Excavating globalisation from the ruins of colonialism: Archaeological Heritage Management Responses to Cultural Change

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    The conservation in situ of colonial archaeological remains is today regularly required by heritage
    and planning authorities. Examples in post-colonial nations have proliferated in recent years, in line
    with similar archaeological projects around the globe. These conserved sites tend to fall into a
    number of categories: archaeological landscapes, where conserved remains become a layer in a
    rich urban environment; archaeology as an aesthetic focus: where the archaeology inspires a
    design approach to a place; and symbolic or ‘sacred’ sites; where the site is linked to, or
    embodies, crucial cultural and historical themes. These examples of conservation in situ are
    generally cited as examples of the maturing heritage conservation system, as in past decades
    conservation in situ was often seen as the unachievable aim of archaeological heritage
    management, due in part to minimal public and political support for conservation in the face of
    development pressure. While these places are certainly partly ‘conservation successes’, they are
    also the result of distinctive forms of cultural practice emerging in response to cultural change,
    including perceptions of cultural globalization. The technical achievement of conservation in situ,
    particularly when presented within bold new urban and architectural designs, represents the
    technological success of the fully modern nation as participant in the global economy, while also
    constructing ‘material memories’ of pasts which are portrayed as uniquely local. Such cultural
    practices have recently been termed ‘memory work’ because of the way the conservation of
    archaeological remains can be seen to construct material memories of particular aspects of the
    past (Hamilakis and Labanyi, 2008). I argue that this involvement of archaeological conservation
    in ‘memory work’ has meant that some of the traditional philosophies and practices of
    archaeological heritage management have been outgrown, and suggest ways that significance
    assessment and conservation methods in particular, need to be re-conceptualised in the context of
    cultural change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChanging World, Changing Views of Heritage: heritage and social change
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the ICOMOS Scientific Symposium
    EditorsElene Negussie
    Place of PublicationParis, France
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9782918086048
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventChanging world, changing views of heritage: heritage and social change - Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 26 Oct 201031 Oct 2010


    ConferenceChanging world, changing views of heritage: heritage and social change


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