(Hi)storytelling: the ancient Near East in western historical novels and archaeological writing
Verbal aspects of historiography are barely considered in the German archaeological community. The highly descriptive archaeological writing is still widely seen as desirable because of its seemingly neutral and objective nature, especially compared with other forms of historiographical storytelling such as non-fiction, historical novels or documentaries. Even decades after the linguistic turn, its insights never fully entered the German archaeology of the Near East. Therefore, in this paper, I will address issues of narration and language in archaeological fact-production in comparison to historical novels, which are commonly accused of being ideological, euphemistic and sometimes escapist. This leads me to expose some hidden ideological elements in archaeological writing, which are mostly concealed within our structural way to approach past as well as present societies. While I focus on several ‘-isms’ such as colonialism, eurocentrism or androcentrism, the archaeology of the Ancient Near East serves only as a case study. Parts of the issues discussed here apply to varying degrees to the archaeologies of other times and regions as well.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Kathrin Schmitt, "(Hi)storytelling: the ancient Near East in western historical novels and archaeological writing", in: Costanza Coppini, Francesca Simi (Edited by), "Interactions and New Directions in Near Eastern Archaeology. Volume 3. Proceedings of the 5th “Broadening Horizons” Conference (Udine 5-8 June 2017)", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2020, pp. 265-277
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