About the exhibition

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Among the rich holdings of the Heidelberg Collection of Classical Antiquities are 54 copies (plaster casts) of parts of the so-called Tropaeum Traiani in Adamclisi, Romania. The ancient Roman monument was built under emperor Trajan in 108/109 AD and symbolised his victory over the local Dacians. As a political monument of the winners, it showed stereotypical depictions of superior Romans and their defeated “barbarian” enemies (lat. barbari).

During the First World War, the University of Heidelberg made use of the German occupation of Romania by ordering plaster casts of the Tropaeum Traiani in 1918. The extraordinary political circumstances of the war served as a welcome chance to expand the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the university.

Having arrived at Heidelberg, the casts were partially subject of political controversies. The original monument at Adamclisi, on the other hand, was being differently received in Romania, especially during the Ceaușescu period. The pop-up exhibition deals with these two stories, or different lives, of the Tropaeum Traiani – in Heidelberg and in Adamclisi. The exhibition was designed by and with archaeology and history students of the University of Heidelberg and will travel with them the way of the plaster casts back from Heidelberg to Constanța/Adamclisi.

The main topics are the intersection of archaeology and politics,  the political instrumentalisation of cultural heritage, and the social significance of archaeology as an objective academic discipline.

Pop-up exhibitions are ephemeral exhibition formats that can only be seen in one place for a short time. This innovative form of presentation derives from the contemporary art scene and benefits from direct interactions.

>> Companion volume to the pop-up exhibition
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