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Module HTH-2110:
The Guardians of Heritage

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Raimund Karl

Overall aims and purpose

This course will take a look at the development and current state of the heritage industry, which has become a major vehicle by which the past is presented to the public. We will place the development of heritage in its historical context, and try to see how it functions in modern society. We will look at the different aspects of the structure of heritage management in the UK and compare this where appropriate to the situation abroad, will deal with legislation applying to the protection, preservation, reconstruction and destruction of heritage, and how well (if at all) this is working in practice, and analyse different approaches to site and object presentation both in the past and the present. We shall do this both in the abstract (through books and seminars) and in reality - by going on site visits and discussing our findings. Ultimately, by reflecting on the contours and mechanisms of heritage, the course aims to provide you with the ability to analyse a heritage site

Course content

This course will examine the agencies which protect our heritage, for example English Heritage, the National Trust, and Cadw and, where applicable, parallel agencies abroad. It will examine the protection of sites and landscapes, historic buildings and objects: legislation and its effectiveness and look at key debates and case-studies.

  • The Guardians of Heritage: national and international
  • Protection and curation: law, theory and practice
  • will the taxpayer foot the bill? Who pays for Heritage?
  • Selling heritage? Marketing: public and private
  • Sites and landscaped: who protects what, and how effective is protection?
  • The protection of buildings: types and legislation; advantages and problems
  • Portable heritage - the role of museums
  • Antiquities legislation and the problem of illicit trade This course will examine the agencies which protect our heritage, for example English Heritage, the National Trust, and Cadw and, where applicable, parallel agencies abroad. It will examine the protection of sites and landscapes, historic buildings and objects: legislation and its effectiveness and look at key debates and case-studies.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold students (lower 40s) will demonstrate an appropriate range or depth of knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make partly-successful attempts to frame an argument that engages with controversies in the field.


Good students (60s) will show a solid level of achievement in all the criteria of the paragraphs above.


Excellent students (70s and above) will show this level of achievement across the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the development of the heritage industry.

  2. Demonstrate a detailed awareness of the issues surrounding the presentation of the historic past to the general public and the ability to judge between the different approaches to site presentation.**

  3. Analyse a heritage site and discuss its relevance to wider issues within heritage management

  4. Present a clear argument about aspects of the heritage industry in the form of an exam.**

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 50
Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Seminar 6

10 lectures; 6 x 1hour seminars; 2 fieldtrips: Coursework; directed reading; regular seminar preparation; 1 fieldtrip report, 1 mock exam.

External visit

Guided fieldtrips will allow students to gain first-hand experience of different types of heritage guardianship sites

Private study 170

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
  • demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
  • engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity


Reading list

G. Ashworth & P. Howard (eds.), European Heritage Planning and Management (1999) T. Bennett, The Birth of the Museum (1995) N. Brodie, J. Doole & C. Renfrew (eds.), Trade in illicit antiquities: the destruction of the world’s archaeological heritage (2001). (KEY TEXT!) B.M. Carbonell, Museum Studies. An Anthology of Contexts (2004) J. Carman, Archaeology & Heritage. An Introduction (2002) C. Chippindale, P. Devereux, P.J. Fowler, R. Jones and T. Sebastian, Who Owns Stonehenge? (1990) C. Chippindale and D.Gibbins (eds), Heritage at Sea: Proposals for the Better Protection of British Archaeological Sites Underwater. Antiquity 64, 390-400 (1990) G. Chitty and D. Baker (eds.), Managing historic sites and buildings: reconciling presentation and preservation (1999) H.F. Cleere, Archaeological Heritage Management in the Modern World (1989) M. Hughes and L. Rowley (eds.), The Management and Presentation of Field Monuments (1986) J. Hunter and I. Ralston (eds.), Archaeological Resource Management in the UK. An Introduction (1997) (KEY TEXT!) M. Hunter, ed, Preserving the Past; the Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain (1996) O. Impey & A. MacGregor, eds, The Origins of Museums: the Cabinet of Curiosities in 16th and 17th Century Europe (1985) R. Karl, On the highway to hell. Thoughts on the unintended consequences of § 11 (1) Austrian Denkmalschutzgesetz. The Historic Environment – Policy and Practice 2/2 (forthcoming), available on blackboard in course files sections (intentions.pdf) S. Keene, Managing conservation in museums (1996) P. Levine, The Amateur and the Professional; antiquarians, historians and archaeologists in Victorian England (1986) B. Lord (ed.), Manual of Museum Learning (2007) R. Lumley ed., The Museum Time Machine: putting cultures on display (1988) L. Macinnes and C.R. Wickham-Jones (eds.), All natural things: archaeology and the green debate in Britain (1992) S. M. Pearce ed., Interpreting Objects and Collections (1994) L.V. Prott and P.J. O’Keefe, Law and the Cultural Heritage (1984-1989) C. Renfrew and P. Bahn, Archaeology. Theories, Methods and Practice (1991) Chapter 14 M. Ross, Planning and the Heritage: policy and procedures (1991) J. Schofield, J. Carman, P. Belford, Archaeological Practice in Great Britain. A Heritage Handbook (2011) (KEY TEXT!) R. Skeates, Debating the Archaeological Heritage (2000) L. Smith, Archaeological theory and the politics of cultural heritage (2004) R.W. Suddards and J.M. Hargreaves (eds.), Listed buildings: the law and practice of historic buildings, ancient monuments and conservation areas (1996) H. Swain, An Introduction to Museum Archaeology (2007) D.L. Uzzell (ed.), Heritage interpretation (1989) P. Vergo ed., The New Museology (1989) M. Waterson, The National Trust: the first hundred years (1994)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: