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Love Never Dies?

Author(s): Pamela Geller

Year: 2015

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Summary

In this talk, I examine the contemporary commonsensical thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality that informs study of bioarchaeological remains. To this end, I focus on double burials whose decedents appear to be embracing—their discovery, investigation, and presentation in scholarly and popular settings. Images of and stories about these ancient embracers garner significant and often sensationalized attention in myriad, global spaces. Here I deliberate about their representation in mediascapes, museum exhibits, and heritage sites. What dominant discourses and representations about sex, gender, and sexuality circulate in these spheres? In answer, I argue that proximity is cited as evidence by archaeologist and non-specialists alike of eternal, romantic, and heteronormative love. Dissemination and consumption occur with minimal consideration of the disparate cultures, geographic locations, and time periods from which these burials come. What, I query, is the consequence—intellectually, ideologically, economically, politically—of identifying these burials’ ancient occupants as lovers? Ultimately, I argue that to interrogate our common sense about sex, gender, and sexuality in the past invites us to think more deeply about the naturalization of culture, consequences of scientific study, and ways evidence from the past is represented to the public.

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Love Never Dies?. Pamela Geller. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395765)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America