Contested identities: the dissonant heritage of European town walls and walled towns
University of Exeter (Creighton)
International Journal of Heritage Studies
Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group)
Town walls have always played a critical role in shaping the identities and images of the communities they embrace. Today, the surviving fabric of urban defences is a feature of heritage holding great potential as a cultural resource but in management terms one that poses substantial challenges, both practical and philosophical. Town walls can be conceptualised as a 'dissonant' form of heritage whose value is contested between different interest groups and whose meanings are not static but can be rewritten. Evidence is gathered from walled towns across Europe, including member towns of the WTFC (Walled Towns Friendship Circle) and inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to explore the cyclical biographies of town walls in their transformation from civic monuments, through phases of neglect, decay and destruction to their current status as cherished cultural resources. To explore this area of interface between archaeology and tourism studies, the varying attitudes of populations and heritage agencies to walled heritage are reviewed through examination of policies of conservation, preservation, presentation and restoration. Areas of commonality and contrast are thus identified.
This is the author's post-print version of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Heritage Studies. © 2008 Informa plc. The definitive publisher-authenticated version (Vol.12 (3), May 2006, pp.234-254) is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527250600604498
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 12 (3), May 2006 , pp. 234 - 254