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Was it all worth it? Conference review: Archaeological reconstructions between science and event

Roeland Paardekooper (NL)

On the 3 February 1990, as the Iron Curtain dropped and the border between Bavaria and Bohemia opened, three archaeologists from both countries met. One year later they managed to get 27 participants together and soon the archaeological working group East Bavaria, West- and South Bohemia (and latter also Upper Austria) was a fact. The working group was instrumental in getting colleagues together who had been separated for over a generation and has now become an important annual networking opportunity for colleagues from this triangle in Europe, recognised by all relevant archaeological institutes in this triangle.

For their 25th meeting, the working group met in June 2015 in the Geschichtspark Bärnau-Tachov and discussed the use of reconstructions to archaeologists. Geschichtspark is an EXARC member.

The keynote paper was given by Roeland Paardekooper (EXARC). Paardekooper gave an international overview of what archaeological open-air museums are and a vision for the future partly based on excellent views shared a few weeks earlier at the OpenArch conference in Cardiff. An important piece of feedback from the participants was that there is a need for international programs on old animal breeds and traditional plants. Where else could these survive and be presented? Ever heard of a nature open-air museum?

Christof Flügel (Bayer, Landesamt für Denkmalplege, DE) continued on the same track with his paper “Simulated historical reality? Museum villages, open-air museums, archaeological parks and worlds of history”. He tries to create order from chaos: he often receives all kind of applications on his desk and needs to be able to say why some things are supported and other things are not.  There are plenty of examples of non-scientific approaches! Many different names are used, but the main two are park and archaeology. Flügel prefers not to speak about reconstructions but use the word ‘models’ instead (or in German Neubauten and not Nachbauten). The ICOM museum definition (ICOM 1957/1982, in the new edit 2007) accepts archaeological open-air museums only by exception, but the exact rules are not described. EXARC’s definition is helpful because it offers possibilities to rule sites out, saying they are not archaeological open-air museums.

Flügel puts projects into four groups:

Group 1 exists of parks with a compilation of models from different periods and geography, built off site. A good example is the Limespark Osterbürken (Baden-Württemberg, DE).
Group 2 are conserved ruin landscapes with partial or non-full-scale models built over the find or visualisations, sometimes with metal and concrete. Examples are Carnuntum (AT), Vindonissapark (CH) and the Heuneburg (DE).
Group 3 are conserved ruin landscapes in a landscape park on the original site like the Archaeological Park at Kempten (DE).
Group 4 consists of park landscapes on the original sites showing the finds from conservation-didactic reasons with plants and trees. Examples are Römerpark Ruffenhofen (Blümchenkastell, DE) and the Limeseum (DE).

Various reasons lead to the realisation of an archaeological park:

There is EU money (Group 1)
Make things visible as experimental archaeological model
Act out of past worlds (Group 1 and 2)
Conserve excavated or in situ substance (Group 3)
Protect the monument (Group 4)
It is a cheap solution (Group 4)

Tourism is often the main priority. The question is, where does science come in? It is important to ascertain how these sites are developing. When we look at the development of digital reconstructions, archaeologists are more than ever forced to answer questions.  According to Flügel, when presenting a physical archaeological reconstruction you can still ‘fake’ things, but in reconstructed virtual environments there are many more issues that need an explicit answer.

Flügel then attempted to categorise the Geschichtspark Bärnau. It fits well into group 1, where the interpretation possibilities are an important criterion. It also has elements of being an information centre but not of being a museum. Although it fits the EXARC definition, it does not fit the ICOM one. Maybe Bärnau could be best described as an archaeological science centre or culture park. One piece of advice Flügel has for Bärnau is to emphasise their role as a centre for promoting the construction of high-quality wooden buildings.

Ondřej Chvojka from the Jihočeské Museum in České Budějovice (CZ) presented an overview of archaeoparks in the Czech Republic, compiled by Bohumír Dragoun, Milan Metlička, Ondřej Chvojka and Václav Horák. This presentation can be regarded as an update of the 2003 article by Tichý and Tichovský, “Experimental Archaeology in Czechia at the Turn of the Millennium”.

An important point is that in the Czech Republic most archaeological open-air museums are founded by associations, from scouts to living history, and not by municipalities, regions or the state.

Chvojka’s overview was mostly chronological, starting with Březno u Loun and Villa Nova Uhřínov (1994). He then discussed the archaeopark at Všestary in great detail, a centre that was instrumental in the early years of the EXARC Journal. It is closely linked to a university and has an important task both toward science and the public. 

