Value & Authenticity of Historic Replicas

Increasingly historic environment evidence informs and influences decision makers and decision making in Scotland.

Organisation: University of Stirling
Project title: Concrete and non-concrete: an ethnographic study of the contemporary value and authenticity of historic replicas

©Sally Foster

This project explores how replicas of historical objects and monuments ‘work’ in heritage contexts, particularly their authenticity, cultural signi?cance and intangible qualities. Funded by the RSE and Historic Environment Scotland, we undertook ethnographic research centred on the 1970 concrete replica of the eighth-century St John’s Cross on Iona. Challenging traditional precepts that seek authenticity in qualities intrinsic to original historic objects, we show how replicas can acquire authenticity and ‘pastness’, linked to materiality, craft practices, creativity, and place. We have also reviewed the implications of this work in relation to putting the heritage cycle, as reflected in OPIT, into practice.

Which OPiT key performance indicator is the project contributing to? Main: 3 – Informed decision making

6 – Knowledge development

8 – Holistic and sustainable approach

9 – Effective and proportionate protection and regulation

Contact name: Dr Sally Foster
Contact email:
Relevant web links:

Reviewed: August 2019