© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
© Nicole Six u. Paul Petritsch
 

six nicole & petritsch paul


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Footnotes in the Landscape



Project for the preservation of a tumulus

The tumulus (burial mound) near Großmugl was not only recently heralded by astronomers as a great spot for stargazing, but more and more people have been wanting to make it a world heritage site, with the result that an increasing number of visitors have come to see the tumulus. Although it is an archeological monument and therefore protected,­ Archaeologists are now worried about visitors walking on top of it and that this is beginning to make it deteriorate.

The tumulus is roughly 2,500 years old. It is about 16 meters high and is one of the largest of its kind in Central Europe. It not only lent the town its name; it is a key element of the region’s identity. It is also extremely valuable from a scientific point of view, because the mound’s form and contents are still intact. Archeologists have deliberately refrained from conducting an excavation of the site to this day. Also, because it is so steep and dry, the tumulus is covered with Pannonian dry grassland, which is rare in this area.

The tumulus could be regarded as a kind of time capsule surrounded by an environment that is defined by agriculture. It is a place now caught up in a conflict between preservation, protection and promotion. As such, it could also serve as an example of the current discussion on how people can treat their environment sustainably.

As a way of doing justice to the various demands related to the tumulus, and to inform people that they are not allowed to climb up the burial mound, Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch came up with a project that abstained from architectural plans. Instead, they proposed a campaign that merged the language and interests of everyone involved: archeologists, local inhabitants, farmers, astronomers, and astrophotographers. The intervention was meant to consist of text panels that would not only accompany the visitors along the path to the tumulus, but also act as guides that inform them about different issues, like the history of the site, its archeology, its identity-forming value, its function as a stargazing spot, and its preservation as a monument. The text panels would be variable and inserted firmly in the ground with the idea of being able to expand on or change the field of information created in this way any time.

The text panels were to serve as footnotes in the landscape and focus on the visitors, helping to convey content to them. They were meant to explain to visitors that they should not climb the tumulus as a way of protecting it. The path to the tumulus would thus become a mindful experience and create a space to illustrate the multifarious connections between the tumulus, the landscape, and humans—everyone would be addressed.
(Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch with Florian Hofer)