Journal of Contemporary Archaeology <p>The <em>Journal of Contemporary Archaeology</em> is the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to explore archaeology’s specific contribution to understanding the present and recent past. It is concerned both with archaeologies of the contemporary world, defined temporally as belonging to the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as well as with reflections on the socio-political implications of doing archaeology in the contemporary world.</p> Equinox Publishing Limited en-US Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 2051-3429 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a title="Open access policy." href="Full%20details of our conditions related to copyright can be found by clicking here.">click here</a>.</p> Living with Heritage Anatolijs Venovcevs Torgeir Rinke Bangstad Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 1 6 10.1558/jca.23988 Living With Ghosts? <p>Heritage is commonly understood as denoting sites, objects and traditions that are selected and protected for their uniqueness, monumentality, beauty and/or historical and cultural significance. Heritage, thus, is almost by definition something unquestionably valuable and good, and of outmost importance for our wellbeing and identity. This paper takes a different position and asks what happens if we question heritage’s status as a selected reserve of desired things and traditions. Based on fieldwork conducted in contemporary settlements in the Russian North, it explores how the role and significance we ascribe heritage may come out radically altered upon facing the unruly legacies of the Soviet past.</p> Bjornar Olsen Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 7 22 10.1558/jca.21646 Meeting Things <p class="p1">This paper is an exploration of the points of encounter that become visible through the practice of mudlarking – that is, the gathering of materials from the foreshore along the River Thames in London, England. I first examine the foreshore itself, as the meeting place between underworlds, liquid worlds and surface worlds, positing that it therefore constitutes a borderland. Based on fieldwork carried out in Rotherhithe and Greenwich, I further argue that the spatiotemporal dimension of experience is destabilised in such a location. Another point of encounter is identified as existing between the hand and the found thing, creating a form of tactile material intimacy and performative theorising. Lastly, I suggest that touching and holding are not passive acts, but an interlocking of porous bodies and a way to cohabit with things as they emerge from the mud.</p> Geneviève Godin Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 23 38 10.1558/jca.21642 Ambiguous Matter <p>This paper explores mine waste that originates from resource extraction by specifically focusing on waste rock, tailings, dust and material culture from the resource extraction industry. By drawing on examples from fieldwork, archives, local media commentary and limited interviews from two iron-mining regions in Arctic Norway and sub-Arctic Canada, this paper follows mine waste as it routinely transgresses attempts to be managed. Mine waste spills out of its prescribed sinks, it oscillates between being considered waste to heritage to potentially valuable commodity, and it blurs the boundaries between spaces dedicated for mining and for non-mining. In following these trends, the paper calls for attentiveness to the ambiguous materiality of mine waste and how heterogeneity and excess circumscribe attempts at easy characterisation and management of the ubiquitous wastes that come to dominate mining regions. As such, archaeological approaches to studying mine waste can illustrate how mine waste becomes the default, lived-with condition of life in regions dominated by ongoing mining operations.</p> Anatolijs Venovcevs Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 39 63 10.1558/jca.21645 Lively Heritage <p>This paper is an attempt to discuss the concept of lively heritage, based on examples of accidental encounters with animals at archaeological sites. The starting point of this study is criticism of the “sterilisation” or “sanitisation” of archaeological sites. Its theoretical discourse on sterilisation of the past begins with a brief reference to contemporary photography (Alfred Seiland’s “Imperium Romanum” series), which is contrasted with the innovative conservation strategy employed at the archaeological site in Agrigento, Sicily, and vital encounters with animals at selected Mediterranean archaeological sites: the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, Cyprus, and the archaeological site of Soluntum, Sicily. By discussing my own ethnographic experiences of encountering animals that inhabit these two archaeological sites and how their presence helped me rethink the past and heritage, I challenge the concept of living heritage and propose in its place the term “lively heritage”, which extends beyond the confines of human-centred and institutionalised heritage, and argues that the prevailing meaning of heritage sites and their management remains limited to staged, constructed and sanitised notions of the past. Within this critical perspective, the actual embodied experience of visiting the sites while remaining attentive towards their hosts (various species of animals) opens up new possibilities for seeing lively heritage not only as biodiversity, but also as hospitality hubs.</p> Monika Stobiecka Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 64 81 10.1558/jca.21635 A Thorny Past <p>Conflicts have legacies beyond peace treaties and armistices. This article focuses on one example of such an enduring heritage, namely barbed wire left after the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II. This barbed wire has persisted up to the present day and thus presents a case that can illuminate nuances of a material legacy that is harmful but also an important source of insight and experience of heritage. This involves the incomplete clean up in the postwar years and how the barbed wire continues to pose challenges for present-day and future cultural and natural heritage management. Contemporary archaeology offers insights into the afterlife of war and works as a counterweight to grand historical narratives that mainly focus on the height of armed conflicts.</p> Stein Farstadvoll Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 82 103 10.1558/jca.21640 Mining, Materiality and Memory: Lingering Legacies in Longyearbyen <p class="p1">When the old power plant at Longyearbyen on Svalbard in the Arctic was decommissioned in 1983, the building was earmarked for demolition. However, the presence of asbestos made the cost of removal too high and the building remained closed for more than 35 years. Now, its fate is once again being examined. Ideas for its potential future include establishment as an industrial memorial, a site for cultural events, a tourist attraction and/or a monument “of fossilised time”. Questions of which past is to be remembered, which uses are acceptable, which materiality is to be kept – and in what condition – all permeate the project, which is called FOSSIL. This paper examines different aspects of the project from both a material perspective (Identity of Place) and a human perspective (place-identity), bringing up questions of politics of memory, museumification, and the desired and undesired facets of heritage that the project engages with as it shapes the power plant’s (re)incarnation.</p> Dina Brode-Roger Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 104 120 10.1558/jca.21643 Toxic Heritage <p>In the course of modern museum history, a variety of toxic chemicals have been used to prevent the deterioration of collected objects. The residues of pesticides and preservatives now persist together with the objects they were intended to protect. These chemical conservation technologies are intimately bound up with the unpredictable material agencies that are characteristic of the legacy of Anthropocene residues on a planetary scale. However, chemicals also form part of local, domestic, everyday worlds where they were used to maintain order, prevent loss and ensure material coherence. In this article I investigate Norwegian open-air museums as sites where new chemical products with pesticidal and protective properties were domesticated and placed on trial in the battle against “museum pests” and the decay of wooden buildings. By exploring carbon-based chemicals derived from the waste products of coke production, I reflect on the material convergence of waste and heritage in preserved buildings and how in the early and mid-twentieth century museum conservation came to rely on these unpredictable and highly persistent chemical agents.</p> Torgeir Bangstad Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2022-09-20 2022-09-20 9 1 121 138 10.1558/jca.21609