Making Sense of the History of Archaeological Representation

Robin Skeates

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Making Sense of the History of Archaeological Representation

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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‘Representation’ is one of the key cultural practices through which meanings are produced and exchanged. This article undertakes a literary and art criticism of historic and contemporary representations of prehistoric Malta, with particular reference to the senses, in order to chart, historicize, and contextualize the sensory experiences and perceptions that have surrounded the development of archaeology in Malta over the last four centuries. It considers how different generations of antiquarians and archaeologists have represented or denied the senses in the texts and images that describe their experiences and understandings of the landscape, inhabitants, and prehistoric antiquities of the Maltese Islands. Based on these criticisms, the article offers the potential for such studies to be re-evaluated as culturally determined forms of representation that provide a wealth of information about the changing representational conventions, politics, and sensory perceptions of their creators.

Keywords: representation; cultural practices; Malta; archaeologists; art criticism

Article.  7242 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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