Is it possible to improve the analysis of an archaeological dig without being the one digging?

  • Last Updated: Monday, 06 July 2020 10:02
  • Published: Sunday, 17 August 2014 19:32
  • Written by Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond translated by Marine Quesnel
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  • 17 Aug

Does archaeological research only consist in digging? Asking this is to risk getting involved in a sensitive subject which always divides the archaeological scientific community, between the old school ones and the ones from mediation theory. On February 22, 2014, Prof. Margueron reopened the debate that led to the article of Dr. Gransard-Desmond: "Is it possible to improve the analysis of an archaeological dig without being the one digging?".

After the new analysis of the excavation documents from André Parrot, Jean-Claude Margueron presents his results
After the new analysis of the excavation documents from André Parrot, Jean-Claude Margueron presents the results of his analyzes at the conference Dedicated to Ishtar
© Gransard-Desmond J.-O., 2014

Summary of the article in English
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the discovery of Mari by André Parrot, the Louvre Museum, with Sophie Cluzan in charge (curator in the department of Oriental Antiquities), organized the conference Dedicated to Ishtar. Syria, January 1934: André Parrot discovers Mari on February 22, 2014. During this conference, Prof. Jean-Claude Margueron discussed openly on subjects in which the entire archaeological scientific community is interested.

In addition to the theory of mediation applied in archaeology, Prof. Margueron dared to declare that archaeology did not only consist in digging, but also that it was still possible for an archaeologist to take over the analysis of a dig he had not carried out himself.

Combining theory with practice, he demonstrated how he took over the analysis of the temple of Ishtar dug by André Parrot and how, thanks to data left by André Parrot, he was able to improve the understanding of the site, inevitably questioning the conclusions of the original digger.

Besides a synthesis of the French position of the mediationists, the article, revised by Prof. Margueron, reports on his speech of February 22, 2014, that led to the conference.
download logoDownload the full paper in french

Keywords
Theory and methodological problem, archaeology, epistemology, theory of mediation, digging

To quote the article: Gransard-Desmond J.-O. « Est-il possible d’améliorer l’analyse d’une fouille sans l’avoir fouillée ? », Arkéolog 64, Mars 2014, p. 5-7.

To find out more:
arrow On the conference Dedicated to Ishtar. Syria, January 1934: André Parrot discovers Mari on the Louvre Museum website.
arrow On the foundations of the General Archaeological Centre of Paris IV-Sorbonne, working on the mediation theory applied to archaeology.
arrow On ArkéoTopia®, read the presentation of our association and do not hesitate to contact us using the online form.

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