Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gross Distraction

Hmmm. Just thinking about how archaeology is so much a product of it's present context. Any given time.
Just now I'm working with material from the "Prussian" area - a place which is now days part of Poland but was before 2.ww. a part of Germany.
The find I'm working with at present was excavated and published in 1937. Thus right in the time of flourishing nazism.
So in order to retrieve information about this find, I must go to the source. Which turns out to be a publication named "Germanen Erbe". I order the title at the library. Recieve it at my desk. Open it. Full of images that are promoting the Swastica (which is in fact a symbol used by numerous prehistoric cultures around the world) but in a grim context.
All the images of the men dressed in military swastica-ornamented uniforms, small adds in the publication promoting various copies of ancient jewelry and other stuff to order - all with the Swastica symbol on it.
Off course all this distracts my attention from what I was actually looking for. Just a picture of an archaeological object.
But now I wonder if it is even right to use this publication. It makes me nauseous - litterally. I want to vomit because this publication is to such a degree reflecting the formation and promotion of the Nazi world order. And all I need is the picture and description of a small fibula. For a completely different context. I almost forgot to even look for it. And I'm reluctant to do so. Should my fingers even touch the pages of this - filthy - publication? It's like trying to study anatomy from a porn magazine. There's plenty of human limbs to see but the context is misplaced. Context. It's all depending on context.

1 comment:

mie said...

Hmm - what I think you are asking is: is it ok to dismiss a publication because you don't like the author or don't want to promote it?

My first thought is 'no, it's not', but I appreciate the dilemma.

The remaining question is:
How bad do you need the picture of the fibula? (really, really bad?)
Can you get it somewhere else? (no?)
Would your research be better if you had this picture (yes?) and finally,
Should Nazis cause you to give up on your research? (que?)

(If you choose to use the picture and Nazis are in the picture too, you can draw silly moustaches on their faces to distance yourself ....oh,wait... didn't some of them actually have.....:-)