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Heritage spectacles: the case of Amphipolis excavations during the Greek economic crisis

Fouseki, K; Dragouni, M; (2017) Heritage spectacles: the case of Amphipolis excavations during the Greek economic crisis. International Journal of Heritage Studies , 23 (8) 742 -758. 10.1080/13527258.2017.1321573. Green open access

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Abstract

This article explores the ways in which the archaeological excavations at Amphipolis, Northern Greece, were transformed into a ‘heritage spectacle’ during the summer of 2014. The article argues that the spectacularisation of Amphipolis excavations constituted a powerful, political medium for dis-orientating the wider Greek public from issues related to the severe economic crisis of the country. Although the practice of heritage spectacularisation is not new, the media spectacle of Amphipolis introduced an advanced mechanism for spectacularizing archaeological research and the past. The article deconstructs this mechanism through a thematic content analysis of about 100 newspaper articles published in the Greek press, filtered through the lenses of spectacle theory. As it is demonstrated, the spectacularisation process of Amphipolis excavations is embodied by emotive dramatisation, banal cultural symbols, escapism and power imbalances. The article concludes with an interpretive framework for heritage spectacles while highlighting ethical and practical implications regarding the role of archaeologists and heritage practitioners towards political ‘abuse’ of heritage in times of socio-economic and political crises.

Type: Article
Title: Heritage spectacles: the case of Amphipolis excavations during the Greek economic crisis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2017.1321573
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2017.1321573
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: Amphipolis, economic crisis, Greece, identity, media, heritage spectacle
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1552679
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