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Accepted Paper:

Representing Geevor: linear progress vs the singular moment in the presentation of mining heritage  
Peter Oakley (Royal College of Art) Hilary Orange (University College, London)

Paper short abstract:

An examination of competing representations of time in the displays at Geevor Tin Mine and the social consequences of the ways these frame Cornish tin mining as an activity.

Paper long abstract:

Geevor Tin Mine in Cornwall is considered an important exemplar of Cornish, British and world industrial heritage. Most of the site is presented as a material representation of linear technological development and achievement, an approach underpinned by notions of historical progress. In contrast, one space - The Dry - has been reconstructed as a monument to a single moment in the site's history: the day the mine stopped being operational. As the key location on the site for representing the cohesion and distinctiveness of the local mining community, The Dry has a disproportionate influence over the way Geevor as a whole and the Cornish tin mining industry in general is understood by visitors. The Dry acts as a point of closure that distances Cornish mining from contemporary society, but it simultaneously disrupts the temporal narrative of inevitable, incremental technological development that underpins Geevor's other presentations. The authors draw on Oakley's decade of involvement with Geevor and other tin mining heritage sites in the Cornish Mining WHS, initially through the SWLLN development project (2006-8), and subsequent regular site visits; Orange's research undertaking archaeological ethnographies of the post-industrial Cornish mining landscape (2006-13); and the initial research undertaken by both authors for the Geevor Time Project (2016-17). Through an analysis of their material Oakley and Orange will demonstrate how contesting temporal narratives have been constructed, revised and promoted at Geevor, as well as explaining some of the wider social consequences of these activities.

Panel P017
Mining temporalities: ideas, experiences and politics of time in extractive industries [Anthropology of Mining Network]
  Session 1