What do spatial approaches to the history of archaeology tell us? Insights from post-colonial India


Archaeologists increasingly find themselves confronting members of local communities, raising the question: who owns cultural heritage and the interpretation of archaeological data? In this paper I introduce geographic information systems as a method to gain insight on archaeology. I argue that visualizing where and when archaeologists carried out fieldwork is a first step to understand how and why social tensions emerge and to address what we have yet to know. Through the case of post-colonial India, I present innovative spatial approaches to the history of recent archaeology and aim to create the conceptual space to understand how societal factors such as political instability and social unrest, national styles of science, competing research traditions and culture influenced Indian archaeology.