Public Archaeology and Management of the Brazilian Archaeological-Cultural Heritage
Throughout the nineteenth century, despite official attention to scholarship in general, and the foundation of the Historical and Geographical Institute, there was no law regarding archaeological remains in Brazil. Museum officials as well as amateurs and others often collected and registered archaeological artifacts at will. Nevertheless, and despite a lack of early protection, Brazilian identity has been linked to archaeological heritage since the nineteenth century (notwithstanding a brief eclipse at the beginning of the twentieth century). Romantic nationalism was grounded on the idealization of natives, and archaeology played a role.
Archaeological resources in Brazil have been the subject of several legislative efforts, the first of them in 1920, when the Brazilian Society for the Fine Arts, or “Sociedade Brasileira de Belas Artes,” through its president, Bruno Lobo, asked the keeper of the classical antiquities of the National Museum, Alberto Childe, to prepare a bill for the protection of the national artistic heritage. Childe’s proposal was mostly concerned with archaeological sites and defended the nationalization of these cultural resources. The bill proposed that “archaeological remains, buildings, sites, caves, cemeteries, shell middens are considered national assets and are to be owned only by each state of the Union.” The proposal was not taken into consideration by the Congress, dominated as it was by representatives not interested in nationalization of private property, even if it was aimed at preserving archaeological resources.
KeywordsArchaeological Site Archaeological Remains Shell Midden Archaeological Heritage Public Archaeology
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