Several parks were included in this review: PragueTrója; AltamiraKosmonosy;  the Keltoi organisation at Prášily; Archaia at Prague Liboc; Curia Vítkov; the young enthusiasts at Křivolík; a future project at Nasavrky (La Tène oppidum); ArchaeotheatreParkJivjany; Kovářov-Zeměráj with its eight medieval type houses; Netolice; Modrá;  the Zoo in Pilsen and finally Chotěbuz – Podobora (Český Těšín).

Most of these centres are monothematic, often Celtic, and are hardly ever medieval. There is a serious need for these centers to take a more professional approach.

Wolfgang Klimesch (Archeonova, AT) then gave three examples of reconstructions and open-air areas in Upper Austria.

In the 1990s, excavation in Razlburg revelled the octagonal tower of a high medieval castle, built in 1170 and abandoned in 1208. Following documentation, the wooden floor was re-erected in 1998 within the original walls. On the side, a classic information point was installed with tables. The wooden floor often served as the stage (literally) for folkloristic events like music and dancing as well as harvest celebrations. The ruin needed to be repaired extensively in 2004. The need for constant maintenance in this example is clear, but must be balanced with the high level of community involvement.

At Schirding a castle well was found in 1915 but the location was lost soon after. In 1985 the well was found again; it was 26.5 metres deep, 2-3 meter wide, with water at 16 metres. The well probably dates to 1225. In 2004 the well was reconstructed, including all the aboveground structures such as walls and a well house. Nice details were taken from historic examples. The well is used at guided tours. In this case, a small amount of maintenance is required.

In Eberschwang the local population wanted to celebrate the 1100th year anniversary of their village by constructing a chapel the way it might have looked like in thetenth century. There is no original excavated chapel and the new chapel stands in a random location. It is however consecrated and used for baptisms and weddings. The construction involved many local volunteers, an architect and mostly old techniques. Small detail: the windows were made of cow bladders.

Klimesch concluded that the local community’s enthusiasm is very important before, during and after the development of a site. Maintenance is often easily forgotten or ignored. Archaeologists are often requested to get involved, but is this just an attempt to legitimize the project and when does it serve science? Where does our responsibility end? And if we refuse, do not other people just take over?

Wolfgang David (Kelten Römer Museum Manching, DE) took the stage to discuss conflicts the valorisation of archaeological monuments through visualisation, partly reconstructing and rebuilding. David has taught on archaeological open-air museums and archaeological parks in Middle Europe in Munich for the past six years. He too mentioned the issue of lack of maintenance and lack of involvement of competent staff. Archaeological open-air museums should advocate for archaeology and increase the value of the local area. Chances exist but there are also demands: it is a matter of local politics and local economy versus cultural interpretation. Goals differ and both sides must meet in the middle. Often examples like Pompeii and Mycenae are mentioned, but even there rebuilding is an issue: we do not know what it looked like. Follow-up costs after the completion of a park are seldom discussed. There is no such thing as maintenance-free.

David gave several examples of in situ rebuilding or partly reconstruction of grave mounds. With earth walls it is a question how to visualise the enormous size of these things

The Heuneburg houses were built on the original foundations. They are great, but what about the modern restaurant in the same field advertising for cola and ice? A few years ago they excavated a tower at a little distance from the reconstructed area, right when local politicians wanted to close the museum as they did not think it had value locally, this is despite its good international reputation (among archaeologists anyway).

At Manching, David uses a combination of living history and archaeotechnique. He prefers to work with the best living history groups he knows, but these are pricey. The press is also of great importance. It would be too much to reconstruct the full oppidum. A 3D virtual reconstruction might be nice, but there are too many unknown and let their imagination do the work. An artistic project at a roundabout was an interesting way of getting the archaeological message across.

David then continued giving examples of visualisation where the maintenance proved to be problematic. What if a school builds a half size kind of Celtic house and years later needs 30,000 euro for repairs? What happens in Bibracte (FR) when the walls of the oppidum are reconstructed but a road for bus coaches is cut through and after just a decade stones fall from the walls? The MAMUZ museum in Asparn (AT) is a good museum that is constantly in flux. At Latenium (CH) the adventure playground with a lake dwelling house for children is a great idea. But then again, the M3 Park at Polgar (HU) is a good example what happens if one drifts too far towards commercialism.

