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Bronwyn Labrum

15 Collecting, curating and exhibiting cross-cultural material histories in a post-settler society Bronwyn Labrum Introduction: a history curator looks back (and forward) This chapter is a ‘think piece’ about history curating in a postcolonial context through a focus on objects. My field is Aotearoa New Zealand, a former British colony in the South Pacific. I want to raise issues to do with Pākehā (European, non-Indigenous) curatorship in relation to, and also in contrast with, Indigenous collections and displays. I pose the questions: What does a twenty

in Curatopia
Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Cambodia’s bones
Fiona Gill

The display of human remains is a controversial issue in many contemporary societies, with many museums globally removing them from display. However, their place in genocide memorials is also contested. Objections towards the display of remains are based strongly in the social sciences and humanities, predicated on assumptions made regarding the relationship between respect, identification and personhood. As remains are displayed scientifically and anonymously, it is often argued that the personhood of the remains is denied, thereby rendering the person ‘within’ the remains invisible. In this article I argue that the link between identification and personhood is, in some contexts, tenuous at best. Further, in the context of Cambodia, I suggest that such analyses ignore the ways that local communities and Cambodians choose to interact with human remains in their memorials. In such contexts, the display of the remains is central to restoring their personhood and dignity.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The manifold materialities of human remains
Claudia Fonseca
Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido

In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or predictable scripts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Always believe in your soul, You’ve got the power to know, You’re indestructible, Always believe in, ‘Cos you are Gold Spandau Ballet Ancient Egypt is synonymous with a surfeit of archaeologically recovered, miraculously preserved things : ostentatious material wealth focused on the idealised body, produced by seemingly mysterious lost artistry, and all motivated by an apparently unshakable belief in an afterlife existence. It is a combination – gold, sex, art

in Golden Mummies of Egypt
A material and processual account of image making
Agni Prijatelj

8 Neolithic and Copper Age stamps in the Balkans: a material and processual account of image making Agni Prijatelj Stamps are some of the strangest tools from Neolithic and Copper Age settlements across the Balkans: whilst more than 430 have been preserved across some 175 sites (Makkay 1984, 2005), their imprints remain absent from the archaeological record. Indeed, whilst the absence of materials with stamp impressions remains the central problem in any study of these artefacts, I argue here that the tools themselves are far from mute. Imbued with thing

in Images in the making
Art, process, archaeology

This book presents a study of material images and asks how an appreciation of the making and unfolding of images and art alters archaeological accounts of prehistoric and historic societies. With contributions focusing on case studies including prehistoric Britain, Scandinavia, Iberia, the Americas and Dynastic Egypt, and including contemporary reflections on material images, it makes a novel contribution to ongoing debates relating to archaeological art and images. The book offers a New Materialist analysis of archaeological imagery, with an emphasis on considering the material character of images and their making and unfolding. The book reassesses the predominantly representational paradigm of archaeological image analysis and argues for the importance of considering the ontology of images. It considers images as processes or events and introduces the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. The book is divided into three sections: ‘Emergent images’, which focuses on practices of making; ‘Images as process’, which examines the making and role of images in prehistoric societies; and ‘Unfolding images’, which focuses on how images change as they are made and circulated. The book features contributions from archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists and artists. The contributors to the book highlight the multiple role of images in prehistoric and historic societies, demonstrating that archaeologists need to recognise the dynamic and changeable character of images.

Being and becoming in faience figurines of Middle Kingdom ancient Egypt
Rune Nyord

interpreted to tell us something about the exotic nature of the Egyptian afterlife. In this chapter I discuss a particularly iconic category of grave goods, showing both how a new, broader understanding can emerge when an object is approached as an ‘image in the making’ and how such a new reading fits with ancient Egyptian ontology more widely. At the same time, I also address one of the recurring challenges in recent work on object ontologies (see e.g. the recent review in Caraher 2016), namely how concrete design features of an object, such as choice of material and use

in Images in the making
Abstract only
Katherine Fennelly

vagaries of public works budgets. By the mid-nineteenth century, when the Enniscorthy Asylum was constructed, the architecture of the ideal public lunatic asylum had been a source of much debate for over half a century. Therefore, in order to trace the widely-held public opinion of asylums as austere, institutional, and utilitarian, it is necessary to go back to the early part of the nineteenth century, when a standard for large, public lunatic asylums at provincial level was still just a talking point in parliamentary committees. This book will explore the material

in An archaeology of lunacy
Catherine J. Frieman

studies of contact and colonialism – that make those complex social processes so visible and accessible to us for study. Innovation adoption at the point of colonial contact Today people living in Australia use steel axes, not stone ones. 1 Stone axes (and other knapped and ground lithic implements) litter the Australian landscape. Along with a suite of organic objects – woven dilly bags, wooden spears, shields and boomerangs, bone implements, leather and skin cloaks and adornment – they are among the best known and most recognizable archaeological materials in

in An archaeology of innovation