Individual views and shared landscapes of folklore in Reykholtsdal, Iceland
This paper examines the different views about the cultural landscape that local people and experts have, and explores the ways in which these two perceptions could be merged. The empirical data were collected during a Nordic PhD course in Iceland. It gives a glimpse to an invisible landscape of folklore in the surroundings of the Reykholt village. The village was founded in the twelfth century. Local folklore has evolved alongside with cultural landscape, and it has a strong impact on local landscape perception. Different types of cultural heritage features, like churches and industrial buildings, are connotations of social and cultural codes through which we participate in our environment. In Reykholtsdal intangible cultural heritage is attached to the natural features in the landscape. Those features are similar codes to local people as those we are used to see in the built environment. Both local people and experts have knowledge about the cultural landscape. Local people usually have practical knowledge which is based on perceptions and experiences. Experts have scientifically validated knowledge, which can be deepened with perceptions and experiences. Both the information is significant, when cultural landscape is evaluated based on landscape definition by the European Landscape Convention. We would need new practices for inventory of perceived landscape. They would not only help us to meet aims of landscape policies set in the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe: 2000), but also to protect the intangible cultural heritage attached to landscape as defined by UNESCO (World Heritage Convention: 1972, Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 2003). New inventory methods could also help us to find shared values through which we could evaluate and manage a landscape.
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