Wednesday, 11 April 2012

In situ or not in situ?

Open-air-museums and reconstructions of historical buildings are still en vogue - a look at Guedelon in France proves that easily. There is, however, one basic question which often leads to discussion among archaeologists and museum folks: In situ or not in situ? Is it a good idea to build a reconstruction right on top of the excavation site - or is it not?

The EXARC website has a very interesting piece on this question, where ten authors from different positions and places give their answer and opinion. If you like open-air museums or are interested in reconstruction, I heartily recommend reading it.

My own view, by the way, is that it should be avoided - I feel that the danger of sealing in or destroying archaeological information that might be helpful later on is too great, as is the danger of mixing reconstruction and historical reality - both in the visitor's minds and eyes and, once the new structures are also decaying, in the field.

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