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Department of Archaeology


Bosnia: ‘Reinvention of the Past’ and the ‘reconstruction of the future’

The Bosnian research investigates the role of cultural heritage in terms of the ‘reinvention of the past’ and the ‘reconstruction of the future’ in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was done through analysis of the relationship between identity politics and physical sites of remembrance in a post-conflict environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where conflict between ethnic groups still exists, if only in another, political and non-violent form.

The work package has added to the understanding of the role of cultural production and heritage in identity formation and transformation, emotive and affective properties and mobilization of communities in the context of different socio-political circumstances. The work identifies continuities and ruptures of associated meaning in the temporal sequence of symbolic and material existence of cultural sites, their preservation, neglect, destruction and reconstruction. These findings are interpreted within the context of the internationally promoted reconciliation processes in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina as a potential policy-assisting tool.

The research conducted by project partners based at Umeå University, Sweden examined how cultural heritage sites are used and/or misused by ethno-nationalist political elites in an on-going ethnic conflict, and analysed the processes and patterns of reconstruction following armed conflict, including large international interventions.




Monument at Kozara

The rebuilt bridge at Mostar

Religious heritage in Sarajevo


These case studies include: i) the Srebrenica Potočari Memorial Centre and its role in the formation of collective identities through commemorations of trauma, ii) the World War II monuments (or NOB monuments) and the use and misuse of old heritage sites following the Yugoslav break-up and change of regime-baring ideology and the dominant discourse, iii) the study of the Slana Banja memorial complex to explore possibilities of old heritage being used for peace and reconciliation processes, and finally iv) the Mostar case study analysing how landscape is changing in the post-war reconstruction process as heritagescapes become a battleground for competition of claims and visual presence.




Memorial in Sarajevo

 Srebrenica Memorial

Orthodox Memorial at Kravica

Film and Video

CRIC, Bosnia: Reinventing Cultural Heritage

CRIC researcher Dzenan Sahovic explains how heritage sites from the socialist era have been transformed in the aftermath of the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. World War II monuments built to represent the national identity of the former Yugoslav regime at Kozara, Neretva, Sutjeska, Jajce and Drvar have been examined for their preservation, neglect, destruction and reconstruction during and after the war. Physical alterations at symbolic sites are documented to understand the cultural and political changes imposed on societies through conflict.

Videos introducing research on the Srebrenica- Potočari Memorial and Cemetery, cultural heritage and memorials in Tuzla and the reconstruction of the bridge and town of Mostar are available along with other videos from the CRIC project at the CRIC Youtube channel.


The research carried out by the Bosnia work package has resulted in several books and journal articles. A selection of these publications is given below:

  • Sahovic, D. and Zulumovic, D. (forthcoming) Obsolete Cultural Heritage in Post-Conflict Environments: the Case of AVNOJ Museum in Jajce, Bosnia Herzegovina. Journal of Balkan and Near East Studies.


Dzenan Sahovic
University of Umeaa Homepage

Ioannis Armakolas
University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki Homepage