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What is to become of the Crystal Palace? Excavating the afterlives of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and its building

Start: Nov 19, 2018 04:00 PM

Location: Room 612, UCL Institute of Archaeology

What is to become of the Crystal Palace?

The seventh seminar in the UCL Institute of Archaeology Research Seminar series for Term I, 2018/19 will be given by Jonathan Gardner on 19 November.

Jonathan's seminar is entitled 'What is to become of the Crystal Palace? Excavating the afterlives of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and its building' and all are welcome to attend.

Abstract

This talk discusses recent research into the archaeological traces of the world’s first modern ‘mega event’, The Great Exhibition of 1851 and its host structure, the Crystal Palace. To date, mega events (defined as large-scale, internationally-focused cultural spectacles of transient character) have rarely been subject to archaeological research, more often being examined in the context of their organisers’ ‘uses and abuses’ of visions of the past, such as in Olympic Opening ceremonies. In this presentation however, I demonstrate how examination of the archaeological traces of a mega event like the Great Exhibition can provide us with alternative accounts of the history of large-scale temporary gatherings and their roles within their host societies. I suggest that the Exhibition’s association with ‘temporariness’ is challenged by the persistence of its structure and contents’ materials, as well as through less tangible, memorial or ‘heritage’ associations. Lastly, I suggest that the issues of transience and conflation of multiple uses/occupations within such modern events, temporary or otherwise, have wider ramifications for archaeological and heritage research more broadly.


UCL Institute of Archaeology Research Seminars Programme | Term I, 2018/19

Mondays, 4pm, Room 612 (some titles are still provisional)