|WAC September 2010 eNewsletter - Volume 34|
|Wednesday, 22 September 2010 00:00|
Executive News, News from WAC Members, News Items, Excerpts from Other Archaeological Associations' Newsletters
Volume 34 September 2010
Editors: Shoshaunna Parks and Marisol Rodriguez Miranda
1. Executive News
Publication from the WAC Ramallah Inter-Congress
Present Pasts is a fully open access, peer-reviewed academic journal from the Heritage Studies Research Group at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. Brian Hole edited this issue of the journal. It includes articles by Hamdan Taha, Reinhard Bernbeck, Salah H Al-Houdalieh, Beverley Butler, Maria Theresia Starzmann and Adel H. Yahya, and an introductory article by Lynn Dodd and Ran Boytner on the future of Palestinian archaeology.
WAC Inter-Congress in Beijing, China: Heritage Management in East and South East Asia
The aim of this Inter-Congress is to bring together heritage managers and academics (archaeology, cultural anthropology, tourism, town planning) from across, or with an interest in, the East and South East Asian Region. Special consideration will be given to student participation. It is anticipated that post Inter-Congress tours will be arranged to [a] Anyang, Luoyang, and Longmen Grotto, and [b] Xi’an. It is intended that there will be at least one book produced from the Inter-Congress. Depending on funding, this will be produced in both Chinese and English or Chinese with extended abstracts of presentations made in English.
WAC Inter-Congress in Indiana, USA: Indigenous Peoples and Museums-Unravelling the Tensions
For detailed information on the venue, submitting papers, and registering for the meeting, see http://wacmuseums.info or become a member of the Facebook group "Indigenous People and Museums: Unraveling the Tensions."
The Inter-Congress will be from 22-25 June, 2011 in conjunction with the Eiteljorg Museum's 17th Annual Indian Market and Festival, to be held 25-26 June 2011. Those who wish to present a paper should submit an abstract to Professor Larry Zimmerman, email@example.com.
All the best,
2. News Items
SUPPORT WAC’S GLOBAL LIBRARIES PROGRAM
WAC’s Global Libraries Program is hard at work helping to develop the archaeological literary collections of low-income institutions around the globe. We recently mailed out a shipment of books and journals to each of the 41 libraries in the program. But, our member institutions are always in need of more monetary and in-kind donations.
Do you have any archaeological/cultural heritage books or journals that do not particularly fit your research needs anymore? Or maybe you have a number of resources that your university now provides you with in a digital format...this is a great opportunity to make a donation of the physical copies to low-income libraries and research centers around the world.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PALEOPATHOLOGY ANNOUNCED
We are delighted announce a new journal for 2010, the International Journal of Paleopathology, the official journal of the Paleopathology Association. The new journal is under the editorship of Professor Jane E. Buikstra, Arizona State University, USA.
GLOBAL HERITAGE FUND INTRODUCES GLOBAL HERITAGE NETWORK (GHN)
To address the damage to and destruction of archaeological sites in the developing world, Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has established Global Heritage Network (GHN) to:
To achieve this, GHN – built around Google Earth – presents site documentation, threats analysis, maps and multimedia, while the GHN Community enables collaboration between site teams, international experts, archaeologists, community and business leaders, and government authorities in order to save global heritage sites through the Preservation by Design® model of integrated Planning, Science, Community and Partnerships.
The GHN Site Database is by no means comprehensive, but focuses on an initial collection of approximately 500 globally significant sites in the developing world with either documented threats or that provide exemplar case studies of site preservation.
For more information visit: http://www.globalheritagefund.org/.
NEW ARCHAEOLOGY OUTREACH MODULE LAUNCHED
The NPS Archeology Program has launched a new module on archeology outreach in the NPS Archeology Guide.
For more information visit: www.nps.gov/archeology/npsGuide/outreach/index.htm
ROCK ART DATING TECHNIQUE EXTENDED TO INCLUDE PETROGLYPHS
Bryan Gordon of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Carleton University in Ottawa, has extended his rock art dating technique to include petroglyphs. They are much more common than pictographs and notoriously hard to date with precision. His new technique identifies hammerstone and rock art fragments and any fragment of AMS-datable bone, shell, leaf, wood or charcoal in thin levels within a 20x25 cm slot beneath or alongside the rock art. Except for dating, the technique is cheap, quite un-invasive, field-adapted and simple to learn. See: http://http-server.carleton.ca/~bgordon/Journal/Web_Journal.htm
RECONSTRUCTING THE HATIAN HERITAGE SECTOR
The picture on the present state of Haiti is a gloomy one. As of July 1.5 million people still lived in tents with the hurricane season underway. Logistics are the main problem for the many humanitarian organizations at work in Haiti. The ruins and rubble of destroyed buildings are not cleared yet. Consequently the food, tents and other aid cannot reach Haitians in dire straits.The last few weeks the newspapers reported on the rising rice prices caused by the tremendous amount of food aid. Now to buy rice from abroad is cheaper than buying rice locally. That is why the UN World Food Program changed their policy. Instead of handing out rice they give out money or a voucher to the starving people to buy rice at the local market. Thus by the same token ‘Cash for Work’ works better then ‘Food for work’. These problems are worsened by the increasing crisis over land. With so many people deceased and buried in unknown mass graves, so many displaced persons, so many buildings demolished and hardly any official records left, title deeds and land registry records, it is next to impossible to prove to whom a building belongs. All the more since some 16,000 civil servants were killed.
