Archaeology, Modernity and Post-Soviet Industrial Decay

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Archaeologist Dr. Lori Khatchadourian spoke with EVN Report about her current archaeological and ethnographic research in Armenia that focuses on the afterlife of socialist modernity, focusing on the forces shaping industrial ruination. Khatchadourian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University, the co-director of a long-term field project in Armenia called the Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies (Project ArAGATS), co-director of Cornell's Landscapes and Objects Laboratory and co-founder and co-director of the Aragats Foundation.

What we talked about:


- Archaeology of the contemporary past or late modernity; a growing field that recognizes modernity and the 21st century as already open to archaeological investigation.


- For the 20th century, the most visible, palpable, omnipresent form of archaeological sites are industrial ruins, particularly in post-Soviet countries where they are left to decay.


- Studying the ruins of modernity for the future vs. romantic fascination with the aesthetics of ruin.


- Do industrial ruins all decay in the same way or do they have different stories to tell? Do the forces that form them vary from one site to another? 

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