Fake Heritage Why We Rebuild Monuments John Darlington

Publication date:
13 Oct 2020
Yale University Press
248 pages: 229 x 152mm
160 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The first survey of the many redesigned and imitation historical landmarks and objects that dot the globe

What happens when the past—or, more specifically, a piece of cultural heritage—is fabricated? From 50 replica Eiffel Towers located around the world to Saddam Hussein’s reconstructions of ancient cities, examples of forged heritage are widespread. Some are easy to dismiss as blatant frauds (the Piltdown Man), while others adhere to honest copying or respectful homage (the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee). This compelling book examines copies of historic buildings, faux archaeological sites, and other false artifacts, using them to explore the ethics and consequences of reconstructing the past; it also tackles the issues involved with faithful, “above-board” re-creations of ancient landmarks.
John Darlington probes questions of historical authenticity, seeking the lessons that lurk when history is twisted to tell an untrue story. Amplified by stunning images, the narrative underscores how the issue of duplicating heritage is both intriguing and incredibly complex, especially in the twenty-first century—as communication and technology flourish, so too do our opportunities to be deceived.

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John Darlington is executive director of World Monuments Fund Britain.

Darlington is a well-travelled, polymathic archaeologist [and] a man of great energy and enthusiasms...who generously shows off his knowledge.”—Jonathan Meades, Literary Review

“[F]ull of comparably entertaining case studies — tales of human and architectural folly...It also warns the reader that little of the man-made world is left untouched by the curation, or falsification, of historical appearance.”—John Maier, Spectator