Archaeology: Heritage of Indigenous Peoples
In many parts of the world archaeologists and anthropologists encounter diverse forms of cultural continuity: descendant communities maintain and cultivate traditional knowledge, religious ideas and customs that go back to ancient times.
This living heritage offers valuable opportunities for innovative research: for example, it may throw light on the meaning and function of archaeological artefacts and monuments.
Simultaneously, the connection between past and present stimulates historical consciousness, memory and identity, and as such may be a valuable asset in educative and developmental projects. Many of such descendant communities belong to “indigenous peoples”, i.e. peoples that have been colonised and have never obtained independence or, after national independence, still remain in a marginal social position, facing exploitation and discrimination (“internal colonialism”). Their heritage is often expropriated, while the living cultures and languages may face the danger of extinction.
This specialisation offers theoretical and practical orientations of how to work with local communities and how to conduct fruitful archaeological and anthropological research, including museum and heritage projects, in this challenging context. The specialization aims to give tools to understand the relevance of archaeology and heritage for the present and future social wellbeing of local communities around the world.