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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Contemporary archaeology is increasingly engaged with the public and is also more sensitive than in the past concerning the role it plays in communities. This engagement is productive and stimulating, but it also forces archaeologists to engage with conflicting interpretations of the past and their own role in these interpretations. Burial archaeology holds a special place in this engagement since the places for the dead, and the dead themselves, are potent in mobilizing responses among the living that pertain to a range of powerful fields, including politics, religion, and emotion. This is especially clear in situations where the excavation and/or the interpretation of a burial site are contested by different stakeholders. This chapter explores the dynamics underlying these conflicts and takes a closer look at the different roles the dead and archaeology may be given in such conflicts.

Keywords: interpretation, conflict, excavation, human remains, repatriation

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