In conclusion, quality for such projects is important, as is working with the right people. These sites primarily have an educational goal and will not be able to entirely self-supporting.

Ludwig Husty (Kreisarchäologie Straubing-Bogen) discussed the LBK house from Straubing-Lerchenhaid. In 1989, the National Garden Show took place in Straubing. One of the ideas was to present a LBK house but soon it was discovered that adaptions needed to be made. The soil where the model was to be built was not loess and the new house was not North-South oriented. Needle wood was used instead of oak. Finally there was no money to actually construct the house with original methods. The carrying posts were tarred. Holes were drilled mechanically into the ground and posts were hauled into them. Some of them were 6 metres long. One hundred and twenty posts were placed in one day. Wood connections were made with plastic rope that looked like hemp because scientists were not convinced about what wooden connections could be used. In total, 1.8 km of rope were used. It looked very primitive. The roof was thatched with reed; the round wood walls were covered with loam. The project took 8 months to complete and even though the wood and workforce were donated, the costs had gone up to 150,000 DM (75,000 EUR).

Many activities were staged around the house during the Garden Show, but what happened after the Show was over in October 1989? The house, a star during the show, became unwanted due to insurance and repairs. A year later the Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e.V. took over due to its ecological character. In July 1993 the building was set on fire by arsonists. A new house could be built thanks to good insurance (280,000 DM if rebuilt on the exact same place, a bit less if built elsewhere). The new site (behind a fence!) was the Zoo in Straubing, which receives 300,000 visitors annually. The second house was also built with machines and by spring 1999, all was ready. For this second house, they imported loess soil, just like with the archaeological example. Another improvement was the application of oak wood. Weirdly enough, the house was not built NW-SE like the original, but NE-SW. It was also turned around front to back.

Maintenance costs are now the responsibility of the zoo. Inside the house there is an exhibition on animal breeds. There is no scientific advice given concerning the house itself. Action days take place often, but have no connection to Stone Age.

Husty agreed that compromising is a serious issue. The house is visited a lot, but that does not legitimise the house itself. More scientific advice is recommended for such constructions, but who pays for them?

The Archaeopark Netolice was discussed by Michaela Divišová (Jihočeská Univerzita, České Budějovice (CZ), in a paper prepared by Jaromír Beneš, Martin Pták, Petr Růžička, Michaela Divišová, Jiří Bumerl, Hana Hojerová, Monika Hrušková and Václav Vondrovský.

Divišová reported on the reconstruction of an Early Medieval hillfort in South Bohemia. In the 10th – 13th century, Netolice was one of the royal centres of Bohemia. Excavation started in 2000 and is still on-going. The faces of skeletons found have been reconstructed, and ecodata have been important in the reconstruction of daily life at the site. One important question is whether it is possible or even allowed to put the reconstruction on site itself. One of the aims of the reconstruction project is to help rediscover the role of the castle amongst the recent population.

There had been political support in 2004 when the watch tower was built, but lagged following elections. In 2004 the watchtower of the hillfort was built and became a crucial tourist point. It was made by hand using 300 cubic metres of wood. The construction of the palisade soon followed, but unfortunately that is where work halted. Not only is the maintenance of what is already built an issue (teenagers’ activities are not helping much), but there is a lot of passive resistance against it. Thankfully each year new students come for the archaeological field school and volunteers are involved more and more. In 2013 this lead to the founding of the Civic Association Archeopark Netolice, which includes young researchers and students, organises events and guided tours with scientific commentary.

A truly remarkable step was to turn things upside down and put out a questionnaire for all 2,000 inhabitants of Netolice with the question: where do we go from here? Of course there was criticism of the current situation that reflected the political situation in town—people called it a waste of money. The issue that the site is used for dog training was also criticised. The people of Netolice however emphasised the need for more parking spaces, more cultural events, supervision, regular revitalisation and maybe even new buildings.

One may conclude that the original goal, stimulating rediscovery, was reached; is it now time to re-evaluate the project? What about other issues, such as the absence of staff? Many questions remain and much help is needed.

The director of Geschichtspark Bärnau, Stefan Wolters, concluded the first day with an introduction to the park. The site is a museum in the border area that has both a scientific claim and an economic reality. By the end of the 1980s the city of Bärnau was close to becoming a ghost town. Munich is only 232 km, Prague is 172 km and Pilsen is only 79 km. Bärnau’s chance came with the fall of the Iron Curtain; the idea to develop a historical park had been around for a while, but in 2010 the project officially took off. The goal was to construct and manage a museum with both formal and informal education. Seventy percent of the construction of 26 houses on seven hectares was financed by the EU. It took four years to build. Behind the park stands an association with 600 members of which 35 are active. Paid staff is very limited. An important demand of the association is good cooperation with universities.

