Researching Biographies of Archaeological Sites: The Case of Sikyon
The local meanings of antiquities that exist in parallel with official archaeological ones have become increasingly obvious through ethnographic research. Whether such ethnographies constitute anthropological or archaeological practices raises ontological questions about disciplinary identities. The ethnographic research I conducted as an anthropologist in Vasiliko/Sikyon, Greece, at the time when an archaeological research was taking place, investigated the multiple local meanings of the antiquities as perceptions of the past-present-future conditions of people's lives. By focusing on the life conditions of the present and the recent past, the research shows how the contemporary conditions of people's lives in the village attribute multiple lives and multivocality to antiquities. The research shows that the agricultural conditions of the present, the development of archaeological tourism, the predominance of antiquities as national symbols, the diverse relationships between the Archaeological Services and the local people, the varying individual interests in the antiquities, the myths and the stories about ancient treasures, the looting of antiquities, but also the archaeological practices themselves, all provide competing local meanings and contribute to the construction of a locality that values antiquities, albeit in ways different from the official ones. Even the actual focus of the ethnographic research and the conditions under which it was conducted are indicative of the complex interrelationships between local and official significations of antiquities.