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Graffiti at Heritage Places: Vandalism as Cultural Significance or Conservation Sacrilege?
University College London.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9572-5922
2011 (English)In: Time and Mind The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture, ISSN 1751-696X, Vol. 4, no 1, 59-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Current heritage best practice aims to avoid strategies that focus solely on single, often arbitrary periods or narratives in a site's history in favor of those that recognize all of the site's layers of significance. This situation was born from similar concerns to those that made archaeology critically self reflect and adopt positions that attempted to overcome inherent preconceptions and biases. However, the treatment of forms of vandalism at heritage sites, such as graffiti, often stands in juxtaposition to the sites' other layers of significance and reveals that heritage management is yet to address all of its own biases. This article discusses the cultural significance of graffiti vandalism at heritage sites. It argues that new ways of theorizing about heritage and its destruction are required and that heritage management should adopt perspectives akin to archaeology's post-processualism in order to ensure that the significance of contemporary graffiti vandalism is not lost by strategies that view it primarily as conservation sacrilege. To do this, the article considers the origin, definition, and types of heritage vandalism before focusing on graffiti in relation to three case studies and then examining the relevant perspectives that archaeological and heritage theory can offer. The article aims to provide a further departure point from which to discuss the significance of vandalism at heritage places and in particular graffiti and its treatment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2011. Vol. 4, no 1, 59-75 p.
Keyword [en]
vandalism, graffiti, rock art, heritage management, archaeology, post-processualism
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110066DOI: 10.2752/175169711X12893985693711OAI: diva2:860988
Available from: 2015-10-14 Created: 2015-10-14 Last updated: 2015-10-14

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Merrill, Samuel

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