Mary C. Beaudry wrote:
>Amen to what Sarah May had to say. In the US many historical archaeologists are
>wringing their hands over whether what we do is worthwhile & whether it all a
>waste of public monies & worrying about why historians don't take us seriously
>(and there are those who worry because prehistorians don't take us seriously,
>others like Liz Brumfield who worry because anthropologists don't take
>archaeologists seriously). My goodness, if we don't hold our heads up and show
>that we KNOW that what we do, most particularly contemporary historical
>archaeology, is vital, fascinating, and worthy, we deserve to be treated as
>nothing but a bunch of quirky oddballs.
I concurr, moreover, I think there is a case to be made that study of
contemporary archaeology can make a practical contribution to society in
the same way that forensic archaeology does.
I am hoping, but this is still a bit of a day dream, that the work I am
currently doing on the AK47 can have some practical use in the study of
the global proliferation of small arms (see
http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/). Perhaps going toward explaining why
the AK is so "successful". As I say I don't know whether I can really
say anything of value in this regard, but I am sure that there are many
ways in which contemporary archaeology can make a practical contribution.
Not that I want to go all instrumental on you, but all attempts I have
heard in the past to justify archaeology beyond ars gratia artis and the
much vaunted "interest" of the general public seem rather lame. In our
case, since we are studying contemporary society, there should be a much
stronger case to be made. Whether this results in us being lavished with
£££, not to mention $$$, I don't know.