Archaeology and the community : constructing bridges for the knowledge of the past in Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala City
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Based on archaeological excavations at Kaminaljuyu mound E-III-5 and educational workshops at the public school “Delia Luz Gutierrez de Castellanos”, this paper explores how children position themselves in relation to their surroundings and how knowledge of the ancient past and their relationship to it varies when they are exposed to archaeological excavations. I focus on the perception of the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu and its relationship to the social and political-educational discourses that are associated with Guatemalan national archaeological projects. The hypothesis is that archaeological sites in Guatemala are used to promote a national identity that encourages tourism consumption of “exotic” ancient Mayas, which is totally disconnected from contemporary Mayan indigenous peoples’ movements and local communities’ interests. This represents the first systematic study and initial investigation of these issues in the Guatemalan highlands, and I hope that it will serve as a platform for an activist archaeology in Guatemala that looks to socialize the production of archaeological knowledge to those who do not have access to private education, and to continue discussions on challenges of academia for social justice and its impacts on the population.