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AC Hosts A Conversation with the Editors of the Routledge Handbook of Heritage Destruction

November 15, 2023

On November 13, the Antiquities Coalition brought together the editors of the newly published Routledge Handbook of Heritage Destruction for a live conversation on the handbook and lessons learned from this resource on how to approach the problem of heritage destruction now and in the future.

The book, which came out this August, presents a comprehensive view of cultural heritage destruction, the methods scholars have used to study it, and the results of those methods. It explores legal and theoretical frameworks, as well as a variety of geographical and temporal case studies from Scandinavia and the Baltic region in WWII to Cambodia in the late 20th century, to Iraq and Syria in the last decade, and many more.

In a conversation moderated by AC’s Director of Programs, Helena Arose, the editors explained the development of the book, the purpose behind its structure and content, and lessons learned from the wide variety of case studies.

Key takeaways from the discussion included:

  • Researchers must elevate voices on the ground: It is key to respect and listen to the expertise of local populations when it comes to decisions about protecting heritage or investigating heritage destruction.
  • Heritage destruction comes in many forms: Culture is under threat from crisis, but also from development, construction, and other activity that occurs in peacetime. These types of destruction must also be studied and considered by researchers.
  • Heritage destruction is not only about the built environment: Cultural heritage destruction extends beyond tangible property, impacting people and intangible cultural elements such as traditions, practices, and livelihoods. A holistic preservation approach involves safeguarding both tangible and intangible cultural elements, recognizing their interconnectedness in cultural identity and heritage.

Learn more about the handbook herehere.

Watch the webinar here: