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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is common to claim that the past is gone, leaving us with a void that can only be filled by our historical reconstructions. Things, however, object to this modern, historicist conception of an ended past. By stubbornly lingering on they expose us to a present past which constantly gathers and thus sediments into potentially new environments of memory. Drawing on so-called symmetrical archaeology, this chapter explores how the conception of a gathering past allows-and impels-us to rethink the way we conceive of memory and the archaeological exposition of the past. Using the abandoned Soviet mining town of Pyramiden as a case study, the chapter considers how the ruins of our own time may trigger critical and involuntary memories-memories that illuminate what conventional cultural history has discarded.

Keywords: memory, things, modern ruins, symmetrical archaeology, Pyramiden, Soviet heritage

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