Accepted Paper:

Bells as often recklessly destroyed members of small communities and subjects of local stories or tales.  
Agata Felczynska (Polish Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will focus on explaining the need to preserve outwardly unnecessary bells as important witnesses of historical events and important members of small communities.

Paper long abstract:

The source for this paper is research material gathered for author's doctoral thesis concerning, among others, bells and bronze item production in Poland. Bells are in contemporary research perceived mostly as musical instruments or examples of craftsmanship's production. Historically also or a source or metal, easy to gather and reuse for military purposes. The loss resulting from both world wars can never be restored or even properly estimated. Bells are used when needed, recast when broken or melt down to be reused in other form. What is rarely seen and documented- bells are also witnesses of local history, bear their place in private memories of inhabitants, are part of local, oral stories or tales and objects toward which inhabitants build emotional relationship. This aspect slips away from both art historians', historians' and anthropologists' research as it reaches beyond one way of comprehending. This ignorance concerning meaning added to an object seen from one perspective leads to a thoughtless destruction of broken, unused, tuneless bells disregarding their high historical and emotional value. Bells have the power of building/ uniting local communities, what is accurately described by Polish saying "to live under one bell" meaning to be a part of (coherent) community hearing it ringing. The paper will focus on explaining the need to preserve outwardly unnecessary bells as important witnesses of historical events and important members of small communities.

Panel P088
Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage