How did past communities view, understand and communicate their pasts? And how can we, as archaeologists, understand this? In recent years these questions have been approached through studies of the extended occupation and use of landscapes, monuments and artefacts to explore concepts of time and memory. But what of objects that were already old in the past? Interpretations for these items have ranged from the discard of scrap to objects of veneration. Evidence from a range of periods would suggest objects of the past were an important part of many later societies that encountered them, either as heirlooms with remembered histories or rediscovered curiosities from a more distant past. For the first time, this volume brings together a range of case studies in which objects of the past were encountered and reappropriated. It follows a conference session at the Theoretical Archaeological Group in Cardiff 2017, in which historians, archaeologists, heritage professionals and commercial archaeologists gathered to discuss this topic on a broad (pre)historical scale, highlighting similarities and contrast in depositional practices and reactions to relics of the past in different periods. Through case studies spanning the Bronze Age through to the 18th century AD, this volume presents new research demonstrating that the reappropriation of these already old objects was not anomalous, but instead represents a practice that recurs throughout (pre)history.
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