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> en-US <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> a[email protected] (Alfredo González-Ruibal) [email protected] (Ailsa Parkin) Mon, 17 Apr 2023 10:49:17 +0000 OJS 60 The Archaeology of Twentieth-Century Rome <p>When Rome became the capital of a unified Italian state in 1871, the city lagged behind other European capitals in contemporary architectural expression. Ancient ruins evoked a distant glory, although the area of Rome containing the Imperial Fora was covered over by a dense urban residential quarter called the Alessandrino District. The quarter was labelled a slum district by fascist propaganda, and it was demolished in the early 1930s to make way for a parade avenue, the Via dell’Impero. This article presents a discussion of the cultural and socio-economic nature of the Alessandrino District in the decades before its destruction, combining results from the Danish-Italian excavations at Caesar’s Forum with a selection of archival data and historical accounts. The findings presented here indicate that a newly investigated area of the Alessandrino District was in fact not a slum district but rather a thriving middle-class residential and commercial area.</p> Francisca Lobera Corsetti, Jan Kindberg Jacobsen, Gloria Mittica, Giovanni Murro, Claudio Parisi Presicce, Rubina Raja, Laura di Siena, Massimo Vitti Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Suicides at the End of the Second World War <p>This paper presents forensic, bioarchaeological and historical research on eight human skulls discovered during the 2018 restoration of a nineteenth-century pastor’s tomb in the village of Gostków in Poland (which, until 1945, had been Giesmannsdorf in Germany). Local rumours suggested that the tomb had been used as a mass grave at the end of World War II for the remains either of war-crimes victims or of a murder-suicide incident. The research was undertaken at the request of the Fundacja Anna w Gostkowie (Anna Foundation in Gostków), which maintains the cemetery, and confirmed detailed witness accounts that the tomb contained the remains of two related German families in which some individuals had killed the others, including several children, and then themselves. The authors also discuss the phenomenon of suicides under war conditions and the cognitive, social and ethical problems of researching this topic.</p> Paweł Konczewski, Katarzyna Martewicz, Łukasz Orlicki, Jacek Szczurowski, Radosław Biel, Katarzyna Król, Barbara Kwiatkowska Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Remnants of Pain and Suffering <p>During an archaeology of garbage project in the city of Tehran in 2018, a garbage bag was documented that presented objects signifying pain and illness. The study of this material evidence indicated that the garbage was from a patient who was hospitalized at home, but a written document also present in the same garbage bag provided further context that led us to revise our initial interpretation. The document showed that these objects were linked not just to a disabled person, but to a victim of the Iran–Iraq War. The violence of war thus extends through time and affects all aspects of everyday life, changing its victims forever. The evidence for this includes waste and garbage. In this paper, we attempt to narrate the story of the pain and suffering of a war victim based on his garbage, a man whose life has been changed forever by war.</p> Hassan Mousavi Sharghi, Ali Ariafar Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Dancing with Counterpreservation <p>The Tabacalera is a 30,000 sq m building located in Madrid city centre. Erected at the end of the eighteenth century, it originally functioned as a state-run tobacco factory until its closure in 2000. After ten years of abandonment, the Ministry of Culture leased part of the property to a series of local collectives to use as a “self-managed social centre”. Here, in an atmosphere characterised by repurposed decay and new informal accretions, all kinds of cultural and communal activities are held every day, including those of the Centro Revolucionario de Arqueología Social (CRAS, Revolutionary Centre for Social Archaeology). Between 2018 and 2020, I engaged with the social and organisational dynamics of the centre, exploring the motivations and aspirations of its various collectives and of other actors involved. Deploying Daniela Sandler’s notion of “counterpreservation” – the purposeful embracing of decay as a <em>social and aesthetic act</em> – this article suggests that, in just a decade, the centre has become an icon of free culture and libertarianism, acquiring a consistent heritage identity that is indissociable from its decaying materiality. This article also aims to examine how both social and aesthetic dimensions forge a joint resistance to potential institutional plans that may jeopardise the centre’s continuity.</p> Pablo Arboleda Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Between Inside and Outside <p>Our everyday routines and movements are entangled with and guided by our interactions with material things, such as the material things displayed in our neighbors’ windows. During the pandemic we were unable to engage with others in the street, and so what we shared of ourselves through our windows was a form of communication with our neighbors, even when we could not see them. In this time of social distancing, these archaeological moments are particularly meaningful. This paper explores our deep enmeshment and entanglement with the material displays in our neighbors’ windows, and how these displays contribute to a poetics of place.</p> Leah Busby Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 "The Fake" <p>Inspired by a conversation with Doran Ross (1947–2020), a leading African art scholar and curator who revolutionized the field of African art, this article discusses the adventures of fieldwork – in particular, its unpredictable nature. More specifically, it presents my experiences conducting an archaeological ethnography of nineteenth-century Islamic talismans in Asante (Ghana), and the matter of the “fake”. Islamic talismans comprise inscriptions written directly onto paper, folded, encased in a string binding, and sewn into small leather or silver pouches, to be worn, hung, and/or buried. Engaging artifacts, texts, and their stories passed down through the generations, I studied Islamic talismans together with their owners and/or custodians, most of whom were unaware of their contents until we examined them together. In this article, I reveal how on one occasion, we examined a talisman that was different. Ostensibly the “genuine” article, this simulated object emulated talismans’ outwardly material features, but instead contained a small piece of wood rather than paper inscriptions.</p> Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Baltic Escape Boats in Sweden <p>This essay presents the results of a survey of the remains of boats used for escaping from occupied Baltic countries to Sweden during World War II. It discusses how such remains can be identified and what knowledge and understanding can be gained from their materiality. Whilst these vessels do cast light on a particular escape situation, they also add to a more general understanding of material culture related to forced migration.</p> Mirja Arnshav Copyright (c) 2023 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000