The village is composed of different elements from one period and three periods next to each other. Examples for the houses are mainly local, but some are from other West-Slavic areas. The motte is based on examples from South England. It was a challenge to have archaeologists and the building regulators understand each other. An effort was made to use high-quality and original materials, although compromises were made (for example the wooden shingles are connected with metal instead of wooden pegs).

The Park has a huge involvement of volunteers, 45,000 hours so far. This investment is very important. Equally important is to steer the volunteers, teaching them what the result should be and how to reach it. For example, the 33 museum guides were trained over eight evenings, took an exam and had to try-out. So far the park has about 20,000 visitors annually but needs 30,000 to break even. A large part of the annual costs are the lease of the land. Living history is very important for the Park, and attracts visitors from afar.

Visitor surveys indicate that there should be more information points and more lighting. The huts are empty, visitors say, and have no way to compare what they’ are viewing with a map that has more information). If one cannot go on a guided tour, the Park offers an audio guide but this takes one and a half hours.

Another issue is that the three phases are too close to each other: visitors do not see that the late motte does not fit with the early houses. The animals also pose a controversy. The goats, horses, sheep and oxen have already left the Park but the public and employees are emotionally attached to the Mangalica pigs, so they do not get slaughtered. The palisade between the parking lot and the park is the border between authenticity inside and fun events outside, including medieval markets.

The business plan includes side activities as well, like the shop (also online), the gastronomy and the conference room. School groups are slowly increasing. The Park outsourced these but receives income through the entrance fees. In the near future, more paid staff will be needed. Another wish is more experimental archaeology in cooperation with the University of Bamberg. Wolters would like to create knowledge pool.

The first paper on the second and last day was presented by Miloslav Chytráček (AV ČR Prague, CZ) (co-authors include Ondřej Chvojka, Jan John and Jan Michálek). He presented several examples of in situ reconstructed grave chambers of prehistoric grave mounds in South- and West Bohemia.

One example, Stříbro near Tachov, was excavated by Dr Eichhorn in 1936. He thought the site, with its stone circles, was so interesting that he decided to keep it open. In the mid-1990s the grave mound was investigated again and found to be in a devastated condition. Therefore it was reconstructed in 2012 in the situation of 1936: open with all stones visible.

In Písek, in 2008, a mid-Bronze Age mound was discovered at a rescue excavation and is now presented under glass in the city centre.

At Protivín, a Hallstatt 1 grave mound room measuring 4x4 metres was excavated in 1970 and was subsequently reconstructed in a drawing.

The final example, also from Rovná (Strakonice), was an Iron Age grave mound. Excavated in 2012-2013, a 3D computer simulation of the grave room of 6 x 6 metres was made showing the log-building technique. The target groups for the simulation are colleagues and the public. The simple simulation was made by students. 

Zuzana Bláhová-Sklenářová (Univerzita Karlova, Prague, CZ) is co-author of the famous “Glossar zum prähistorischen und historischen Holzbau” discussed earlier in the EXARC Journal 2013-3 (Paardekooper 2013). She presented a thorough study of wooden house construction in Middle Europe through the millennia, mentioning three types of sources:

Primary archaeological sources: technically comparable buildings with another function
Secondary sources: authentic information about the buildings, for example iconographical sources, dating to the same period
Tertiary sources: not the same period but technically comparable (same materials, properties of the building material, possibilities of constructional solutions); ethnography and experimental reconstructions

How a building is made depends on many factors. Some of these are objective factors like the environment, the materials available, et cetera. Other factors are culturally determined: social structure and organisation, economic needs, building traditions et cetera.

Several steps lead to a house becoming an archaeological source. It is important to know how the house was made (what materials, how well it was built), how long the house was used, the way it decayed (fire or slowly turning into a ruin), depositional and post depositional processes, and finally how it was excavated (if at all). 

According to Bláhová-Sklenářová, there are three different types of environment where houses may be found: mineral soils (most parts of Europe), tell settlements and wetland settlements.

She then explained details of bearing and non-bearing construction elements, skeleton construction versus massive construction, different types of foundations, walls and roofs. An interesting example showed how much archaeologists see if they excavate at the straight surface or at a depth of 30-40 cm.

