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From Antiquities to Heritage: Transformations of Cultural Memory

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Volume 1

Time and the World: Interdisciplinary Studies in Cultural Transformations

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From Antiquities to Heritage

Transformations of Cultural Memory

Anne Eriksen

188 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-298-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-205-0 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (May 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-299-7 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $27.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


‘"The case studies supply the overall argument with a desirable empirical specificity; they deepen and enrich it, while they at the same time challenge common generalizations, current theories and habitual ways of thinking. This works on two parallel levels: the empirical cases are lifted out of their immediate contexts and used to examine and discuss theoretical arguments, and then carried back to shed new light on their historical settings." · Nordic Museology

“Eriksen is a lucid writer. Her case studies are highly informative and reveal a detailed knowledge of Norway’s past that few scholars could match.“ · Museum Anthropology

“…a very important book on the difference between antiquities and heritage and the different sense of time, history, and chronology involved.” · Lynn A. Hunt, UCLA

“The author succeeds in bridging the gap between the history of antiquarianism and the present field of heritage studies... explain[ing]...the transformation of the relations to time from the 18th century up to the present…There is a good balance between the empirical part of the enquiry and its theoretical dimension.” · François Hartog, EHESS, Paris

“It is a very sophisticated and well written manuscript on an important topic within the humanities.” · Birgitta Svensson, Stockholm University


Eighteenth-century gentleman scholars collected antiquities. Nineteenth-century nation states built museums to preserve their historical monuments. In the present world, heritage is a global concern as well as an issue of identity politics. What does it mean when runic stones or medieval churches are transformed from antiquities to monuments to heritage sites? This book argues that the transformations concern more than words alone: They reflect fundamental changes in the way we experience the past, and the way historical objects are assigned meaning and value in the present. This book presents a series of cases from Norwegian culture to explore how historical objects and sites have changed in meaning over time. It contributes to the contemporary debates over collective memory and cultural heritage as well to our knowledge about early modern antiquarianism.

Anne Eriksen is a Professor in Cultural History at the University of Oslo, Norway, and an expert on collective memory and forms of historical knowledge. Among her recent publications are Negotiating Pasts in the Nordic Countries (ed. with. J.V. Sigurdsson, 2009) and Museum. En kulturhistorie (2009).

Subject: Museum Studies Memory Studies Heritage Studies
Area: Northern Europe




  • Research Questions and Perspectives
  • Between Heritage Studies and Antiquarianism
  • The Scope and Content of the Book

Chapter 1. Heritage and Cultural Memory

  • Regimes of Historicity
  • The Cult of Monuments

Chapter 2. In Search of Ancient Heroes

  • Topographies and the Space of Experience
  • What’s in a Name?
  • The Implications of Space
  • Hallingdal and Thrace
  • A Familiar Realm

Chapter 3. Antiquarianism and Epistemic Virtue

  • Facts from Stones
  • From Mortar to Grammar
  • Epistemic Virtues
  • Schøning, the Historian

Chapter 4. Ruins and Time

  • Rudera: Decay, Vestiges and Remains
  • Ruin Romanticism
  • Sensibility and National Glory

Chapter 5. Mediaeval Monuments

  • The Discovery of the Stave Churches
  • Material Evidence – a New Approach
  • J.S. Dahl and the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments
  • History and the Nation
  • A Change of Regimes?

Chapter 6. Museums to Preserve Our Past

  • Systems, Specimens and Antiquities
  • National Awakening
  • Between Temporality and Topography
  • Conflicts and Invisibilities
  • Museums and History

Chapter 7. Monuments and Memorials

  • From Royal Glory to Civic Virtue
  • Standing Stones and Universal Values
  • All of Us – Resistance as a Collective Project
  • Time Witnesses
  • At the Museum

Chapter 8. Cultural Property, Cultural Heritage

  • Bring Him Home!
  • From Property to Heritage
  • Unique, but Not Particular

Chapter 9. Heritage Today

  • Cultural Heritage in the Age of Digitalisation – Heritage Year 2009
  • The Heritage of Everyday Life
  • Doing Heritage
  • From Change to Choice – by Way of a Conclusion


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