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The archaeology of in-between places: Finds under the Ilissos River bridge in Athens

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The ongoing recession has provided new layers in the tangible and intangible palimpsests in the city of Athens, especially in its neglected urban pockets that can be central but always outside the city’s normal, social life. This article arises from my experience of participating in a cleaning activity under the Anapafseos Street Bridge over the encased Ilissos River in central Athens in September 2010. In it I challenge the official rhetoric regarding the use of marginal sites for parasitic activities, by re-appropriating urban waste into empirical evidence and attempting to read through the lines of the graffiti left behind by a community of migrants that used the bridge as a temporary camp site. By providing an alternative reading of the bridge as an in-between place, this article seeks to problematize the assimilation of hidden communities in the city. It can also be considered as a gesture of contemporary-urban archaeology, a way to both approach and understand these communities in a form of a publicly engaged and politically relevant archaeological practice.
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Keywords: Athens; Greek crisis; graffiti; homeless anthropology; in-between spaces; non-places; urban archaeology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Greek Media & Culture is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that aims to provide a platform for debate and exploration of a wide range of manifestations of media and culture in and about Greece. The journal adopts a broad and inclusive approach to media and culture with reference to film, photography, literature, the visual arts, music, theatre, performance, as well as all forms of electronic media and expressions of popular culture. While providing a forum for the close analysis of cultural formations specific to Greece, JGMC aims to engage with broader methodological and theoretical debates, and situate the Greek case in global, diasporic and transnational contexts.
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