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An Archaeology of the Iron Curtain: Material and Metaphor by Anna McWilliams

By Anna McWilliams

The Iron Curtain used to be obvious because the divider among East and West in chilly struggle Europe. The time period refers to a cloth fact however it can be a metaphor; a metaphor that has turn into so strong that it has a tendency to mark our ancient knowing of the interval. in the course of the archaeological research of 3 components that may be thought of a part of the previous Iron Curtain, the Czech-Austrian border, the Italian-Slovenian border and the Berlin Wall, this examine investigates the connection among the cloth and the metaphor of the Iron Curtain.

“This paintings falls inside of what's often often called modern archaeology, a reasonably younger sub-discipline of archaeology. Few huge learn tasks have to this point been released, and techniques were defined as nonetheless a little bit experimental. throughout the fieldwork it's been attainable to recognize and spotlight the issues and possibilities inside modern archaeology. It has turn into transparent how the fabrics stretch either via time and position demonstrating the advanced means of how the cloth that archaeologists examine might be created.”

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Historians Robert Rosenstone (2006) and Alun Munslow (2007) have argued that film production as a way of writing history has to be taken more seriously than it previously has been. They mean that film can “create experiential and emotional complexities way beyond the printed page” (Munslow 2007:522). Historian Vanessa R. Schwartz emphasises the importance of imagination when we try to understand the past, something which has, she suggests, been aided by the use of film (Schwartz 2013:10– 11). She also suggests that although we are well aware of the way politics affect “the methods, questions and problems of the historian and produce a certain optic on the past, there has been almost no consideration of the influences of mass culture and its media such as film on historians, historicity and the development of historical representation over the course of the cinematic century” (Schwartz 2013:2).

It is true that the Soviet Union only gave in to the demands of the leaders of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for a barrier to stop the exodus of refugees from East to West Berlin (Harrison 2005:19). However, as discussed in Chapter 2, it is clear that the Berlin Wall became one of the most visible and 49 AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE IRON CURTAIN tangible example of an East/West divide. The wall became a manifestation of the Cold War division rather than a result of it. As many of the other militarised borders across Europe at the time this was clearly visible to the Western world and it caught the attention of the media which helped to spread the image of the Berlin Wall across the globe.

These paths stretched along the border to facilitate patrolling but also functioned as access roads to bring troops to and from their posts as well as bringing provisions to the watch towers and command posts. The watch towers are often part of the western view of what the Wall looked like as they were clearly visible from the West. They were located next to the patrol paths and as a clear, physical reminder of the wall great care was taken to remove these as well when the wall was demolished in the 52 3: THE MATERIALITY OF THE BERLIN WALL early 1990s.

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