IMHICIHU   13380
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Archaeology and the Master Narratives in Antarctic History
Congreso; SCAR Open Science Conference; 2014
Institución organizadora:
Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research
The aim of this paper is to present material culture studies and historical archaeology research on 19th century sealers and whalers in the South Shetland Islands as a point of rupture for the thought schemes that are implicit in the master narratives of Antarctic History. The Antarctica was the last continent to be incorporated to the space dominated by modernity. Its official discovery, at the beginning of the 19th century, marks the beginning of a history that presents certain particularities, not only in its content, but also in the way that it is usually told. Some versions of this history are more extensively distributed and known then others, as well as being more widely accepted. Those recurrences ? in form and in content ? construct and structure the master narratives of Antarctica. The master narratives produce and reproduce the visible history of Antarctica. This way of looking at the past has been accepted as the truth and assumed as representative of everything and everyone. The master narratives of Antarctic past present a conceptualization of Antarctic History, in terms of exploration vs exploitation. These narratives are discursive formations that represent a specific version of the continent?s history, which operate in written and material dimensions. Written and material dimensions of the master narratives offer the same version of the past. The stories related to scientific exploration are ?preserved?, by celebrating specific events, dates, personalities, and specific locations; whereas stories associated with the exploitation of Antarctic resources have been, and are still, silenced and forgotten. It is worth mentioning that many of the stories of sealers and whalers of 19th century carry no specific protagonists, exact dates, or apparent ?historical relevance? to be commemorated. Even if there are numerous material remains widely dispersed, they are scarcely considered in the conservation agenda for Antarctic Heritage. Historical archaeology research on sealers and whalers in the South Shetland Island during 19th century is seen here as a different standpoint, focused on the study of processes, working with the material remains of ordinary people and their everyday life, incorporating new characters and invisible stories into the history of Antarctica.