Angie Blumberg
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Archaeology from a distance
in British literature and archaeology, 1880– 1930
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This brief coda considers how archaeological methods have changed since the mid twentieth century with the rise of aerial archaeology and remote sensing, and queries how representations of the archaeological encounter may likewise change to reflect the particular conditions of our own modernity. The coda connects Paul Nash’s use of aerial photographs of archaeological sites in his mid-twentieth-century paintings to recent re-valuations in both archaeology and literary scholarship of critical distance. Addressing how archaeologists during the Covid-19 pandemic have turned to remote data-collecting techniques, discussing the rise of distant reading practices, and considering the concept of ‘shadow sites’—shapes and structures made visible only at a distance and in certain light—this coda ponders how the shift from intimate, proximate excavation techniques to more distanced approaches might provide new ways of knowing and representing the past.

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