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The Nature of Heritage: The New South Africa

The Nature of Heritage: The New South Africa

Lynn Meskell

ISBN: 978-1-118-10663-1

Aug 2011, Wiley-Blackwell

272 pages



The Nature of Heritage: The New South Africa is unique in revealing the conflicts inherent in preserving both natural and cultural heritage, by examining the archaeological, ethnographic and economic evidence of a nation's attempts to master its past and its future.
  • Provides a classic example of how nations attempt to overcome a negative heritage through past mastering of their histories
  • Evaluates the continuing dominance of nature and conservation over concerns for cultural heritage
  • Employs ethnographic and archaeological methodologies to reveal how the past is processed into a new national heritage
  • Identifies heritage as therapy, exemplified in the strategy for repairing legacies of racial and ethnic difference in post-apartheid South Africa
  • Highlights the role of archaeological heritage sites, national parks and protected areas in economic development and social empowerment
  • Explores how nature trumps culture and the global implications of the new configurations of heritage
Acknowledgments viii

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction: Past Mastering in the New South Africa 1

1 Naturalizing Cultural Heritage 13

2 Making Heritage Pay in the Rainbow Nation 37

3 It's Mine, It's Yours: Excavating Park Histories 63

4 Why Biodiversity Trumps Culture 98

5 Archaeologies of Failure 125

6 Thulamela: The Donors, the Archaeologist, his Gold, and the Flood 149

7 Kruger is a Gold Rock: Parastatal and Private Visions of the Good 176

Conclusions: Future Perfect 203

References 217

Index 248

“Lynn Meskell’s book is carefully researched and engagingly written, and is essential reading for anyone interested in archaeology and heritage in South Africa.”  (South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1 October 2013)