Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2020 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Modern Ruins: Remembrance, Resistance, and Ruin Value

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30018-0_1055

Introduction and Definition

The word ruin is an ambiguous and contested one. In our everyday comprehension, it easily brings to mind ancient and enchanted monumental structures, an archaeological dream world featuring celebrities such as Machu Picchu, Pompeii, and Angkor Wat. For centuries, classical and Gothic ruins inspired poets, artists, and scholars, motivated philosophical mediations, and served as instruments of contemplative and aesthetic pleasure. At the same time, the word ruin also has a strong negative tone to it. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, “To ruin is to inflict or bring great and irretrievable disaster upon, to destroy agency, to reduce to a state of poverty, to demoralize completely” (1964: 1095). In this active verb form, it is almost entirely associated with negative and violent processes, with destruction and demolition (Stoler 2008: 194; Japelli 2012).

While the way we think of ancientruins hardly is affected by these dismal and destructive...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology, History, Religion and TheologyUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology, History, Religious Studies and TheologyUiT – The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

Section editors and affiliations

  • Paul Mullins
    • 1
  • John Schofield
    • 2
  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentIndiana University-Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK