Recovering place: Cultivating an ethic of care for ancient sites and monuments

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Nolan, Claire
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Trivent Publishing
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The work of the Friends of Knock Iveagh showcased within this volume demonstrates how recovering the narrative of an ancient heritage landscape can bring a community together around a common interest, and promote an increased fascination and care for one’s place. Similar conservation initiatives and campaigns exist in the south of the Island of Ireland. However, despite the enthusiasm of these projects, reports of deliberate damage to ancient sites and monuments, prehistoric remains in particular, appear to be on the rise in the Republic of Ireland. This destructive activity highlights a fundamental lack of understanding of archaeological sites and the social value that they can afford. While on the surface this stance may stem from historical deficiencies in heritage education, interpretation and unsympathetic planning approaches, it is arguably underpinned by a deep-rooted ‘cultural amnesia’. This paper explores the potential for a place-based ethic of care, through cultural memory-work and emotional engagement, to combat destructive attitudes and behaviour towards archaeological sites. It suggests that by bringing local antiquities into collective consciousness, not just as sites of recreation and learning, but also commemoration and reflection, may help more people to develop a stronger sense of connection to, and care for, these monuments, whilst experiencing care in the process.
Cultural heritage , Prehistoric archaeology , Place-based learning , Place-based ethic of care , Monument destruction , Heritage management , Value of cultural heritage , Deep stewardship , Heritage and wellbeing
Nolan, C. (2024) 'Recovering place: Cultivating an ethic of care for ancient sites and monuments', in: Maguire, R., Mhic Liam, V. and Harper, A. (eds) [Forthcoming] Knock Iveagh: Memory and Materiality. Budapest: Trivent Publishing.
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© 2024, Claire Nolan. Published by Trivent Publishing.