Ruined pasts, reimagined presents and reconstructed futures: Conflicted Palmyra

Lecture by Dr. Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway, University of London).

2018.08.31 | Lasse Rievers Olesen

Date Tue 18 Sep
Time 12:00 13:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (Urbnet), Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark (Building 4230-232)


In this talk I will look at the case for and against the reconstruction of Palmyra, Syria, setting the site in its historical context to understand what its future might look like. Several commentators on reconstructions take as their starting point that reconstructions, and a concern with preserving the past, are modern preoccupations (see e.g. Lübbe 1996; Rehberg and Neutzner 2015; Roth 1997). The idea of the past in the past is now well-established in archaeological theory and research, demonstrating that past peoples had intimate relationships with their immediate and deeper pasts. There has, however, been less focus on how people in the past may have responded to the destruction of their built environment (both past and contemporary) through conflict. I will explore how we might explore these past responses to destruction at Palmyra. In addition, I will look at how Palmyra has been reimagined in and by the west since the earliest western visitors reported on the site in the 17th century with a view to understanding how this has impacted on current calls to reconstruct the site following its most recent destruction.  

History and archaeology, Lecture/talk