Perhaps these problems are some of the reasons the interest in rebuilding and reconstructing Haiti after the 12th January earthquake is clearly decreasing. The number of attendants at the 1st International Coordination Committee for the Protection of Haitian Cultural Heritage (ICC) on 7-8 July at the UNESCO’S HQ in Paris was smaller than expected: Hall XII was poorly filled. The discussions during the one and a half day meeting were rather confusing and many participants misunderstood each other. It seems that the capacity of the Ministry of Culture and its subsequent institutions, especially ISPAN (Haitian Institute for the Preservation of the National Heritage), is the main problem. In the end this was recognized by all and put as the number one recommendation. The UNESCO secretariat set up four thematic sub-groups, respectively on cultural and natural heritage, including world heritage; intangible heritage; museums, archives and libraries; cultural industries.
According to ActionAid the rebuilding reflects the wishes of donor countries – mainly the US and the EU - rather than the needs of Haitians themselves.The Haitian people must be included in the reconstructions plans, ActionAid continues. The foreign aid troops represent the western centric model for administration and political culture lead by concepts as democracy, transparency, efficiency, efficacy, science, high-tech, etc. It is no wonder that this seems to disagree with the Caribbean-French oriented style of administration and management: hierarchy, status & prestige, emphasis on personal relations, micro-management, centreperiphery, capital-countryside, etc. One of the recommendations at the ICC meeting was to encourage the international community to restrict their requests.
This is Development without Culture!
The Ministry of Culture is in great need of donor money to hire local staff and office equipment. As Mme Comeau Denis Magali, special advisor to the ministry, pointed out at the ICC meeting: the lack of internet facilities and electricity hampers them enormously in their daily activities. The second step is training that staff in basic skills: (western) management; computer literacy; language skills (basic English); accounting; budgeting; proposal writing. Some positive actions already undertaken by UNESCO include:
UK COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY BURSARY PROJECT GIVEN HUGE FINANCIAL BOOST
In June, the Council for British Archaeology was awarded a £604,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a new project providing funded training for community archaeologists across the UK.The project will run for three years and will deliver 27 (9 per year) placements across the UK. These will provide on-the-job training for individuals to increase their skills and knowledge of working with communities and volunteers.
The bursaries will be aimed at individuals from any background who can demonstrate sound archaeological knowledge and experience and who wish to pursue an archaeological career specifically involving supporting communities.
The bursaries will be hosted by organisations with established track-records in supporting to communities and voluntary groups. This will benefit not only the UK’s archaeology, but also the communities and volunteers who are so passionate about it.
The first round of bursaries will be offered from early 2011. Details of the bursaries, their locations, and how to apply will be advertised in due course. Please keep an eye on our website at http://www.britarch.ac.uk/community/bursaries or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOnuMENTA’S “LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND MONUMENTS” PUBLIC DIALOGUE EVENT
Building upon the ratification of the European Landscape Convention by the Greek State, MOnuMENTA's programme "Local Communities & Monuments" organises a day conference - public dialogue event on the 27th of August, 19.30 at Mitropolis' Square, Chora, Naxos, titled: "Something is wrong on the landscape of Naxos. The ratification of the European Landscape Convention, precious or a lost chance for the island?"
This is the 4th event, in the last four years, and it is organized under the auspice of Naxos and Drymalia Municipalities. The main target is to present and discuss the concept of the landscape as promoted by the Convention, and build up a dialogue that will eventually lead to measures for protection, management and design of the naxian landscape by the Local Administration and the citizens.
The proceedings of the second meeting of the programme, titled: “Monuments of Naxos at risk. The citizens’ voice.” have already been published.
EXCAVATIONS BY THE IRISH ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL (IAFS) AT BLACK FRIARY, TRIM AND AT BECTIVE, BOTH IN CO. MEATH
Excavations at Bective and at Black Friary took placevthis summer. Both are Abbeys, Bective was Cistercian, the second abbey to be built in Ireland, and Black Friary was a Dominican foundation. Students from Australia, Canada, Italy and the United States were joined by Irish students and interested volunteers. The excavations in Black Friary, which is in the medieval town of Trim, were facilitated and supported by the Town Council and there is great interest in the project as the site is currently unused waste ground. The remains of the Friary buildings have been traced by topographical, geophysical and resistivity surveys, and excavation has shown that the walls survive up to a height of 1.5m. It is hoped that this community archaeology project will involve local townspeople in decisions as to the use of space and the display of the remains of the buildings. Students have the option of earning credits as well on all IAFS digs, on completion of a minimum of two weeks digging, keeping a fieldwork diary and completing an essay after they finish fieldwork.
