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Andrzej Grzegorczyk

The Kulmhof extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem was the first camp set up by the Nazis to exterminate Jews during the Second World War. The history of Kulmhof has long been an area of interest for academics, but despite thorough research it remains one of the least-known places of its kind among the public. Studies of the role of archaeology in acquiring knowledge about the functioning of the camp have been particularly compelling. The excavations carried out intermittently over a thirty-year period (1986–2016), which constitute the subject of this article, have played a key role in the rise in public interest in the history of the camp.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
A reassessment
Jon Seligman, Paul Bauman, Richard Freund, Harry Jol, Alastair McClymont and Philip Reeder

The Ponar-Paneriai base, the main extermination site of Vilna-Vilnius, began its existence as a Red Army fuel depot in 1940. After Nazi occupation of the city in 1941 the Einsatzgruppen and mostly Lithuanian members of the Ypatingasis būrys used the pits dug for the fuel tanks for the murder of the Jews of Vilna and large numbers of Polish residents. During its operation, Ponar was cordoned off, but changes to the topography of the site since the Second World War have made a full understanding of the site difficult. This article uses contemporary plans and aerial photographs to reconstruct the layout of the site, in order to better understand the process of extermination, the size of the Ponar base and how the site was gradually reduced in size after 1944.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Kitty S. Millet

This article has two aims: to examine the effects of victim proximity to crematoria ashes and ash pits both consciously and unconsciously in a subset of Holocaust survivors, those who were incarcerated at the dedicated death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau; and to contrast these effects, the subject positions they produce, with their suppression as the basis both for a strategy of survival during incarceration and for a reimagined identity after the war. Within a cohort of four survivors from Rudolf Reder (Belzec), Esther Raab (Sobibor), Jacob Wiernik (Treblinka) and Shlomo Venezia (Auschwitz), I trace the ways in which discrete memories and senses became constitutive in the formation of the subject prior to and after escape – the experience of liberation – so that essentially two kinds of subjects became visible, the subject in liberation and the subject of ashes. In conjunction with these two kinds of subjects, I introduce the compensatory notion of a third path suggested both by H. G. Adler and Anna Orenstein, also Holocaust survivors, that holds both positions together in one space, the space of literature, preventing the two positions from being stranded in dialectical opposition to each other.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Archaeology, networks, and the Smithsonian Institution, 1876–79
James E. Snead

Intricate networks of collectors and institutions have been fundamental elements of the infrastructure of archaeology. Informal, fluid networks particularly characterized communities of antiquarian interest in the nineteenth century United States, when limited institutional development coincided with increased public interest in indigenous relics. Competition over American antiquities intensified during the 1870s, a period marked both by increased regional interest in the indigenous past and national demand sparked by the 1876 Centennial Exposition. In this effort the Smithsonian’s two archaeologists, Charles Rau and Otis Tufton Mason, fell back on the time-honored mechanism of a circular, dispatched through their national network. This document, ‘Circular 316: In Regard to American Antiquities,’ generated an enormous response. What one contemporary called an ‘undigested mass of information’ is actually a unique account of a complex pattern. The history of archaeological practice that emerges is one not of a steady drive toward professional accountability and standards, but instead of motivated actors pursuing personal ambitions associated with the exploration of the past in a mode that directly reflects the cultural and social context of the United States in the 1870s.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology

The dynamic processes of knowledge production in archaeology and elsewhere in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly viewed within the context of negotiation, cooperation and exchange, as the collaborative effort of groups, clusters and communities of scholars. Shifting focus from the individual scholar to the wider social contexts of her work, this volume investigates the importance of informal networks and conversation in the creation of knowledge about the past, and takes a closer look at the dynamic interaction and exchange that takes place between individuals, groups and clusters of scholars in the wider social settings of scientific work. Various aspects of and mechanisms at work behind the interaction and exchange that takes place between the individual scholar and her community, and the creative processes that such encounters trigger, are critically examined in eleven chapters which draw on a wide spectrum of examples from Europe and North America: from early modern antiquarians to archaeological societies and practitioners at work during the formative years of the modern archaeological disciplines and more recent examples from the twentieth century. The individual chapters engage with theoretical approaches to scientific creativity, knowledge production and interaction such as sociology and geographies of science, and actor-network theory (ANT) in their examination of individual–collective interplay. The book caters to readers both from within and outside the archaeological disciplines; primarily intended for researchers, teachers and students in archaeology, anthropology, classics and the history of science, it will also be of interest to the general reader.

