Four churches and a lighthouse – preservation, "creative dismantling" or destruction

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A presentation and discussion of the heritage dilemmas, which appears, when the medieval churches of Mårup, Rubjerg, Lyngby and Furreby and the modern lighthouse of Rubjerg Knude in Northern Jutland, Denmark, all are threatened by dunes, drifting sands and the North Sea. The churches of Rubjerg and Lyngby were taken down and rebuilt further inland in respectively 1904 and 1913-14, while the church of Furreby is still functioning. The lighthouse is standing as a ruin waiting to be taken down around 2020. The church of Mårup was made redundant, when a new church was built further inland in Lønstrup in 1926-28.

A great dispute emerged on the future of Mårup, when it became threatened by increasing sea erosion in the 1980s. The church was investigated and partly taken down 2008 and 2011. The dispute on Mårup has been seen as a conflict between nature and culture, periphery and centre, experience and knowledge – preservation and destruction. Firstly, to understand the debate the author introduces the concept "creative dismantling"; a concept in between preservation and destruction. Secondly, the author argues that the unspoken core of the dispute has been the assumed irrelevance of the church to the national canon of art and history by all disputants. The creative dismantling lifted the church into the canon thereby creating a new, but also problematic consensus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
JournalDanish Journal of Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Archaeology

Free keywords

  • medieval church
  • creative dismantling
  • destruction
  • preservation
  • Heritage
  • modern lighthouse
  • cultural canon


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