The term Archaeology has its origin in ancient Greek and literally translated means as much as the doctrine of antiquities. In reality, however, the discipline, with its purpose to explore, to understand and to record the life of a mankind on earth for future generations, deals with time from the first
stone tools from about 2.5 million years ago to contemporary history - not to say the present. As Leonardo da Vinci realised already 500 years ago, in rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time‘. Once you understand the moment,
it belongs to the past.
The present moment lasts only a breath and separates the old and the new as an inconsistent line that blurs again and again.
In this issue, ADATO meets Nick Masterton from Forensic Architecture to find out what it means when architects call themselves ‚Archaeologists of the Present‘ (p.24). When they search for traces in politically complex situations, exploring the fate of its inhabitants through buildings and urban structures, when they document the destruction of cultural heritage and understand this process as a first step towards future reconstructions.
For a long time now, the history of human development is read vertically from bottom to top - from the earth's interior to the surface. Just as sediment and organic material were deposited over millions of years as a result of geological processes, generating layers of new earth surfaces, our cities grew
over the ruins of the past.
If you stroll today through Vienna's inner city, you will do so 3 metres higher than in the times of the former Roman legionary camp Vindobona (1st to 5th century A.D.). This phenomenon is impressively visible at Michaelerplatz, at Hans Holleins' ‚Archäologiefeld‘ (1990-1999) (p.64). If you visit the Roman Museum at the Hoher Markt, a small staircase will lead you to the basement and excavations, ruins and fragments of two Roman houses.
Over our cities, new cities will grow. That is a certainty. But should the term archaeology demand for at least its extension if not for a new definition? In his contribution ‚Archäo-Logik der Schichten‘ (p.34), Jérôme Becker raises the question if the dynamics caused by our species, like kilometres deep drillings or sailing of the Voyager 1 into interstellar space, demands for a new reading, for a new order of history in the view of its traditional layers model.
In ‚Architecture + Archaeology‘ we go one step further and inquire all the immaterial things, thoughts and dogmas that once existed, lay in ruins and were dug up again. What do we read from the development from antiquity to the Renaissance, over classicism and postmodernism, to the current German debate on reconstruction? What is a cultural heritage and which position do we take when we newly interpret stones or ideas from the past? We met Peter Cachola Schmal to talk about ‚Die Immer Neue Altstadt‘ (DAM's current exhibition and building project), about the Biennale contribution ‚Making Heimat‘, the UNESCO, the question of original and copy and postmodernism.
We invite you on a journey through time. ADATO wishes you new perspectives and good entertainment!