Reset in Stone : Memory and Reuse in Ancient Athens

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    • Publication Type:
      eBook.
    • Abstract:
      Ancient Athenians were known to reuse stone artifacts, architectural blocks, and public statuary in the creation of new buildings and monuments. However, these construction decisions went beyond mere pragmatics: they were often a visible mechanism for shaping communal memory, especially in periods of profound and challenging social or political transformation. Sarah Rous develops the concept of upcycling to refer to this meaningful reclamation, the intentionality of reemploying each particular object for its specific new context. The upcycling approach drives innovative reinterpretations of diverse cases, including column drums built into fortification walls, recut inscriptions, monument renovations, and the wholesale relocation of buildings. Using archaeological, literary, and epigraphic evidence from more than eight centuries of Athenian history, Rous's investigation connects seemingly disparate instances of the reuse of building materials. She focuses on agency, offering an alternative to the traditional discourse on spolia. Reset in Stone illuminates a vital practice through which Athenians shaped social memory in the physical realm, literally building their past into their city.
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    • Subject Terms: