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The Time Travellers' tools of the trade: some trends at Lejre

TitleThe Time Travellers' tools of the trade: some trends at Lejre
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHOLTORF, C.
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISSN Number1352-7258

This paper is about how the emphasis of the archaeological open-air museum at Lejre, Denmark, has been shifting from a research institution towards an archaeological theme park. I am discussing how material culture and associated skills and perceptions have been facilitating time-travel experiences at Lejre from 1964 until today. My main focus is on the prehistoric families who each summer have been inhabiting the full-size model of the Iron Age village known as Lethra. In 2011, I conducted participant observation in the village. This paper presents some of my observations and insights. I am also asking what the discernible trends and transformations over time, imply for how we are to understand contemporary forms of living history and related genres. The discussion explores some implications of my study regarding the nature of authenticity and how the past ‘comes to life’ at Lethra. I conclude by exploring some important trends for cultural heritage and heritage tourism in our age that arise from my study.