The Antiquity Lecture

The keynote of TAGDeva is The Antiquity Lecture, 6pm on Monday 17th December in the Main Lecture Theatre, Molloy Building, Main Campus, Parkgate Road, University of Chester:

Applied Archaeology:

From Historical Development to Sustainable Development

On the European and global levels, there are now explicit political desires for the humanities to address societal challenges and sustainable development goals. I argue in my lecture that this seemingly new agenda builds in fact on a long tradition of applying archaeology. In the first part of my discussion, I will outline a brief history of applying archaeology to various purposes in society. Both archaeology’s learning outcomes and its practices in the field have had a range of applications over the past two centuries. Archaeology first became significant in the context of 19th century National Romanticism when national identities were linked to the historical origins and the historical evolution of a nation’s people. In the post-industrial societies of recent decades, archaeology shifted some of its societal significance to the realms of edutainment and the tourism industry. In the second part of my lecture, I will discuss, with examples, emerging trends of applying archaeology to new causes in society, including health and well-being, quality of life, sustainable development and social cohesion. Future prospects include an increasingly felt need to contribute to achieving the United Nation’s ambitious Agenda 2030 to which the UK and other member states have signed up and are committed to. Today, therefore, we need to rethink what it means (or could mean) to apply archaeology to society. This might not only be tactically smart but it is also intellectually and theoretically exciting: familiar debates, e.g. about ontology, epistemology, public archaeology, and critiques of the heritage industry, might soon be superseded by a new agenda focusing on the ethics, politics, and professional experience of working for concrete human benefits on a global scale by developing collaboration and dialogue with new partners.

The lecture will be delivered by Professor Cornelius Holtorf, UNESCO chair in Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University, Sweden.

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Professor Cornelius Holtorf


Note: this is a ticketed event open to all delegates (you will be asked whether you wish to attend when you register and, if you do, a ticket will be in  your registration packs).

The video of this presentation is now available here.

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