This paper focuses on the issue of the commercialisation of knowledge of the past and analyses the forms in which it functions, is disseminated and popularised in contemporary society by professional archaeologists as well as amateurs. The subject will be examined from the perspective of processes connected to the current dominant consumptive trends and the so-called 'commodification' of the past, dictated by, among others, the demands of a free market economy as well as wider socio-cultural changes. The result is the transformation of elements of archaeological heritage and knowledge of the past into a commercial product for which a demand in society exists. This paper deals with the following concerns: material reconstructions of the past; historical reenactment; archaeological festivals and other casual adaptations of the past which have purely commercial aims. Whilst by no means claiming to be exhaustive, the aim of this paper is a critical analysis of the phenomena discussed from the angle of the conditions, possibilities and threats they generate, and to indicate that the archaeological milieu must take them into consideration.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.