Current Research Postgraduates
Mr Benjamin Westwood
(email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
My research is focused around the critical study of the contrasting histories of cultural heritage management, archaeological investigation and the institutionalisation of the past in Libya between 1943 to 1951. Within the nine year period under examination this area of North African was a major theatre of conflict, passing from Italian, to British and French colonial oversight, and later to eventual independence with the creation of the modern state of Libya through the intervention of the United Nations.
Whilst Northern Libya was, at least temporarily, a quasi colony of the British Empire (characterised as the 'British Military Administration of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica'), archaeological practitioners were focused upon the co-option and development of previous colonially driven research frameworks to produce new forms of hybridised Eurocentricism in Libyan archaeological practices.
This was a period which saw real changes in the ways cultural heritage was conceptualised and treated (issues that would eventually find expression in the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 1954), contextualised by the conflict of World War II and the ensuing post-war settlements and involving some of archaeology's contemporary celebrities: Leonard Woolley, Mortimer Wheeler to name but a few.
In particular I am looking at:
- How policies and processes related to the management of antiquities/heritage organised and maintained; how ad-hoc systems developed during conflict (’43-‘45) were formalised and implemented ('46-50).
- The hierarchical structure of the antiquities service during the period, particularly with regard to colonial positions in the Antiquities service and the involvement of Libyan/local people; the organisation of the presented past and how was research institutionalised.
- Regionality, or perceptions of regionality with regard to the classical East/West divide between Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and post-war colonial plans for the region.
- Practitioner networks and their influence on the direction and formalisation of research, with explicit reference to excavations, fieldwork and dissemination .
My background is in commercial archaeology and I have worked on a variety of sites, mostly in the North-east of England and Yorkshire. Along the way I have had the opportunity to excavate and research all sorts of things, some mundane and some amazing, from Bronze Age cremations near Hull, railways (the Railway) in Darlington, to medieval plough furrows in Northumberland.
Probably due to my background, I am very interested in excavation methodology and techniques, and whilst I’m not particular about the archaeology I dig, my core interest at the moment is in Classical archaeology and the histories of excavation and imperialism associated to it. I have a keen interest in the management of cultural heritage, particularly in contested areas. I'm also involved, as a member of the Italian excavation team, in the research project ongoing at the Roman city of Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia, Turkey organised by the University of Munich.
‘Care and maintenance’ at the fringes of Empire; Archaeology and Heritage Management during the British Military Administration of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica from 1943 to 1951.