Session: #330

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record
Session format:
Discussion session: Presentations of max. 25 minutes each, including questions from and discussions with the audience

Title & Content

Using Live Interpretation, Living History / Re-enactment and Museum Theatre to interpret Archaeological Heritage.
Heritage Sites use a number of tools to interpret their stories for the public. Live interpretation, also called costumed interpretation, uses live actors who portray the role of a historical persona. These characters tell the story more effectively than a static display, but also present a number of challenges.

Within the international community, the terminology surrounding heritage interpretation is under debate. Terms such as 'inclusiveness' and 'authenticity' are being questioned and their use is being challenged. UNESCO believes that tourism is changing and heritage sites, including archaeological sites, should be ready to provide the 'authentic experiences' tourists now pursue. But what is 'authentic' and how can this be quantified? Do people visiting European sites receive a European, inclusive story? Or does inclusiveness automatically include exclusion as well?

During this session, we would like to give best practice examples of live interpretation and living history being used to great effect. We would then like to use these examples to have an open discussion on the use of such techniques and how they relate to both inclusiveness and authenticity.
Live interpretation, Re-enactment, Authenticity, Inclusiveness
Session affiliated with MERC:


Main organiser:
Marc van Hasselt (Netherlands) 1,2,3
Vasilka Dimitrovska (Macedonia) 4
1. Novitas Heritage
2. IMTAL Europe
3. Interpret Europe