Punk Archaeology in North Dakota

I read this fascinating article about recording the lifestyle/lifeway of those living in temporary housing while working on the pipeline and I highly recommend giving this article a perusal. According to the article, the archaeologists are studying how the workers are creating camps and if there is any correlation to historic temporary military camps. They are documenting how people are creating all-season homes, lawns, etc. I agree that this study is important, but it quite a break from what I would consider a typical archaeological study. I’m so used to the notion that something has to be at least 50 years old to be considered ‘archaeological’ and worth recording. Consequently, this seems more of a cultural anthropological study (yes, I know archaeology falls under the heading of anthropology) as it is a study of current people and their present manipulation of the environment. Perhaps I’m just too rigid in my definitions. What do you think?

I had never heard of the term ‘punk archaeology’ before and had to do a little bit of googling to figure out what it means to be a ‘punk archaeologist.’ According to the Punk Archaeology website, there isn’t an exact definition, although it fits in with punk culture (see at: http://punkarchaeology.com/2009/07/28/toward-a-definition-of-punk-archaeology/). Punk archaeologists—and I’m largely paraphrasing from the website– are spontaneous, embrace destruction (i.e. excavation) as a creative process, have a deep commitment to place, follow the punk aesthetic, and punk archaeology is a way of organizing experience (a lens, so to speak).

Link to the article:

Why ‘Punk Archeologists’ Are Heading to North Dakota



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