First Advisor

Virginia Butler

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Anthropology and University Honors




Monuments -- Destruction and pillage, Olmecs -- Antiquities -- Case studies, Hatshepsut (Queen of Egypt) -- Monuments -- Egypt -- Deir el-Bahri Site -- Case studies, Buddhist antiquities -- Afghanistan -- Bamiyan Site -- Case studies, Social change, Cultural property




Cultures throughout the world have expended great amounts of energy in the practice of monument construction. Often, the resulting monuments become a part of the archaeological record through processes of either environmental or cultural deposition, and sometimes even by means of intentional destruction. The destruction of such an energetically costly object begs explanation, and is particularly relevant given the movement currently taking place across the United States to destroy or relocate standing Confederate monuments. My project sought to place the current monument destruction in a larger historical context through the analysis of three archaeological case studies. I attempted to separate intentional destruction vs. natural site formation processes, and drew on independent archival records to assess the relationship between monuments and written history. Monuments represent a constructed narrative of the past and inevitably outlive their intended function in society, which has ultimately been the cause of their destruction throughout human history.


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