The notion of heritage, and its perception among a large public, has changed dramatically in recent years in Mauritius. The process by which cultural elements develop into an established heritage, recognized by the Nation or by the International Community (UNESCO, ICOMOS) clearly shows how heritage cold be the recipient of values and meanings defined by the society that it represents. As such, heritage provides substantial ground to achieve specific political objectives. In other words, heritage, and particularly archaeological heritage, has been used as an instrument to defend and affirm social, political or economic views. This chapter scrutinizes the heritage formation processes in multi-cultural Mauritius. The rainbow nation offers an ideal case study to appreciate the complexity of the political and social negotiation that exists between different ethnic/linguistic groups for the construction of a shared post-colonial memory. Today, standing old buildings, archaeological remains, cultural landscapes and objects from the past are the material evidence of a complex multi-layered memory. These elements of the past are the object of the recent - but quite rich - archaeological research conducted in Mauritius. In a post-colonial and multicultural context, it is significant to explore how archaeology is contributing to the debate around the post-slavery and post-indenture identities. This perspective also includes the role of the tourism industry in the “mitigation” of the Mauritian colonial past and its representation for the external world. The hotel resort and beach industry are playing a strong role in re-writing a common shared past, seen as a commodity, and used to market Mauritius as a key destination. The chapter, also, attempts to explore the social and political dynamics generated by the two major Heritage Sites in Mauritius, the Aapravasi Ghat (the Immigration Depot for Indentured Laborers) and the Le Morne Mountain (the cultural landscape symbol of the Slave resistance), both inscribed on the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO. For these sites, archaeological research has played a crucial role in the elaboration of the management policies and in the identity negotiation processes.

Archaeology and the Process of Heritage Construction in Mauritius

D. CALAON
;
2018

Abstract

The notion of heritage, and its perception among a large public, has changed dramatically in recent years in Mauritius. The process by which cultural elements develop into an established heritage, recognized by the Nation or by the International Community (UNESCO, ICOMOS) clearly shows how heritage cold be the recipient of values and meanings defined by the society that it represents. As such, heritage provides substantial ground to achieve specific political objectives. In other words, heritage, and particularly archaeological heritage, has been used as an instrument to defend and affirm social, political or economic views. This chapter scrutinizes the heritage formation processes in multi-cultural Mauritius. The rainbow nation offers an ideal case study to appreciate the complexity of the political and social negotiation that exists between different ethnic/linguistic groups for the construction of a shared post-colonial memory. Today, standing old buildings, archaeological remains, cultural landscapes and objects from the past are the material evidence of a complex multi-layered memory. These elements of the past are the object of the recent - but quite rich - archaeological research conducted in Mauritius. In a post-colonial and multicultural context, it is significant to explore how archaeology is contributing to the debate around the post-slavery and post-indenture identities. This perspective also includes the role of the tourism industry in the “mitigation” of the Mauritian colonial past and its representation for the external world. The hotel resort and beach industry are playing a strong role in re-writing a common shared past, seen as a commodity, and used to market Mauritius as a key destination. The chapter, also, attempts to explore the social and political dynamics generated by the two major Heritage Sites in Mauritius, the Aapravasi Ghat (the Immigration Depot for Indentured Laborers) and the Le Morne Mountain (the cultural landscape symbol of the Slave resistance), both inscribed on the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO. For these sites, archaeological research has played a crucial role in the elaboration of the management policies and in the identity negotiation processes.
Connecting Continents: Archaeology and History in the Indian Ocean World
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715569
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