(2006). 'It will always be set in your heart': archaeology and community values at the former Dennawan Reserve, northwestern NSW, Australia.
In: Agnew, Neville and Birdgeland, Janet eds.
Of the past, for the Future: Integrating Archaeology and Conservation.
Los Angeles, US: The Getty Conservation Institute, pp. 94–101.
This paper presents a perspective of an archaeological site gained through medium- to long-term community-based participatory research with one local Australian Aboriginal community. It is radically different from that which may have emerged from either a social or an archaeological significance assessment, had each been carried out in isolation. At the ruin of the former Dennawan Aboriginal Reserve in far northwestern New South Wales, the living and the dead interact through the humble physical remains of tin cans, broken bottles, and tumbled-down house frames. Drawing on oral accounts of community participants and fine-grained archaeological recording of the remains of the site, this paper reveals the complex relationship among archaeological “relics,” local communities, ancestors, and the role of archaeological sites in contemporary local identity building. The participation of community members in archaeological research provided an opportunity for the sensuous nature of local people’s active (re-)creation of locality to come into view. This paper argues that archaeologists must engage with those local communities that have custodianship of the places they study to adequately understand and hence manage and conserve the significance of the places.
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