Archaeo-Becoming, Zarankin-Centrism and Contaminated Presents


  • Andrés Zarankin University of Minas Gerais
  • Iván Zigarán UNC



Social archaeology


Some time ago Cristóbal Gnecco and Henry Tantalean had the provocative idea of encouraging a reflection about the way archaeologists and non-archeologists change their lives by working and existing together. This encounter between people is not considered important, or material for analysis for archaeology. However, they are “contaminants” (in the sense of both being affected by one another).

In the specific case of Antarctica, these other “actors” are non-human (there are no native people – besides the researchers and logistic personnel). Animals, things, light/darkness, cold, snow, landscapes, etc., are the “actors” with which we interact. It is from this contact through time, that we change them and ourselves as well. This “contaminations” end affecting the histories we build and the way we do it. At the same time, I have asked myself several times: where in our academic texts are the experiences that marked us? The adventures? The sadness? The smiles and spilled tears?

Another issue in my history as an archaeologist was the work at concentration camps from the last dictatorship in Argentina. The people I have met, the materiality from these places of destruction, affected and changed me.

It is in this sense that this work is a personal self-reflection of my affective and transformative “relationship” with these two themes in which I have been working during the past 20 years.


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Author Biographies

Andrés Zarankin, University of Minas Gerais

Andrés Zarankin is currently Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Minas Gerais (Brazil).He is also a researcher at the CONICET. He took his anthropology degree at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), as well as his master's degree in architecture. His PhD was completed at the Campinas State University (Brazil) on archaeology of architecture. His postdoctoral studies where completed at the Argentinean National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations (CONICET). He has written and edited many books. He has also published several articles in international magazines. His main research interests include archaeology of architecture, archaeological theory and Antarctic’s archaeology (he is the head of the Brasilian’s Antarctic Human Science project.

Iván Zigarán, UNC

Iván Zigarán studied graphic design at the Instituto IES Siglo 21 in Madrid and then Anthropology at the National University of Córdoba, where his thesis is thought to have been the first thesis in Spanish to have been presented in graphic form. He has worked as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist since 2008.


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How to Cite

Zarankin, A., & Zigarán, I. (2020). Archaeo-Becoming, Zarankin-Centrism and Contaminated Presents. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 7(1), 48–60.



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