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Archaeologists as Authors and the Stories of Sites: A Defense of Fiction in Archaeological Site Reporting

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Author: Mickel, Allison Jane
Advisor: Brown, Marley R.
Committee Members: Norman, Neil L.; Lowry, Richard
Issued Date: 5/13/2011
Subjects: Anthropology
Middle East
Archaeological Theory
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/13716
Description: Within the context of a continued pursuit within archaeological literature for diverse methods of producing archaeological understandings, I argue that fictional narrative as a writing technique has been grossly underutilized, and that its potential has not been realized. Although there has been some previous experimentation with writing fictional narrative in archaeology, the focus has generally been on creating historical fiction with invented past actors. Using the term 'fiction' both in its etymological sense of 'something fashioned or constructed,' and in its more vernacular sense of 'something creative and invented,' I maintain that archaeological literature would benefit from a greater engagement with fictional narrative in the realm of site reporting. By fictionalizing ourselves in our accounts of archaeological research, archaeologists stand to create more creative, responsible, multivocalic, and accessible products of the archaeological epistemological process. In order to demonstrate this assertion, I not only conduct a survey of the literature on archaeological theory, writing, and the precedents for fiction's appearance in site reporting, but also perform my own case study: a fictionalized account of the 2010 season's excavations at Bir Madhkur, a caravan station along the ancient Spice Route between Petra and Gaza. In this way, I illustrate by example how fiction is an effective way to explore the intertwined nature of knowledge and its creation.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology

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