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Archaeological excavations as sites of public protest in twentieth-century Britain

Moshenska, G; (2020) Archaeological excavations as sites of public protest in twentieth-century Britain. Fennoscandia Archaeologica , XXXVII pp. 181-195. Green open access

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Abstract

What happens when an archaeological excavation becomes the focus for media attention and public outrage? Protests of all kinds, ranging from letter-writing and legal challenges to mass rallies and illegal occupations, are a longstanding feature of global public archaeology. In this paper, I examine this phenomenon through three case studies of protest in UK archaeology, dating from the 1950s to the 1990s: the Temple of Mithras in the City of London, the Rose Theatre in Southwark, and the ‘Seahenge’ timber circle in Norfolk. The accounts of these sites and the protest movements that they sparked reveal a set of consistent themes, including poor public understanding of rescue archaeology, an assumption that all sites can be ‘saved’, and the value of good stakeholder consultation. Ultimately, most protests of archaeological excavations are concerned with the power of private property and the state over heritage: the core of the disputes – and the means to resolve them – are out of the hands of the archaeologists.

Type: Article
Title: Archaeological excavations as sites of public protest in twentieth-century Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.sarks.fi/fa/PDF/FA_37_Moshenska.pdf
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: contested heritage, heritage management, public archaeology, social movements
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10115927
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