Written in the landscape. Places, traces, and memories of the World War I in the Sesto Dolomites (WiL)
With funding from the Research Südtirol/Alto Adige 2019
The events of World War I (WWI) are deeply inscribed in the landscape of the Sesto Dolomites as well as in the local communities. Nevertheless, the countless and extensive material traces of WWI, such as trenches, crew quarters, bunkers, inscriptions, paths, cable cars, and supply structures, have hardly been documented and scarcely researched until now, being barely visible. These elements as well as the collective and individual memories connected to them and to the war are significant for civil society– as part of both the history and the stories of the local families and communities. Places, traces of buildings, and intergenerational oral memories of WWI constitute a “hurtful” and “dark” heritage for people in a territory that is mostly famous for being Unesco World Natural Heritage and an attractive tourism destination.
This pioneering interdisciplinary project aims to unveil the complexity of the Dolomites landscape, going beyond the dichotomy natural/cultural heritage to investigate and rescue the living memories of the war embedded in sites and places. The project draws on different methodological approaches, such as conflict archaeology, archival historical documentation, socio-cultural investigation based on community-based action research, and active participation of local communities in dissemination and in co-production of a common heritage.
The society for archaeological research Arc-team, and four associations of experts in the fields of regional and military history (Austrian Society for Fortification Research, Museum of the War of Rovereto, Bellum Aquilarum Onlus), and cultural anthropology (EVAA-Anthropological Association South Tyrol), together with the Tourism Association of Sesto, support the research and dissemination activities of the project. The expertise of the research group’s members in diverse fields, such as archaeology and history of the conflicts, cultural anthropology and geography, sociology, heritage studies and conservation, art and design, is key to the project’s interdisciplinary approach.
PI Dr. Waltraud Kofler Engl, Director of the Platform Cultural Heritage Cultural Production, Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano
Co-I Dr. Daniela Salvucci, Junior Researcher, Faculty for Education, Free University of Bolzano
Dr. Thomas Benedikter, Researcher, Platform Cultural Heritage Cultural Production, Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano
Dr. Stefan Festini Cucco, President, EVAA- Associazione Antropologica Sud Tirolo
Dr. Andrea Di Michele, Senior Researcher, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bolzano
Prof. Susanne U. Elsen, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bolzano
Gianluca Fondriest, Researcher, Platform Cultural Heritage Cultural Production, Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano
Dr. Nicola Fontana, Responsabile dell’Archivio Storico, Museo della Guerra, Rovereto
Dr. Francesco Frizzera, Director, Museo della Guerra, Rovereto
Rupert Gietl, Founding Partner, Arc-Team
Maria Luise Hofer, Associazione Turistica di Sesto
Sabine Viktoria Kofler, Researcher, Platform Cultural Heritage Cultural Production, Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano
Prof. Alessandro Luigini, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bolzano
Pietro Michieli, Honorary Member and Vice-President, Bellum Aquilarum Onlus
Prof. Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano
Dr. Reinfrid Vergeiner, Vice-President, Austrian Society for Fortification Research
Dr. Sigrid Wisthaler, Director, Bellum Aquilarum Onlus
This project will have a highly positive impact at the local, national and international levels, in the academic environment along with the civil society and public arena. The traces of the World War I in the Dolomites front have so far been only partially known and merely through written documents. This research project and the dissemination of its outcomes will allow local people and visitors to gain new critical insights into the dark and conflictual heritage of the war landscape, giving more significance to the Unesco World Natural Heritage Dolomites, promoting shared knowledge and social participation.
Work with Us
The project will be hiring five research assistants across various disciplines to join the research team. Please check here regularly for updates on job postings.
Research Assistant 1 (Website and App design)
Research Assistant 2 (General project management and curation)
Research Assistant 3 (Political Sociology)-This call is open through 10.12.2020
Research Assistant 4 (Contemporary History)-This call is open through 10.12.2020
Research Assistant 5 (Methods of Archaeological Research)-This call is open through 23.10.2020