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Identity and Belonging

Wednesday 19 April 2006 11:00-11:30 (Radio 4 FM)


Malcolm Billings lifts the lid on the politics of archaeology and explores areas where archaeologists find themselves digging in dangerous ground.

From the 19th century, when an interest in excavating the past moved beyond the preserve of the gentleman enthusiast, archaeology has always been bound up with politics. This programme looks at how archaeology has been used to prove ownership, to promote nationalism or to assert religious or racial superiority or the concept of separateness.

In locations as far apart as the Balkans and Belfast, the work of archaeologists is closely followed and subjected to different readings - nationalist ambition combined with insecurity can make archaeology a very loaded process. In Northern Ireland, an extended Iron Age embankment, the Black Pigs Dyke, provides a further divide between nationalists and unionists.

Malcolm explores this overgrown part of the border and its controversial past - and present - with two leading archaeologists.

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Trench Warfare - The Politics of Archaeology

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