ways to represent this heritage responsibly. How should visitors be introduced to an ancient Byzantine fortification that still holds the grim reminders of the cruel prison it was used as until the 1980s? How can foreign archaeological institutes engage with another nation's heritage in a meaningful way? What role do locals have in determining what is sacred, and can this sense of the sacred extend beyond buildings to the surrounding land?
Together, the essays featured in Contested Antiquity offer fresh insights into the ways ancient heritage is negotiated for modern times.
Introduction: Contested Antiquity in Greece and Cyprus
Part I: Between nationalism, colonialism and crypto-colonialism: Historical perspectives and current implications
1. Hellas Mon Amour: Revisiting Greece's National "Sites of Trauma"
2. Archaeology and Politics in the Inter-War Period: The Swedish Excavations at Asine
3. Contested Perceptions of Archaeological Sites in Cyprus: Communities and their Claims on their Past
4. Pressed On in Press: Greek Cultural Heritage in the Public Eye: The Post-War Years
Part II: Spatial metaphors and ethnographic observations: heritage, memory and dissonance
5. The Gentrification of Memory: The Past as a Social Event in Thessaloniki of the Early Twenty-first Century
6. The Oracle of Dodona: Contestation over a "Sacred" Archaeological Landscape
7. Archaeological "Protection Zones" and the Limits of the Possible: Archaeological Law, Abandonment and Contested Spaces in Greece
Part III: Competing pasts
8. Heritage as Obstacle: Or Which View to the Acropolis?
9. Eptapyrgio, a Modern Prison inside a World Heritage Monument: Raw Memories in the Margins of Archaeology
10. Contemporary Art and "Difficult Heritage": Three Case Studies from Athens
It is fitting that archaeologists, whose profession played a key role in the establishment of Greece as a client state subservient to the European colonial powers, should today be a vocal majority in this extraordinarily rich critical review of archaeology's political role in Greece and Cyprus over the past two centuries. Contested Antiquity transcends the geographical boundaries of its subject, offering a comprehensive, thoroughly documented, and meticulously argued account that will serve for years to come as a model for the investigation of the impact of ideology and politics on serious scholarship.~Michael Herzfeld