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Title: Preservation or display? : the mosaics of Roman Britain
Author: Dawson, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 462X
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the preservation and display of Roman period mosaics in Britain. Historically preservation and display are polarised in a debate I described as the 'contemporary dilemma'. My contention is that this is inadequately grounded in historic precedent, and leads to over simplification of the historic process. Consequently I have written a new history of mosaic preservation and display, establtslgfd"~ fresh encounter between display, preservation and contemporary practice and contextualise the contemporary debate on preservation in situ. The thesis begins with preservation from the conventional perspective of antiquarian attitudes, a paradigm informing all published accounts. Evident that antiquarian, and later archaeological activity validated preservation, it was not the only paradigm by which either preservation or display might be understood. Supported by five case studies discussion in the final chapter considers the importance of sociability, commodification, entertainment, growing tourism and competitive institutional discourse. , I have concluded that late 17th and 18th century attempts at mosaic preservation were important to the development of conservation, that eighteenth century experimentation which developed cover buildings, caretakers and the construction of site museums foreshadowed the 1879 Ancient Monuments Act. During the 19th and zo" century though mosaics were marginalised by scholarship, their preservation and display symbolised the rise of archaeology, its expertise, skill and popular appeal. After the Second World War the loss of mosaics became an important symbol of destructive development. III I In the early 3rd millennium the case studies show display is often outdated becoming enmeshed in the heritage debate rather than exploiting advances in the display discourse. The 'contemporary dilemma' ignores the benefits of display to future analysis, and informed sustainability. . .... The implications of this thesis are that dialogue should lead to a wider appreciation of the value of display; cross disciplinary research should be promoted and interpretational display form part of the assessment of significance in legislation and contemporary attitudes. IV
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available