Contextualization, spatial analysis, historical inquiry, and a deep interrogation of symbols are all critical methodologies for archaeologists when reconstructing the social resonance of material objects from the past.
This week, archaeologist Andrew Tharler (Ph.D. '19, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology) has penned an article for the online magazine Medium titled "Archaeology’s Lessons for Confederate Monuments" applying archaeological principles for the interrogation of Confederate monuments in the United States.
Andrew notes that the symbolism and spatial context of Confederate monuments rarely enter into discourse over their cultural presence in America. His analysis demonstrates the role that archaeology has to play in dispelling popular narratives of Confederate heritage and war memorialization that have particular resonance with America's far-right - exposing these monuments as post-Jim Crow era objects that are self-professedly white supremacist acts of intimidation against black communities.
Read his article here: "Archaeology’s Lessons for Confederate Monuments"
Andrew is currently a Lecturing Fellow with the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University.