ABSTRACT

This, the first of the investigative chapters, has twin objectives. First, it examines the role of privilege and network position in enabling access to sites of archaeological encounters and the reporting of what is seen. Documentary reporting on archaeological sites and objects is an elite enterprise resting on specific sets of permissions, connections and assumptions, and the capacity to represent, portray, characterize and depict is culturally circumscribed, socially regulated and expressive of particular visual ideologies (Said 1994, 80; see also Rose 1993, 87). In the discussions ahead, I link the performance of privilege with the impulse to appropriate the remains of the past at a time when archaeology was acquiring its credentials as a specialized discipline. In the mid-to-later nineteenth century, a considerable quantity of influential documentary imaging in archaeology was produced by individuals simultaneously serving as consular officials, and these dual roles, laminated together through the prestige of officialdom, conferred rights of access to observe, inspect and interpret. Such roles exemplify what Mary Louise Pratt calls the “seeing-man” of imperial presence and its acquisitive ways (Pratt 2010, 8–9), and her gendered phrasing is apt, for such ways of looking have typically been deployed by men.