The Role of Intangible Heritage Values in the Management of Places and Things

Author(s): Elizabeth Chilton

Year: 2015


One of the stated goals of decolonizing archaeological theory and practice it to redistribute power and authority in the creation and communication of cultural heritage, a laudable goal. However, achieving such a goal is only possible if archaeologists and historican relinquish their role as historiographical experts—as the ultimate authority on historical truths and significance. While in recent years there has been a trend towards increasing public outreach and engagement, in some cases such collaborations have actually strengthened the colonial power relationships in which archaeologists have participated. One way forward it to turn to a definition of materiality that acknowledges that tangible and intangible heritage are inextricable, and that meanings and values are continuously created and recreated in the present by a variety of memory communities (see, for example, the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage). In this paper I examine several case studies--including the Northeast U.S. and the Bahamas--as a means to demonstrate that collaborative praxis must foreground the intangible.

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Cite this Record

The Role of Intangible Heritage Values in the Management of Places and Things. Elizabeth Chilton. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395404)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;