Wednesday 5 April 2017
Archaeology is the study of the past through the detailed study and critical analysis of material culture, that is objects owned and used by humans. While the concept of using artefacts to understand prehistoric and ancient societies is well understood, how can the theories of archaeological interpretation be applied to modern history when there is a wealth of written and textual documents? This talk examines the broader issue of developing the right questions to ask of objects in order to extract the maximum information.
How are we able to read “truth” into material culture, and what is the role of museums in providing critical interpretation and multiple analyses of objects from the mundane to the meaningful? The talk will explore the role of archaeological theory in understanding an event such as the Holocaust, and museum theories of engaging visitors through an understanding of artefacts.
Dr Craig Barker is a classical archaeologist and educator at the University of Sydney and the Manager of Education and Public Programs at Sydney University Museums. He is the Director of the Australian excavations at the World Heritage listed site of Paphos in Cyprus, and has extensive fieldwork experience in Australia and the Mediterranean. He has worked in museum education for decades. He appears regularly on the ABC Local Radio segment “Can You Dig It?”.