Beyond the Dead Horizon: Studies in Modern Conflict Archaeology [Paperback]

Nicholas J. Saunders (Editor)

ISBN: 9781842174715 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2012 | Language: English 240p, 90 col & b/w illus

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Beyond the Dead Horizon


The new interdisciplinary study of modern conflict archaeology has developed rapidly over the last decade. Its anthropological approach to modern conflicts, their material culture and their legacies has freed such investigations from the straitjacket of traditional 'battlefield archaeology'. It offers powerful new methodologies and theoretical insights into the nature and experience of industrialised war, whether between nation states or as civil conflict, by individuals as well as groups and by women and children, as well as men of fighting age. The complexities of studying wars within living memory demand a new response - a sensitised, cross-disciplinary approach which draws on many other kinds of academic study but which does not privilege any particular discipline. It is the most democratic kind of archaeology - one which takes a bottom-up approach - in order to understand the web of emotional, military, political, economic and cultural experiences and legacies of conflict. These 18 papers offer a coherent demonstration of what modern conflict archaeology is and what it is capable of and offers an intellectual home for those not interested in traditional 'war studies' or military history, but who respond to the idea of a multidisciplinary approach to all modern conflict.

Table of Contents

Foreword (Nicholas J. Saunders)
Introduction: Engaging the materialities of 20th and 21st century conflict (Nicholas J. Saunders)

Part 1: Objects in Conflict
1. ‘Dead Man’s Penny’: A Biography of the First World War Bronze Memorial Plaque (Julie Dunne)
2. The Poppy and the Harp: Contested meanings at ‘The Oratory’, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland (Niamh Keating)
3. The Bare Bones: Body Parts, Bones, and Conflict Behaviour (Susannah Callow)
4. The Diary of an American Doughboy: Interpreting a textual artifact of the First World War (Margaret N. Bagwell)
5. Picturing War: An intimate memorial to a lost soldier of the First World War (Matthew Leonard)
6. The Battlefield in

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