Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments

Online Book Launch

This event took place virtually on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 1 pm (EST). See below for more information on the discussion, including the event description and speaker information. 

Event Description

On October 21 at 1 PM EST // 6 PM BST, join us for an online book launch featuring WMF Britain Executive Director John Darlington's Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments, an inside look at the questions of historical authenticity and ethics behind cultural heritage. The event will include fake heritage stories from around the world, a conversation with author, journalist, and broadcaster Sir Simon Jenkins on the issues surrounding heritage reconstruction, and a live Q&A with participants. 

Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments 

What happens when the past – or, more specifically, a piece of cultural heritage – is fabricated? From the 50 replica Eiffel Towers located around the world to Saddam Hussein’s reconstructions of ancient cities, examples of forged heritage are widespread. Some, like the Piltdown Man, are easy to dismiss as blatant frauds, while others, like the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, are a result of honest copying or respectful homage. This compelling book examines copies of historic buildings, faux archaeological sites and other false artefacts, using them to explore the ethics and consequences of reconstructing the past. John Darlington also tackles the political and social issues involved with faithful, ‘above-board’ recreations of ancient landmarks.

The narrative probes questions of historical authenticity, seeking the lessons that lurk when history is twisted to tell an untrue story. Amplified by stunning images, this book 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. 

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Time: 1pm (EST) // 6pm (BST) 

Fake Heritage is published by Yale University Press and available here