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From Hollywood to Holy War: On the Unpredictable Social Life of Archaeological Ideas

  • 17 Sep 2013
  • 6:30 PM
  • The George Washington University, 1957 E Street NW, Room 113 Washington, DC
Sponsored by the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute

A Lecture by Dr. Neil Silberman,
Coordinator of Projects and Policy Initiatives at The Center for Heritage and Society, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Historical facts and theories are not the only outcomes of archaeological digs.  Visions of space aliens, whip-toting adventurers, biblical heroes, hidden treasure, and divinely chosen peoples inspire con-men, demagogues, and religious fundamentalists all over the world to persuade people to do some crazy things.  Some of the effects are relatively harmless fantasies; others inspire mobs to loot museums and destroy ancient monuments.  And they can lead to all-out cultural warfare against populations who do not share the same historical narratives their leaders or conquerors do.  This lecture will explore some of the ways that archaeological images and ideas exert powerful effects on the political, social, and religious upheavals of the 21st century in places like Cairo, Baghdad, India, Timbuktu, and Las Vegas in ways that archaeologists themselves often fail to recognize.

Lecture is free and open to the public, no RSVP required

For more information, contact: capitolarchaeologicalinstitute@gmail.com 

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