Laura McAtackney

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World

Published in print October 2013 | ISBN: 9780199602001
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191755859 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology


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An archaeological study of contemporary Northern Ireland adds a material dimension to debates on the impact-or otherwise-of the recent peace process on lived experiences in the province. This chapter has selected the study of security installations, peace walls, and Long Kesh/Maze prison as three manifestations of the Troubles in order to dissect how they have transitioned to the post-conflict context. Of particular note is how incomplete official attempts to refocus place identity have resulted in some of these sites becoming overly identified with one-sided Troubles narratives whilst others have taken on new, if decidedly sinister, meanings. Whilst it is impossible to be definitive about ongoing societal transformation, at this time it is clear that nearly 15 years after the Belfast Agreement (1998) the peace dividends promised by local and international politicians continue to be contradicted by material realities.

Keywords: Troubles; Northern Ireland; peace process; walls; Long Kesh/Maze prison; place identity; materiality

Article.  6505 words. 

Subjects: Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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