Disentangling Contract Archaeology – Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2013

The WAC Inter-Congress “Disentangling Contract Archaeology” (Desvelando a arqueologia de contrato) was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil on the 3rd and 4th of June, 2013 (click here for the Inter-Congress banner). The Inter-Congress was funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico of Brazil, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and the World Archaeological Congress. The Inter-Congress was attended by over 100 people and created lively debates. Above all, it positioned a critical discussion about contract archaeology, suspiciously lacking in Brazil and most other countries. Following the idea that the Inter-Congress was only the start of other activities and actions against the uncritical complicity of archaeology with capitalism, of which contract archaeology is but one expression, the organizers now plan to proceed with the following.

First, the creation of a virtual platform (an “observatório,” as it is called in Brazil) for keeping an eye on contract-related issues and to stir discussions about them. The idea is to start with the Brazilian case and from here to grow outwards. There is plenty of work to do on this regard, such as networking with interested parties, for instance, the communities affected by the development projects for which contract archaeology works. Second, the organizers will explore the publication of some papers presented in the Inter-Congress, both as a guest-edited journal volume and as a book. Specifically, they plan to publish two edited books, one in Portuguese and other in Spanish, with papers ordered around similar blocks as those of the Inter-Congress: one setting the wider frame (archaeology and capitalism, the past as a commodity), another discussing contract archaeology more specifically, and the last one as a case study centered in Brazil.

For more information about this Inter-Congress, consult the program booklet.