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Media archaeology or archeology is a field that attempts to understand new and emerging media through close examination of the past, and especially through critical scrutiny of dominant progressivist narratives of popular commercial media such as film and television. Media archaeologists often evince strong interest in so-called dead media, noting that new media often revive and recirculate material and techniques of communication that had been lost, neglected, or obscured. Some media archaeologists are also concerned with the relationship between media fantasies and technological development, especially the ways in which ideas about imaginary or speculative media affect the media that actually emerge.
The theories and concepts of media archaeology have been primarily elaborated by the scholars and cultural critics Thomas Elsaesser, Erkki Huhtamo, Siegfried Zielinski, and Wolfgang Ernst, taking off from earlier work by Michel Foucault on the archaeology of knowledge, Walter Benjamin on the culture of mass media, and film scholars such as C.W. Ceram on the archaeology of cinema. Other writers who have contributed to the discipline's emergence include Eric Kluitenberg, Anne Friedberg, Lev Manovich, Friedrich Kittler, and Jonathan Crary. New media theorist Jussi Parikka defines media archaeology as follows:
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