The places where nothing happened: An archaeology of absence and silence during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship

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Francoist violence and repression during the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship (1936–1975) have left many voids in the narrative of the period. This article addresses the imbalance between how the Francoist victors and the defeated Republicans are remembered by providing an account that builds on the material lacunae in the places where officially “nothing happened” during this period. Through concepts of transgression – such as non-absence, ghosts and the abject – I explore the materiality and the material memory left at two sites in particular: the House of Horrors in Arévalo, and Little Russia in Belchite. The resulting narrative reveals how absence and silence materialise as structures of violence and instruments of repression. I argue that to approach these materialisations, a broader understanding is needed of the archaeological assemblage and of what is conventionally accepted as archaeological knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Archaeology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)228-251
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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