A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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(Courtesy INRAP, Copyright Denis Gliksman/INRAP, Wikimedia Commons)

In 1983, Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri planned a project that would someday make artists of archaeologists. For his work Lunch Under the Grass, Spoerri invited 80 people to dine next to a long trench. When they were done feasting on smoked udders, ram testicles, and spleen with onions, among other delicacies, workmen placed everything, tables included, into the hole to be buried. Archaeologists—visited by the amused artist himself—have recently excavated a corner of the 130-foot trench, uncovering plates, glasses, and food remains that will be sent to labs for further study. The artwork was intended to inspire thought about the remains of human societies, the political landscape of France in the 1980s, and the role of non-artists in the creation of art. To archaeologists, the excavation offered a particular insight into the pretensions of the French intellectual and artistic elite 30 years ago.

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