University of Oulu

Janne Ikäheimo & Tiina Äikäs (2017) Constructing a trumped-up future with the pastness of the present? Neo-relics and archaeological heritage, World Archaeology, 49:3, 388-403, DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2017.1333922

Constructing a trumped-up future with the pastness of the present? : neo-relics and archaeological heritage

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Author: Ikäheimo, Janne1; Äikäs, Tiina1
Organizations: 1Archaeology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-12-07


Neo-relics, constructions borrowing their looks from ancient structures or sites ranging from the mighty Stonehenge to a humble Troy town, have recently been erected in different parts of Finland. In authorized heritage discourse, they are often seen as a potential threat. However, we demonstrate here, with a variety of examples from various social contexts, how ordinary people assign meanings and functions to archaeological heritage through them. We also approach the question of their authenticity by applying Cornelius Holtorf’s materialistically infused constructivist definition of pastness — a property related to an object’s age-value rather than its actual age — to find out why personal involvement, localness and stories are important features in enhancing pastness. Finally, instead of seeing neo-relics as a threat for archaeological heritage and interpretation, we propose that they be embraced as a novel way for people to experience and interact with the past.

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Series: World archaeology
ISSN: 0043-8243
ISSN-E: 1470-1375
ISSN-L: 0043-8243
Volume: 49
Issue: 3
Pages: 388 - 403
DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2017.1333922
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Funding: This work was supported by the Research Council for Culture and Society [grant no. 294626] ‘Religious contacts and religious changes: interdisciplinary investigation of site biographies of Sámi ritual places’, Academy of Finland.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 294626
Detailed Information: 294626 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in World archaeology on 07 Jun 2017, available online: