ABSTRACT

An idea of “hidden heritage” circulates in various texts. The expression “hidden heritage” – and others such as “secret coves”, “hidden gems” or “undiscovered treasures” – are used to communicate about heritage and signal its presence. Yet, simultaneously, they refer to heritage as somehow absent; in one way or another concealed and not known. In this chapter I outline the features of a discourse of hidden heritage, charting the way it construct notions of heritage and user engagements with it. By means of a discourse analysis, the chapter reflects on the function of hidden heritage and thinks through its ‘ontological politics’ (Waterton and Watson, 2015, p. 22) – the power to define what is present and absent in the heritage field.