ed-chadwick

“Places that hold meanings for people result in the construction of unique ‘memory maps,’ yet many memories manifested in the landscape leave little, if any, physical trace. A pile of water-worn cobbles on the riverbank to mark the time and place when you first learnt to swim–the autumn floods that year would have removed those. The tree bark or bus shelter where we inscribed the initials of our first love–the tree’s new growth will have erased most traces, and bus shelters are repainted or replaced. A first pet buried in a garden, or offerings put into the ground to commemorate a family member’s death–most are unlikely to survive the rigours of time. […] At Malin Head in Donegal, thousands of beach pebbles spell people’s names, signing themselves on to the landscape through a physical act. In many cases, the names within soon become illegible, the pebbles displaced by the feet of subsequent visitors, or re-used for new acts of commemoration. The ways in which people choose to mark space and commit events to memory suggests that similar, small-scale practices in the past may also have been transient or overwritten, with the vast majority not visible in the archaeological record at all.”

Adrian M. Chadwick & Catriona D. Gibson, from “‘Do You Remember the First Time?’ A Place through Memory, Myth, and Place,” Memory, Myth and Long-term Landscape Inhabitation, ed. Adrian M. Chadwick & Catriona D. Gibson (Oxbow Books, 2016)