Open Access (free)
The first Dutch excavation in Italy, 1952–58
Arthur Weststeijn and Laurien de Gelder

Dutch collectors, antiquarians, academics and (museum) archaeologists have explored the ancient heritage of the Mediterranean for over four centuries. Nevertheless, the institutionalised practice of archaeology in these areas is a relatively young discipline. This chapter deals specifically with the birth of Dutch archaeology in Italy. The first Dutch excavations, under the aegis of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), started in the 1950s and continued for more than a decade. This chapter examines the disciplinary infrastructure and the social, political and intellectual contexts of the first Dutch dig in Italy. Two issues are central in this research. One is to understand better the changing social, intellectual and political networks that commence and evolve during the process of an archaeological fieldwork project in a foreign country. The second is to place the many narratives produced by these academic networks in their contemporary contexts. This chapter deals with the questions: In which political context did foreign archaeological practice in Italy emerge? Who were the Dutch scholars that started the first excavation project? Which institutional context made the first Dutch excavation in Italy possible? Why dig beneath the Santa Prisca church?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Felix Kanitz and Balkan archaeology
Vladimir V. Mihajlović

This chapter examines one network, webbed around Austrian autodidact Felix Kanitz (1829–1904) at the beginning of the institutional phase of Serbian archaeology. Throughout the greatest part of its history, archaeology in Serbia was practised within the wider field of, theoretically conservative, Yugoslav archaeology. Hence, Kanitz's iconic status in Serbian archaeology is shown through the fact that even today, more than 150 years after he published his first book on Roman heritage in Serbia, his works are the starting point of almost every archaeological project in the country. His advisers on Serbian topics and those who accompanied him in Serbia were almost all tightly connected to an imperialistic practice. Put differently, Kanitz created a kind of gentlemen's club, consisting of people who shared the same language, but also the same cultural values – Central European cultural values in particular. Both intermediary and intermediated, Kanitz, who was not trained as an archaeologist but was deeply tucked into the fold of Habsburg ‘frontier colonialism’, created an elaborate Europe-wide network that produced and, following that, transmitted knowledge on the Roman archaeology of Serbia.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
The case of Oscar Montelius and Italy
Anna Gustavsson

This chapter will discuss networks, exchange of ideas and knowledge production related to the emergence of a professional, European archaeology during the period c. 1870–1900. It draws from archival research on correspondence between primarily Oscar Montelius and Italian scholars. What structures, channels of communication and dissemination of knowledge can be traced in the source material? The chapter examines these questions and presents examples of how networks were formed, how communication worked and on what premises scientific questions and artefacts were discussed. What theoretical and methodological perspectives might be useful to examine these issues?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought-collective according to the case of Serbian archaeology
Monika Milosavljević

While the history of archaeology is commonly considered as progressive, a linear development of scientific knowledge which invariably passes through four paradigmatic stages, the history of Serbian archaeology has evolved under numerous stimuli and found itself under the influence of local social conservatism in Yugoslavia throughout most of the twentieth century. There is a general consensus that archaeological concepts, practices, theories and methods originating from a west European context are adopted only in a delayed fashion into peripheral environments (such as Serbia). This would falsely imply that the subsequent development of archaeology in other regions has the same objectives in mind, which need not be the case for all movements of thought. The intersection of the theory of the thought-collective and the history of ideas in archaeology prompts specific areas for research, including questions that indicate where the epistemological limitations of archaeology in different historical contexts could be on the basis of informal aspects of communication among archaeologists. The example of Serbian archaeology is analysed using Fleck’s concepts to better view their strengths and weaknesses.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Open Access (free)
Clusters of knowledge
Julia Roberts and Kathleen Sheppard
in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology