Light-Writings: Koutroulou Magoula 2017-2018
Photography by Fotis Ifantidis
Curated by: Yannis Hamilakis, Justin Han, Kelley Tackett
An exhibit of photographs taken at the archaeological site of Koutroulou Magoula in central Greece, a site which was a Neolithic village for several centuries in the 6th millennium BCE and also used for burials in later periods. Since 2009, the site has being explored by the Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography Project and is currently a collaboration between the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, other universities, and the Greek Archaeological Service (Dr. Nina Kyparissi). The selected photos, out of the many hundreds taken, come from the 2017 and 2018 seasons and fall into five themes: Diggers, Landscapes, Bodies, Tactilities, Theatre/archaeologies. The photographs are accompanied by passages from the reflective, personal diaries of some of the Brown and RISD students who participated in the project in 2018.
Archaeologists use photographs all the time, primarily for the purposes of recording and documentation. In the field, many other, non-official, “social” photographs and snapshots are taken, which rarely become part of the archaeological story. There is, however, a third kind of photographic-archaeological production: photographs that comment visually on the process of archaeology, on excavation and on field practices, photographs which are at the same time artistic creations but which can also operate as photo-ethnographic objects; as one of the outcomes of the archaeological process which can be disseminated in various ethnographic contexts, and provoke and elicit responses and reactions that can lead to further reflection and research. This is the kind of photography we exhibit here. In doing so, we foreground the archaeological site not only as a site of research and education but also as a site of cultural and artistic production.