The thing about replicas - why historic replicas matter



Foster S & Curtis N (2016) The thing about replicas - why historic replicas matter. European Journal of Archaeology, 19 (1), pp. 122-148.

Reproduction of archaeological material was a significant and serious enterprise for antiquarians and museums in the long nineteenth century. Embedding many stories and embodying considerable past human energy, behind their creation, circulation, use and after-life lies a series of specific social networks and relationships that determined why, when and in what circumstances they were valued, or not. Summarising the context of their production, circulation and changing fortunes, this paper introduces the ways in which they are important and the specific benefits and aspects of a biographical approach to their study. Beyond the evidential, the study of existing replicas provides a historical and contemporary laboratory in which to explore the concepts of value and authenticity, and their application in cultural heritage and collections management, offering us a richer insight into the history of ourselves as archaeologists and curators.

Archaeological Reproductions; Facsimiles; Plaster Casts; Cultural Biography; Value; Authenticity

European Journal of Archaeology: Volume 19, Issue 1

FundersThe Henry Moore Foundation and The Henry Moore Foundation
Publication date29/02/2016
Publication date online06/2015
Date accepted by journal16/04/2015
PublisherEuropean Association of Archaeologists

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Professor Sally Foster
Professor Sally Foster

Professor, History

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