Sam Holley-Kline

Sam Holley-Kline



Entangled Archaeology, Industry, and Labor in El Tajiin, Mexico, 1880-2017
2018 Dissertation Fellowship

My dissertation project examines the relationships between archaeology, industry, and labor in El Tajiin, Veracruz, between 1880 and the present. El Tajiin is best known as a tourist destination and an archaeological site, the presumed urban capital of a Classic Veracruz (c. 350-1200) state. However, the archaeological emphasis on this occupation has tended to overshadow all other historical processes and periods, including those most of interest to local Totonac communities. Drawing on 30 months of ethnographic and archival research, I argue that changes in land tenure, the production of vanilla and oil, as well as local labor are all constitutive features of the modern archaeological landscape. In so doing, I combine an ethnographic attention to local history and practice with an archaeological emphasis on the agency of materials and the productivity of landscape. I contribute to this scholarly literature with a Veracruz counterpart to studies of the politics and practice of archaeology in the Maya region and elsewhere, grounded in both archaeology and sociocultural anthropology.

Related publication:

Holley-Kline, Sam. "Nationalist Archaeology and Foreign Oil Exploration in El Tajín, Mexico, 1935–1940." Archaeological Dialogues 27, no. 1 (June 2020): 79–93.

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