Ramallah August 2009 – General Papers


 

Effects of Contested Management of Archaeological sites in the Hebron district

Palestinian cultural heritage has been managed and operated by several administrations since more than a century ago. Each administration has had its own way of management, protection, methods of research, excavations and political purposes, making Palestinian cultural heritage one of the most intensively excavated and subsequently disturbed? worldwide. According to the Palestinian- Israeli transition accords (1993, and 1994-5) the Palestinian Authority took over the responsibility for archaeology in Area “A” and “B” which represent circa 40% of the occupied Palestinian land.  In spite of this hindrance, it was the first time that the Palestinian people were given the opportunity to manage their own heritage.

This paper will attempt to illustrate and discuss the conditions of archaeological sites in the Hebron district in the period between 1993 (after the Oslo agreement) and the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, under two contested administrations: the Palestinian Department of Antiquities on the one hand, and the Israeli antiquities staff officer on the other, who is still responsible for managing and protecting the archaeological sites in Area “C”.

Clandestine excavations, illicit trafficking  and the state of conservation of Palestinian Cultural Heritage will be explored to demonstrate the protection, conservation and development  dynamics of archaeological sites in this area and how contested management and protection by the two administrations affect the safeguarding of the Palestinian cultural heritage.

In light of these factors, this paper also will briefly trace the illegal Israeli excavations, so called “salvage excavations” and the devastating impact of the separation wall on the archaeological sites and cultural landscape of the Hebron area.

Ahmed Rjoob
PhD candidate Student
University of Ferrara
Italy

 

Egyptology as structural violence?

This paper argues that the discipline of Egyptology, as it currently exists, unknowingly occupies a neo-colonial position, a position which has occurred as a result of a specific historical trajectory of disciplinary development tied to state elites. Moreover, this position does not simply result in a situation where Western Egyptologists dominate their Egyptian counterparts. Rather, all are unknowingly implicated in perpetuating the position, raising difficult questions for anyone wishing to understand the nature of exclusionary discourses.

The paper concentrates on the career of Walter Bryan Emery (1903-1971), former Edwards Professor of Egyptology at University College London and, prior to that, long-time employee of the government-controlled Egyptian Antiquities Service. Through a critical biography of Emery – utilising his publications and his private correspondence, amongst others – the colonial basis of Egyptology can be illustrated as developing through specific networks and institutions until the present day, sustaining a body of thought which, through its circular reasoning, sets off Egypt both as inferior to the West and, ironically, as part of its development. Egyptologists have, in the sense of Abu el-Haj, consistently created Facts on the Ground. This paper will show how and, by extension, demonstrate why this situation must cease.

William Carruthers
Institute of Archaeology
University College London