‘Skeletons in the closet’: Forgetting the past in an urban present
March 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Kostas Arvanitis’ blog on the preservation of fragments of the ancient Greek built environment within and beneath modern developments gives a poignant – and more ancient – echo of de Certeau’s “seemingly sleepy, old-fashioned things, defaced houses, closed-down factories, the debris of shipwrecked histories[which] still today raise up the ruins of an unknown, strange city.” (1998: 133)
by Kostas Arvanitis, Museology, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures
The past is closer to us than we sometimes think, says Susan Pearce (1990) and this cannot be truer than in Greek cities. A number of them, built layer upon layer on medieval, hellenistic, classical or prehistoric settlements have ‘deep roots’ in the land they occupy. These ‘roots’ are often visible in the material traces of past environments, such as archaeological monuments, sites or remains, that still stand or lie around the city.
In recent years, archaeological and museological research and practice in Greece has been concerned with the display in situ of such antiquities. However, this is often limited mainly to high profile sites, such as the antiquities excavated in the construction of the Athens Metro (images 1 and 2), or in the foundations of the new Acropolis Museum (images 3 and 4). Their preservation and display have…
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