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Historical Archaeology as Ghost Hunting

Author(s): April Beisaw

Year: 2016

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Summary

Archaeological sites can be haunted by past peoples if we convey the stories necessary to presence them; no paranormal powers required. The magic of a ghost story lies in its ability to conjure the emotions of the listener. Many ghost stories are warnings of things that happened, and might happen again. Telling the tale provides listeners with worse-case scenarios and vague instructions on how to avoid a similar fate. Historic sites that contain standing ruins are ripe for such tales because when we view a ruin we automatically wonder what happened there. For example, homes are seen as safe places of loved ones. An abandoned house suggests a tragedy has occurred. Historical archaeology can recover the facts and present them as a timeline or it can seek out the more sensitive issues that captures imagination and connects past and present people to it.


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Cite this Record

Historical Archaeology as Ghost Hunting. April Beisaw. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434476)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 237

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