AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: RETAINING THE ANCESTORS: ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION AND COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY AT SONGO MNARA, TANZANIA
Author: JEFFREY FLEISHER (Rice University), STEPHANIE WYNNE-JONES (British Institute in East Africa)   
Date/Time: Fri., 3:45 PM
Co-Author(s): JEFFREY FLEISHER (Rice University), STEPHANIE WYNNE-JONES (British Institute in East Africa) 
Abstract: During our field season at Songo Mnara, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the southern Tanzanian coast, a storm caused the collapse of the graveyard’s retaining wall. We quickly became involved in negotiations between UNESCO, local antiquities representatives, and the local residents in order to protect and conserve the graveyard. This paper relates the process through which that wall was rebuilt. We worked with the local community in a collaboration, which drew on the expertise of both parties. It became clear that community engagement is more than just good practice, instead being vital to the conservation of the archaeological remains and hence the conduct of our research. The case of Songo Mnara is an interesting example of how international heritage agendas, local historical memory and archaeological research can intersect to strengthen community ties to, and investment in, the monuments of the past. A ‘Ruins Committee’ had been set up independently by the villagers at the start of UNESCO’s involvement, in 2004. This committee’s motivation was to provide a voice to speak to external stakeholders, and to access perceived opportunities to work with UNESCO for financial reward. These concerns resonated through the collaboration we undertook in 2009. In an area where anthropologists have described a lack of identification with the physical remains by local people, the process of working with archaeologists and conservators has actually created a new relationship with the monuments, as tangible aspects of the remembered past.

Program Number: 3-0825
Session Title: NOT THE USUAL SUSPECTS: NEW DIRECTIONS IN COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): MORAG KERSEL (DePaul University), MEREDITH CHESSON (University of