When we reconstruct houses and use archaeological data, according to Bláhová-Sklenářová we need to respect three rules:

Do the finds offer enough information on all aspects (have we got it all covered?)
Does it fit (context of time, space)?
Are the original data trustworthy?

Jiří Unger and Luboš Jiráň (AV ČR Prague, CZ) then presented their paper, “Virtual Reconstruction of Archaeological Features”. They explained how one can create a parallel virtual heritage by means of 3D scanning, photogrammetry and 3D modelling. These techniques are widely applied in archaeology throughout Europe. Following an explanation about the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), three examples of the work done in Prague were presented.

The example from Neolithic Prague shows that when artefacts are put in a virtual gallery, they are then seldom put on physical display as well. The virtual reconstruction in Prague aimed to show the now gone Neolithic landscape, a considerable challenge because the view has changed so much since the Stone Age. 

In Český Krumlov a new exhibition was put together, so you can see the 3D early medieval Slavic settlement that used to be at the other river bank which is still visible from the exhibition window. Questions were raised about either using touchscreen or a mobile application.

At Prague Vinoř, as a result of rescue excavations a 3D reconstruction of the village was made with four information points. This is regarded as a good alternative from written reports, which usually are archived (though obviously these presentations do not replace scientific publications).

The target group for these presentations was initially the public and was seen as a step towards community engagement. Even though they are digital, these presentations still need maintenance: think about keeping it accessible to new platforms.

Joachim Zuber (Kreisarchäologie Kelheim, DE) then explained the extensive work done at the Archaeology Experience Altmühltal (APA). The rescue excavations took place from 1976-1991 due to the construction of a huge canal. Different possibilities for the visualisation of archaeological data over a large area were experimented with—with the additional requirement that everything had to be open to the public 24/7.

The APA park starts at Kielheim with a large gate made of concrete and wood; there is, no experimental reconstruction whatsoever. The location is different, and the orientation is also different. Even for the professional a full reconstruction of the wall is difficult to understand, so for whom do we do it?

At Michelsberg a wall with wooden posts and stone in between is partly built up. It shows the wall in a state of decay, 1.5 metres high, with the original wall behind it.

In Essingen an iron-smelting oven is constructed 600 metres away from the original site. It is built in concrete but when events take place, a different furnace of more traditional materials is built and fired. One also added a hut for the blacksmith. There is no archaeological evidence but it is needed for the forging.

At Prunn a late Hallstatt, early La Tène weaving house was excavated. To avoid maintenance, the positions for the posts are marked with red concrete plates filled with plastic posts and a piece of steel show where the loom was located.

Riedenburg Emmertal is the site of a Bronze Age grave field with 14 hills and a massive amount of stones. Hill Number 3, which was 11 metres diameter and 1.4 metres tall, was reconstructed at full scale.  However, the original elevation was unknown so other sites were used as a comparison and the reconstruction included a sacrifice area, but no grave.

At Oberhofen a compilation from different archaeological sites was made. Two buildings are four-post and six-post storage rooms and are massive buildings. There is also a palisade and a chief’s house form a third excavation, showing a different type of construction. Currently the house consists of a frame, showing how it was built.

The most abstract visualisation is at Untereggersberg, a site with 135 Hallstatt graves. Here there are metal wire showing the contours of the grave mounds and small concrete plaques in the ground describe examples of the artefacts found here.

The piece de resistance, the last station of APA, is Erlebnisdorf Alcmona, which has a kind of Bronze Age longhouse. Many questions remain concerning the construction, such as whether the windows and the balcony can be accepted by archaeologists. The Alcmona site is run by an active association.

The APA Park is spread over four municipalities. There is no one person with oversight and no one is responsible for the maintenance. However, the original goal was not to create a tourist attraction, but to show the archaeological sites in the landscape. This is a goal that has been met.

Sebastian Sommer (Bayerisches Landesamt für Bodendenkmalpflege, DE) took a Roman perspective by discussing installations and new constructions at the Limes UNESCO World Heritage. The goal is to make things visible, for example by marking sites in the landscape with plaques. The Deutsche Limeskommission has guidelines for such plaques. Once a site is excavated, making it available means maintenance, such as at Burgsalach in Bavaria. The monument is a ruin, but what about when the monument gets ruined? In Eining there are installations that have audio, but due to technical problems these do not function as they should. Models, both ones that are drawn and those executed in concrete, work well. One can also visualise the contours by marking these with plants, for example in Ruffenhofen.

