The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

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The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

Postby the_power on Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:06 am

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... to-be.html

THE way we live our lives is changing. We travel further and faster than ever. We cycle and walk less. We rush to and fro, rarely pausing to encounter the things we see on the way. As a result, we view the landscape that we pass through differently. Other than on holidays, it is increasingly rare for us to stop off at historic places and monuments. Rather, we absorb information as we go, developing an understanding of our surroundings more through a kind of osmosis than by direct contact.

As our experience of landscape changes, so do our ideas about what constitutes heritage. While curators and managers once focused on the protection of specific sites and buildings, they now also seek a broader, more holistic understanding of the historic environment. This shift in emphasis is partly due to our increasingly mobile society, which has created a heightened sense of "localness", and a growing appreciation of personal views of what matters and why.


It's an interesting little article; possibly explains a lot of the apathy around Tara; he reckons that the *place* isn't as important as the *knowledge of the place*.

John
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Re: The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

Postby bannerman on Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:55 am

I think it depends very much on what period of history/archaeology we are talking about. To my mind battlesites be it at the Boyne or Kilmichaels there is nothing remaining of the historical event other than modern monuments and an understanding of what took place there and its impact is hugely important. I remember an American tourist once asked me "Well if I go to the Battle of Kinsale site what can I see? I mean is it just green dirt? ...Oh I mean grass?"
Compare that to something like Newgrange where archaeologists can spit out theories some more practical and plausable and others but its hard to know exactly what went on there. Try as we might to inform ourselves about what went on there - to me the monument is the key thing.
Places like Glendalough are a mixture of the two. We have a fair idea of what went on there - but we are far from knowing everything. While the monuments there are usualy the focus of attention the surrounding landscape is key to the history of the place be it the pilgrimage route through the hills to the site known as St. Kevins way, or the national park, the forest and the solitude you can find in it which is according to legend why St. Kevin headed out there in the first place.
http://www.warofindependence.net/

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Re: The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

Postby pajo on Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:52 am

Other than on holidays, it is increasingly rare for us to stop off at historic places and monuments.


Its sad, but its true, that that has become the norm :( Personally, I like to stop off and look at as much as I can whenever I can... I.e theres an ogham stone within walking distance of me, and a dolmen within about 15mins drive of me, and I head to these quiet often (the ogham stone especially, as I often pass it when I'm out walking)... luckily, there are a lot of things around kilkenny/carlow/waterford to see.... like kilkenny castle, jerpoint abbey, dunmore cave, the ogham stone here in carrickshock, the dolmen near me, brownshill dolmen in carlow, granny castle, etc etc... theres a LOT more... I'm also lucky in that my partner likes and is interested in these things too.. so I have someone to share it with. its a fasination with how these things were done without all our "technology" - things like dolmens in partic' - and its great to stand beside these things and try wrap ur head around how long its been there! when u consider how long things made in our modern world last... monuments fall apart or are vandalised in no time... building are built with only realtivly short life spans etc etc...

so yea, its a pity that that has become the norm... and evn when people do stop to look, its like "oh yea, lovely, right lets go"...

I know its only one lil part of that thing, but its what really caught my attention....
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Re: The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

Postby the_power on Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:38 pm

bannerman wrote: Compare that to something like Newgrange where archaeologists can spit out theories some more practical and plausable and others but its hard to know exactly what went on there. Try as we might to inform ourselves about what went on there - to me the monument is the key thing.


Newgrange is just an interpretation itself; it was recreated from a mound of rubble...it's amazingly impressive. It might not look anything like it did 5000 years ago. But it's still magnificent. It instills awe and pride. When your heritage can do that, it's working; even if it's not ... authentic.

Tara is authentic. But you really have to try to be awe-inspired by it.

John
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Re: The Changing Nature of 'Heritage'

Postby gobae on Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:33 pm

To my mind battlesites be it at the Boyne or Kilmichaels there is nothing remaining of the historical event other than modern monuments and an understanding of what took place there and its impact is hugely important. I remember an American tourist once asked me "Well if I go to the Battle of Kinsale site what can I see? I mean is it just green dirt? ...Oh I mean grass?"


Very true. I live a mere 15 miles from the Saratoga battlefield and it gets used more as a recreational park than a place to learn about something of historic significance. Why? There's nothing to look at... it's "just green dirt". There were only a few farmer's houses in that area originally, and none of them survived to see the creation of the park. Anything else that might help poeple understand event (breastworks, positions, redoubts) got turned back into farm land after the battle was over. People take more notice when there's tangible object involved.

But I think a big issue is that the history behind the places and objects has never been explained in a way CONNECTS it to them in a meaningful way. Those connections ARE there, but they need to be highlighted and explained.
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