is a type of structure either
explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or
which has become important to a social group as a part of their
remembrance of past events. They are frequently used to improve the
appearance of a city or location. Cities that are planned such as Washington D.C., New
Delhi and Brasília are often
built around monuments.
The Washington Monument
's location (and
vertical geometry, though not physical detail) was conceived to
help organize public space in the city before it was ever connected
with George Washington
cities have monuments placed at locations that are already
important or are sometimes redesigned to focus on one. As Shelley
suggested in his famous poem
" ("Look on my works, ye
Mighty, and despair!
"), the purpose of monuments is very often
to impress or awe. In English
word "monumental" is often used in reference to something of
extraordinary size and power. The word comes from the Latin
"monere," which means 'to remind' or 'to warn.'
Functional structures made notable by their age, size or historic
significance can also be regarded as monuments. This can happen
because of great age and size, as in the case of the Great Wall of China, or because an event
of great import occurred there such as the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France.
countries use Ancient monument
similar terms for the official designation of protected structures
or archeological sites
originally have been ordinary domestic houses or other
Monuments are also often designed to convey historical or political
information. They can be used to reinforce the primacy of
contemporary political power, such as the column of Trajan or the numerous statues of Lenin in the Soviet Union.
They can be used to educate the populace
about important events or figures from the past, such as in the
renaming of the old General Post Office Building in New York City
to the James A. Farley Building (James Farley
Post Office), after former Postmaster General James Farley.
The social meanings of monuments are rarely fixed and certain and
are frequently 'contested' by different social groups. As an
example whilst the former East German socialist state may have seen
the Berlin Wall as a means of 'protection' from the ideological
impurity of the west, dissidents and others would often argue that
it was symbolic of the inherent fascism and paranoia of that state.
This contention of meaning is a central theme of modern 'post
processual' archaeological discourse.
Monuments have been created for thousands of years, and they are
often the most durable and famous symbols of ancient civilizations.
Egyptian Pyramids, the Greek
Parthenon, and the Moai of Easter Island have become symbols of their civilizations.
recent times, monumental structures such as the Statue of
Liberty and Eiffel
Tower have become iconic emblems of modern
The term monumentality
the symbolic status and physical presence of a monument.
Until recently, it was customary for archaeologists
to study large monuments and
pay less attention to the everyday lives of the societies that
created them. New ideas about what constitutes thearchaeological record
that certain legislative and theoretical approaches to the subject
are too focused on earlier definitions of monuments. An example has been
Ancient Monument laws.
Types of monuments