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Boundaries and trading zones between conservation and archaeological practice.

Zak, J.I.; (2007) Boundaries and trading zones between conservation and archaeological practice. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Although archaeologists and conservators share an interest in preserving the past, the exchange of knowledge between them, particularly in terrestrial, pre-colonial archaeology in the US, is still relatively uncommon. The research presented in this thesis specifically addresses how this divide was created, as well as how it is perpetuated. Perhaps more importantly, the research identifies points of intersection between these disciplines that provide opportunities for "trading zones" of knowledge. The research is based on the premise that a profession defines itself through a shared understanding of the history, values, knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to function within it. Although this understanding may vary locally and individually, professional identities are shaped through the performance of practice, and differences in professional practice may become most visible during informal interaction in everyday activities and in more formal settings such as conferences and meetings. Another premise of the research is that disciplinary values can be viewed through elements of a profession's material culture, such as its literature. To identify the boundaries and potential trading zones between the disciplines of conservation and archaeology, the research strategy mixed qualitative and quantitative ethnographic methods. Activities of conservators and archaeologists were observed at three archaeological sites from 2003 to 2005 - one site in Southwest Asia, another in the Mediterranean region, and one in the US. These data were supplemented with observations of activities at professional conferences of archaeologists and conservators during the same time period, as well as a review of articles from two peer-reviewed journals from each discipline published in 2004. Quantitative data were gathered from the journal texts and transcripts of audio and video recordings of activities on site and at conferences. Since a theme of risk emerged early in the research, this theme was used as a lens through which to identify issues of importance to both disciplines. Transcripts and journal texts were analysed against a list of "risk concepts", and frequencies and contexts of these concepts were compared within and between disciplines. Results of the quantitative analysis pointed toward issues of importance in the qualitative data, and revealed that a primary boundary and potential trading zone between the disciplines involved interpretation. Furthermore, the results indicated that, as for archaeology, interpretation for archaeological conservation begins during excavation, making work together on site essential for sharing knowledge and enabling collaboration.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Boundaries and trading zones between conservation and archaeological practice.
Identifier: PQ ETD:593290
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1445966
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