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We discuss the important – but rarely scrutinized – role of archaeology in the constitution of Greece and Israel as contemporary crypto-colonized states, defined by Herzfeld as countries with a strong national sentiment that serve as buffer zones and whose political independence is accompanied by massive economic dependency. We elaborate on what this crypto-colonizing process means for the two societies.
We explore the inherently racialized premises of colonial–national modernity and of imperial and national archaeologies, juxtaposing them with the contradictions and fluidity inherent in “Greek” and “Israeli” identities. This is followed by a brief critique of the reductionist, and often self-serving, roll-out of ancient DNA studies and of their political co-optation.
In this chapter we discuss the origins of Greek and Israeli archaeology in 19th-century concerns that accompanied European colonialism, the relation of archaeology to emerging Hellenic and Zionist nationalisms, and the enduring impact of imperial structures in 20th-century national archaeologies. We conclude with a brief consideration of the place of archaeology in the long history of Jewish–Hellenic entanglement, especially with respect to concepts of the idealized body.
In view of the enduring colonial and nationalist legacies that permeate current archaeological practice, we reflect here on ways to reimagine archaeology as decolonizing action. What is it in archaeology itself ‒ in its origins, in its methods, in the way archaeologists think and act ‒ that must be reimagined and redesigned?
In this chapter, we explore the concept of purity and the processes of purification in their archaeological as well as broader national expressions. The discussion touches on aesthetic and religious conceptions of a pure, sacralized past, on the removal of living people from archaeological landscapes, and on the modernist separation of past from present, science from culture, and of the rational from the affective.
A brief recapitulation of the main themes of our dialog, and a reminder of the affective and sensorial power of the archaeological and its materials, and of their potential to be both unsettling and untimely.
Archaeology, Nation, and Race is a must-read book for students of archaeology and adjacent fields. It demonstrates how archaeology and concepts of antiquity have shaped, and have been shaped by colonialism, race, and nationalism. Structured as a lucid and lively dialogue between two leading scholars, the volume compares modern Greece and modern Israel – two prototypical and influential cases – where archaeology sits at the very heart of the modern national imagination. Exchanging views on the foundational myths, moral economies, and racial prejudices in the field of archaeology and beyond, Hamilakis and Greenberg explore topics such as the colonial origins of national archaeologies, the crypto-colonization of the countries and their archaeologies, the role of archaeology as a process of purification, and the racialization and 'whitening' of Greece and Israel and their archaeological and material heritage. They conclude with a call for decolonization and the need to forge alliances with subjugated communities and new political movements.
The role and significance of fish and fishing in the ancient Near East has been little studied. A new assemblage of fish remains and fishing gear recovered from Bronze Age Bet Yerah on the Sea of Galilee, however, offers insights into the transition from village to town life, and illuminates interactions between local populations and incoming groups. The assemblage also reveals temporal and spatial variations in the utilisation of local fish resources. As the first such assemblage obtained from a systematically sampled Early Bronze Age stratigraphic sequence in the Southern Levant, it highlights the contribution of secondary food-production and -consumption activities to the interpretation of socio-cultural change.