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Contemporary Archaeological Studies in the Atacama Desert (Chile)

Research project
Pågående forskning
Project period
2019 - ongoing
Project owner
Universidad Católica del Norte. Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Museo R.P. Gustavo Le Paige (IIAM)

Financier
Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica – CONICYT. (Chile)

Short description

The purpose of the project is to critically address the materiality of mining activities, military events and political dictatorship found in the Atacama Desert (Chile).

Background

The project is a collaboration between IIAM-UCN (San Pedro de Atacama, Chile), and the Department of Historical Studies (University of Gothenburg) and it seeks to critically address the materiality of mining activities, military events and political dictatorship found in the Atacama Desert. Thus, it combines the unique landscapes of extractivism and militarisation, the research problems, and relationships with the local communities of the Atacama and Loa Basins, with novel theoretical and methodological insights drawn from both Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies. It will seek to understand the archaeological as well as the sociopolitical heritage nature of these remains, as well as how they can be recycled as cultural heritage in the future, for instance, within the framework of education and tourism. Within the project, we will also develop a comparative perspective, addressing both the Chilean and Swedish remains of identical and/or similar nature. 

General objectives

Strengthen the international collaboration among archaeologists in Chile and Sweden, working within the multidisciplinary research fields of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, through approaching the material and reasonably recent remains of mining activities, military events and political dictatorship in the Atacama Desert. The project seek to understand the archaeological as well as the sociopolitical cultural heritage nature of these remains, and how they can be recycled as cultural heritage for the future, within the frameworks of education and tourism, among others.

Specific objectives

•    Test the coherence and complementarity of different theoretical and methodological frameworks used by the institutions involved, within the research fields of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies.
•    Foster discussions about how the past and cultural heritage can be experienced and used in different socio-political ways in present-day society, and promote the study of the remains of mining, military conflicts and detention camps in Chile and Sweden.
•    Highlight the archaeological research conducted on recent remains in Chile, and promote awareness of these studies in the, often Anglo-American oriented, Swedish archaeological context, and operate as a platform for comparative studies of mining, military remains and detention camps between the Atacama region and the County of Västergötland, Sweden.
•    Increase the scientific output of the academic units based on: the publication of joint scientific articles in leading journals, the organisation of sessions and/or presentation of papers at international conferences, the production of both a joint exhibition and conference, and joint applications to research grants from different funding schemes.
•    Develop an international cooperation network and formalise it through inter-institutional agreements among participating entities, in order to facilitate research fellowships, student and staff exchanges, co-supervision of graduate students, thus promoting the mobility of graduate students and researchers from the institutions involved.

External participants

Museum of World Culture: 
Adriana Muñoz 

Universidad Católica del Norte:
Valentina Figueroa Larre
Fernanda Kalazich Rosales
Manuel Prieto Montt
Lautaro Nuñez Atencio