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Managing Archaeology Underwater

A theoretical, historical and comparative perspective on society and its submerged past

Antony Firth


This book addresses the relationshA between state-managed archaeology and control of the past, with particular attention to the rigid association of administration and identity, i.e. nationalism, as manifest in the nation-state. A critical approach is feasible because the management of archaeology underwater is implicated in the reproduction of two fundamental aspects of the nation-state – territoriality and nationality – by virtue of the frequent location of ancient material underwater on the fringes of territory, and of the inter-‘national’ character of ancient material of maritime origin. Empirical material is drawn from a comparative analysis of managing archaeology underwater in France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland and from a historical analysis of the development of management in the UK from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. The theoretical basis is drawn from Anthony Giddens’ work on modernity, structuration and locale.