Divergent Paths: Reflections on Section 106 and the Archaeology of Nostalgia


For nearly half-a-century Illinois historical archaeologists have been buffeted by changing disciplinary goals, compliance directives, and academic fluxes. Early efforts in the 1920-50s at Lincoln’s New Salem, French Colonial sites, and pioneer sites were classic "handmaidens to history" designed to materialize significant historic events.  The focus shifted dramatically with the NHPA and processualistHistoric emphasis in Criteria D on significance resting solely on material remains.  Given the nature of compliance work these practitioners have almost exclusively dealt with 19th century rural sites. Conversely, recent academic trends have often emphasized materials as essentially nostalgic exemplars to historical narratives (sensu Hume). The attempted conflation of compliance archaeology with the archaeology of nostalgia by some practitioners creates an irresolvable conundrum unless we recognize archaeology in the service of compliance and the archaeology of nostalgia are both valid pursuits but rather than being congruent they are divergent and parallel approaches.

Cite this Record

Divergent Paths: Reflections on Section 106 and the Archaeology of Nostalgia. Thomas E. Emerson, Robert F. Mazrim, Duane E. Esarey. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441487)

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Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 180