2 – 8 November 2009

There’s a big issue of lack of data for this period in Indonesia.  Not necessarily a lack of objects, but a lack of available information about those objects.  A lot of the artifacts are in museums in Indonesia, which is great, but there isn’t much published about them and most of what’s published is in Indonesian journals which are often only accessible in Indonesia.

I am completely in favor of Indonesians conducting archaeology and publishing it in Indonesian journals.  But given this lack of data (well, lack of accessible, published data, particularly outside of Indonesia), how can scholars make the fairly sweeping conclusions about these polities if there’s not enough data to conclude anything?

I suppose my issue isn’t so much that there is a lack of data.  That’s something that we can’t really help – only so much actually survives and of that, only so much gets recorded.  My issue is more in the huge conclusions that pop up in the literature based on what is relatively little data and I honestly wonder if we can make such conclusions given the amount of data we have.

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About Heather Christie

Heather is an archaeologist, photographer, and writer whose research focuses on beads and bead trade, particularly in a maritime sense. She's currently working working on a PhD in Digital Design (focusing on heritage visualisation) at the Glasgow School of Art.
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