Nationalism and Public Archeology Term Paper by Nicky

A look at archeological projects that are based on nationalistic motives.
# 146001 | 2,061 words | 8 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper examines how archeology has served nationalistic goals, particularly when excavations reinforce the desires of a country or government. Two case studies are cited, which according to the paper demonstrate the power of nationalism, particularly when the remains of the past serve as weapons for elevating and protecting a nation's heritage. First, the paper examines archeological projects in the Republic of Ireland, implying that better funding is given to projects that focus on the post-Christian epoch rather earlier cultures, such as the Vikings. Then, the paper points to the government of Israel as focusing only on Jewish or Biblical excavation projects rather than those geared toward the more recent Palestinian presence in the Holy Land. The paper concludes with political statements against the Israeli government regarding the country's Palestinian population.

From the Paper:

"Located on a terrace at the edge of cultivated land which overlooks the estuary of the River Deben in Suffolk, England, Sutton Hoo is believed to be the principle burial site of Anglo-Saxon kings dating back to the 7th century A.D. In 1939, a remarkable discovery was made at this site, then owned by Mrs. E.M. Pretty who "entrusted the archeological work to the Ipswich Museum and to famed archeologist Basil Brown" (Rahtz, 1998, p. 175), the man responsible for uncovering the remains of a Viking ship of which only corroded clench nails, soil discoloration and textural differences in the surrounding sand remained. But Brown then realized that this was no ordinary ship, for he concluded that it was a burial-ship which somehow had managed not to be robbed of its treasures in antiquity. This burial site turned out to be immensely important, for the remains of the ship held gold, silver and other Viking treasure; amazingly, Mrs. Pretty decided to bequest to Great Britain all that had been found at the site, one of the largest gifts of its kind ever given to a sovereign nation."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bronner, Yigal and Neve Gordon. (2008). Digging for trouble. [Internet], Available from [Accessed 30 December 2008].
  • Bruce-Mitford, Robert. (2004) The sutton hoo ship burial. Vol. 1. London, the British Museum.
  • Jameson, John H. (1997) Presenting archeology to the public: digging for the truth. Los Angeles, Alta Mira Press.
  • McGimsey, Charles R. (2002) Public archeology. New York, Seminar Press.
  • Newman, Conor. (2005) Misinformation, disinformation and downright distortion: the battle to save tara, 1999-2005. Uninhabited Ireland: Tara, the M3 and Public Spaces in Galway. Arlen House.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Nationalism and Public Archeology (2010, December 12) Retrieved June 05, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Nationalism and Public Archeology" 12 December 2010. Web. 05 June. 2023. <>