(Re)constructions, such as those of Limes towers, are an issue of their own. Again, the Deutsche Limeskommission has developed definitions that help to designate what is a reconstruction and what is not. The best example of an archaeological experiment is the tower at Limeshain (unfortunately not published yet). Another example is in Pohl, although the accuracy of this experiment is hindered by yhr need for accessibility.

It may be better to use installations instead, such as the gate at Pförring or the new tower at Hienheim WP 15/46. The first ‘new’ tower burnt down a while ago and is now rebuilt in modern materials.

Digital reconstructions if made well are very valuable, like for example in Weissenburg.

Digital reconstructions make it easier to show what life might have been like at a site, but they are expensive. However, it is nice to show alternatives and make improvements later on, based on new knowledge. Seeing the contours of what the original site was like may better than a virtual reconstruction as a person can grasp the size of the site. 

Sommer concluded that quality should always be the number one priority—our credibility is at stake! Future maintenance and responsibility are often neglected: the construction is in one hand, maintenance in nobody’s hand.

The final speech, highly recommended, was given by Ruth Sandner (Bayerisches Landesamt für Bodendenkmalpflege, DE). She summarised much of what was discussed during the conference, but also included a good literature review. Her question: does the reconstructed past serve archaeology? One should deconstruct the reconstruction: what are the reasons and sources? She also clearly advocated the use of the word model or new-build (Neubau) and not (re)construction. Activities at such sites span from live interpretation to heritage interpretation and community archaeology. What are the goals of the organiser, and, on the other hand, what are the expectations of the users?

A simple line-up of visitor expectations is as follows:

Visualisation (Schmidt 2000, 142)
Emotions (Ahrens 1990, 34-35)
Experience (Ahrens 1990, 59)
Satisfaction of the positive expectation (Banghard 2000, 213)

The organiser however has a complete different set of expectations:

Creating work places
Strengthening weak regions
Developing tourist destinations
Satisfying political needs
Personal interest for the profession
Answer to the pressure of visualisation
Et cetera

Archaeology as a discipline can profit from these models because they help to test theses, justify spending funds on archaeological research, support the research of  monuments, and create an emotional link between the community and the monument and achieve popularisation in general. The actors or users of the model have an interest in history and want to get more experience and share their knowledge. Do these models and activities really lead to more public and political support for archaeology? The issue is that what is shown is not an objective presentation of facts: the context is missing and the public interprets its own observations partly based on its own background experience.

The museum or park presents a haphazard version of the past, a nostalgic image. Too often, existing stereotypes are enforced. Criticism of archaeological open-air museums is easily found, but what is missing are analyses of the consumers, for example about their opinions before and after the visit.

Sandner concluded that for those planning models, it is important to formulate the original reasons and goals, and when ready, check if what was realised is what was aimed for. There will always be changes or modifications. Finally, these museums should make results available, i.e. publish, so colleagues from both museum and archaeology can judge as well.

Two other papers unfortunately were not present due to the authors being absent: Jutta Leskovar (AT: Open-Air Museum Keltendorf Mitterkirchen – Summary after 24 years) and Pavel Vařeka & Petr Netolický (Západočeská Univerzita, Pilsen, CZ: Reconstruction of the medieval village house at the archaeological Park Prague–Liboc).

The final discussion discussed the following points:

What kind of knowledge do visitors actually gain from visiting the places discussed?
Archaeologists involved in (re)constructions all have very different goals, does that mean that everything is allowed? Where do we want to cooperate and when not?
Where is our ethos? What about quality?
Who controls the images we create? Archaeologists cannot prevent someone from building a reconstruction.
There is a market for information about the past, and we can fill this through informal education.

While the discussion was varied, one major point was that archaeologists may be involved in planning a building, but they are not didactic or museum specialists. Too often it is first building, then thinking about long-term goals, support, et cetera. Each archaeological open-air museum should seek to develop its networking abilities and strive to have a scientific board with colleagues from museums and archaeology to ensure reflection. Museums should also be honest about what is presented and with what goals.

More information on the workgroup can be found at:

While the discussion was varied, one major point was that archaeologists may be involved in planning a building, but they are not didactic or museum specialists. Too often it is first building, then thinking about long-term goals, support, et cetera. Each archaeological open-air museum should seek to develop its networking abilities and strive to have a scientific board with colleagues from museums and archaeology to ensure reflection. Museums should also be honest about what is presented and with what goals.


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