Archaeology, archaeogenetics and identity: genetic research within the Maltese context

The discipline of archaeology is historically bound to identity, be it national, ethnic or otherwise. Such a bond is inherently political, so archaeology also becomes a political activity. As one of the most recent developments in archaeology – and amongst the most consequential – archaeogenetics can also contribute to politics. Indeed, archaeogenetic discoveries are adding a new dimension to questions of identity. The close relationship between archaeogenetics and identity is attested by the vast amounts of studies that are being carried out, both on the micro- (Maltese and European genetic make-up) and macro-scale (human and Neanderthal genome). Given the current political climate in Europe and Malta, archaeogenetic discoveries can provoke a wide range of reactions. This lecture will explore the public perception of archaeogenetic discoveries in the European and Maltese context, particularly their socio-political implications. By examining the discipline’s development in theory and in practice, it will also deal with the impact of archaeogenetic research on the broader discipline of archaeology.

Mr Karl Hallett, graduate in archaeology from the University of Malta, is presently working as an archaeological monitor before starting on his Master’s degree. He will be giving a lecture entitled Archaeology, archaeogenetics and identity: genetic research within the Maltese context on Wednesday 16 January 2019. The presentation is part of the lecture programme of  The Archaeological Society Malta and will be held at 6 pm at the National Museum of Archaeology, Republic Street, Valletta.

Illustration: Sonya Hallett

Caption: Inhabitants and occupiers of the Maltese Islands throughout history

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