Are tourist attraction recreations of great historical finds worth it for the conservation of the originals?
At the very end of the article, Lascaux Cave and the rise of the fake attraction, the author, Chris Leadbeater, states that these cultural replicas are “the start of a process, not isolated incidents.” And I do completely agree with that after reading this article and learning about the KV62 and Chauvet Cave replicas. We have found that if we want the public to be able to view the past as an anthropologist does, we have to build realistic copies of these sites as to not damage our connection to our history. But I’m torn on my feelings toward this! I understand that the point of anthropology is to study the world and our past and to SHARE it so that we can all understand what we are, how we work, and where we came from, but I understand that to have these findings be destroyed is a significant loss for all of us and would cause anger, tension, and probably violence between those responsible for the damage and those whose culture the finds belong to. I personally would rather visit a replica than never get to at least somewhat experience the worldview of our ancestors. But if what comes next is a world-wide Disneyland, then I’d rather see nothing than modern half-truths.
It makes me wonder, what if every anthropological finding was up for view to the public? Maybe we would feel more connected to one another by recognizing our similarities and celebrating and understanding the importance of our differences. But what if everything up for view to the public was a replica? A fake? Maybe it would confuse us more… what am I really looking at? Who is the real artist of my history as I know it? In a way, it is like lying to our people- what I think I am seeing is not really what I am seeing. And I never thought that the point of anthropology was to spread lies, I always thought it was to unearth the truth for our betterment. Why would I want to view fake Homo floresiensis bones? Someone is trying to tell me they had small bones so they constructed small bones as an example… but I guess I’ll never know for myself.
This is a matter of right and wrong. Which always make for extremely interesting discussions and viewpoints with an infinite amount of indefinite answers. Is this right or wrong??? The world may never know… But questioning it WILL eventually let us decide whether we are going to continue with these replicas or not. And I am hoping for not. It is a hard decision to make, even for myself. I would go view these replicas, (except for King Tut’s tomb, I need the real feel) but I would rather have them shut down than turn the entire world into a realistic-but-not-real tourist attraction. The thought makes me frown. Like I said, I hope they decide that continuing this path is not beneficial for us. I feel like this could be as harmful to our Earth as car exhaust and hair spray.
This article reminded me a lot of Nariokotome Boy! His situation, his nearly complete skeleton In great condition, and the thought of his body being preserved in a lake for about 1.6 million years fascinates me and I would love to go visit Lake Turkana. I would also love to view his skeleton up close. But I would find it pointless to view copies of either of these. A copy of a human (even H.erectus) skeleton is not the same as the actual skeleton. A body holds time within itself and you cannot recreate that! The lake held the body and holds stories from millions of years ago, that is a feeling and makes the lake more than just a lake, it makes it a time capsule. My point is that you can replicate an object but you cannot recreate the meaning behind it. You can hear why something is significant but until you are standing in the same spot of your ancestors as if you are them, viewing their true creation, will you really understand the significance? King Tut never wanted his tomb viewed by us, so destroy it with your curiosity or let it be and wonder…
December 9, 2016 Signal Hill, CA.