Zenta Broka-Lāce

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Zenta Broka-Lāce


Zenta Broka-Lāce is currently a PhD student at Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia, who works as a Scientific Assistant at the Department of Archaeology, Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia as well as a Chief Specialist at the Ģederts Eliass History and Art Museum of Jelgava. Her scientific interests and PhD Project are related to theory and history of archaeology specifically in Latvia (,,The Development of Archaeological Thought in Latvia from 19th – 21st Century”). The PhD project investigates how archaeology has developed, changed and been used by different political narratives during various political regimes such as independence, Nazi and soviet occupations. Besides ideological aspects, the project studies communication of archaeology and questions related to subject of public archaeology from the beginnings of discipline until this day.

Archaeological ethics under the hammer and sickle in Latvia (1940-1941; 1944-1991)

During Soviet occupation Latvian archaeology, other sciences and entire aspects of life where reorganised according to the official ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR): Marxism- Leninism. The goal was to build the communism, and all preceding views about the past had to be revised and adjusted in order to fit the theory of evolution towards the ‘‘World communism”. Although in Latvian historiography it is widely agreed that history and prehistory were those spheres where ideology was just a formality, there is no doubt that archaeologists also had to contribute to the regime. The question is how much scientists had to bow to the regime and compromise with it? In this paper I try to find answer to the uncomfortable question of how exactly the unwritten code of archaeology ethics was violated during the regime of Soviet occupation in Latvia. The research question can be expanded in more general manner as a question – how far scientists can engage with any kind of politics to maintain the honour to be called a scientist.