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Despite discussions of the 'afterlife' of monuments, the role of the past in the past and the spatial and chronological links manifested in monument 'complexes' and 'ritual landscapes', to date there has been little theoretical consideration of how such persistence of place was possible; and why this was so. Long-term practices occurring over many centuries and human generations are indicated by discoveries at Cladh Hallan, Ferry Fryston and Fiskerton. In Britain, developer-funded investigations have demonstrated numerous landscape and depositional continuities. How could such accurate memories of earlier events be maintained for so long? Was this merely the political manipulation of the past, or was it a more reverential or religious referential process? Was this simply the 'dead weight of tradition', or are we witnessing the power of oral histories, myths and legends to transcend time?
We invite papers from archaeologists interested in such questions of persistence of place and practice. One aim of the session is to move discussion away from simplistic notions of 'ritual' landscapes; and towards the relationships between quotidian activities and arenas of 'everyday life' and the remnants of past features and events. Large-scale landscape references and small-scale, particular events could all be a focus for discussion. We welcome contributions from those working in developer-funded archaeology who have undertaken landscape-scale projects where such physical and temporal connections have been manifest.
Discussant: Duncan Garrow
17th–19th December 2010