Friday, 25 June 2021

New Book on Conflict Landscapes


When I came here to Poland nearly 40 years ago, it seemed like I was leaving for the end of the world, such isolation ("recipe for oblivion" one late archaeological mentor warned me). Although that's certainly not how I see it now ([geographical] "centre of Europe" after all)*, old mental habits are hard to break. So when I saw that on Twitter there was a lot of talk of this new book, and it's an archaeological theme that over the past two years I've got more enthusiastic about, my first thought was of a colleague who is trying to raise awareness in Poland about this: "must inform Ania about it", so I pull up the Amazon page... and then see from the contents list that she's in it. (Good in a way, because if I'd written now, I'd have had to explain why at the moment I'm not writing that book review I promised). 

What is interesting is that in a country like Poland where in many areas you can't go for a walk very far before almost tripping over some remains of twentieth century conflict, and where in theory all those remains are automatically covered by heritage protection laws, actual archaeological research on it is so sparse.   Perhaps that is because it is so full of traumatic memories for the entire population, including people that are alive today and were/are affected by it (such as my dear mother-in-law), that archaeological research seems superfluous and still rakes up so many bad emotions and memories. This is something difficult for the average Brit to understand. I had huge problems with this when I came here. 

The growth in popularity of literature on conflict landscapes, so-called 'dark heritage' and the like in the areas to the west is also an interesting social phenomenon that it might be interesting to explore.

* present government and its populist ideologies I trust a temporary phase

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