For more information see: http://www.iafs.ie/
OFFSHORE DRILLING REFORM DOES NOT INCLUDE FULL FUNDING FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
On the evening of August 3rd, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would not proceed to debate that chamber’s version (S. 3663) of offshore oil drilling reform prior to the August recess. Opposition to the bill came from both sides of the aisle. Some thought the legislation did too much, such as removing the $75 million liability cap on damages from oil spills. Others, including environmental groups, were disappointed that it did not include a strong alternative energy standard.
The bill also did not include a provision guaranteeing full funding ($150 million per year) for the Historic Preservation Fund. The House version of oil drilling and energy policy reform, H.R. 3534, which was passed by that body last week, does contain the full funding guarantee.
Once senators return to the issue in September, it is unclear if they will take up the current legislation, or start over with a new bill. Either way, members of both parties indicate that the debate will be "wide open", with a substantial number of amendments being considered.
3. New publications by WAC members
Archaeology and the Global Economic Crisis. Multiple Impacts, Possible Solutions
This 150 page publication can be downloaded completely free of charge at:
The editors plan to publish a follow-up volume in the course of the year with further cases and analyses regarding the multiple effects of the global crisis on archaeology. Potential contributors are welcome to get in touch.
New From Left Coast Press, Inc. WAC members receive a 20% discount on hardcovers and a 30% discount on paperbacks (insert discount code L3410 at checkout)
This comprehensive reader on indigenous archaeology shows that collaboration has become a key part of archaeology and heritage practice worldwide. Collaborative projects and projects directed and conducted by indigenous peoples independently have become standard, community concerns are routinely addressed, and oral histories are commonly incorporated into research. This volume begins with a substantial section on theoretical and philosophical underpinnings, then presents key articles from around the globe in sections on Oceania, North America, Mesoamerica and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Editorial introductions to each piece contextualize them in the intersection of archaeology and indigenous studies. This major collection is an ideal text for courses in indigenous studies, archaeology, heritage management, and related fields.
Bridging the Divide: Indigenous Communities and Archaeology into the 21st Century
The collected essays in this volume address contemporary issues regarding the relationship between Indigenous groups and archaeologists, including the challenges of dialogue, colonialism, the difficulties of working within legislative and institutional frameworks, and NAGPRA and similar legislation. The disciplines of archaeology and cultural heritage management are international in scope and many countries continue to experience the impact of colonialism. In response to these common experiences, both archaeology and indigenous political movements involve international networks through which information quickly moves around the globe. This volume reflects these dynamic dialectics between the past and the present and between the international and the local, demonstrating that archaeology is a historical science always linked to contemporary cultural concerns.
Now Available in Paperback:
Archaeologies of Placemaking: Monuments, Memories, and Engagement in Native North America
Coming soon (and available for preorder!):
This essential handbook explores the relationship between the postcolonial critique and the field of archaeology, a discipline that developed historically in conjunction with European colonialism and imperialism. In aiding the movement to decolonize the profession, the contributors to this volume—themselves from six continents and many representing indigenous and minority communities and disadvantaged countries—suggest strategies to strip archaeological theory and practice of its colonial heritage and create a discipline sensitive to its inherent inequalities. Summary articles review the emergence of the discipline of archaeology in conjunction with colonialism, critique the colonial legacy evident in continuing archaeological practice around the world, identify current trends, and chart future directions in postcolonial archaeological research. Contributors provide a synthesis of research, thought, and practice on their topic. The articles embrace multiple voices and case study approaches, and have consciously aimed to recognize the utility of comparative work and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past. This is a benchmark volume for the study of the contemporary politics, practice, and ethics of archaeology.
Coexistence and Cultural Transmission in East Asia
This is the first volume to introduce the data, theory and methodology of contemporary archaeological work in Japan and other parts of East Asia archaeology in English to western audiences. It also introduces a new theoretical concept to archaeologists interested in the relationship between ancient cultures—coexistence. Archaeologists traditionally examine the boundaries between different cultural groups in terms conflict and dominance rather than long-term, harmonious adaptive responses. Chapters in this book cover evidence from burials, faunal and botanical analysis, as well as traditional trade goods. It is of interest to archaeologists conducting research in East Asia or studying intercultural interaction anywhere around the globe.
This is a sampling of WAC-sponsored titles. To order or for more information on additional WAC-sponsored titles, visit our website at:
NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE ARCHAEOLINGUA FOUNDATION
For more information and to order the following books:
KULCSÁR, G.: THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BRONZE AGE IN THE CARPATHIAN BASIN
The book focuses on the mid-3rd millennium history of the central regions of the Carpathian Basin, corresponding to the late Vučedol and post- Vučedol period. The book is divided into two main sections, one dealing with the Makó–Kosihy–Čaka culture, the other with the Somogyvár–Vinkovci culture, both based on extensive data collection and a re-assessment of the already published material. The typo-chronological analysis of the period’s known find assemblages and the conclusions drawn thereof will hopefully provide a sound basis for future studies in this field. The detailed overview of settlement patterns and burial customs, combined with a fresh interpretation of the artefactual material from a broader perspective have contributed to a better understanding of the cultural trajectories and interactions leading to the emergence of the Bronze Age in the Carpathian Basin.
SITUATING GENDER IN EUROPEAN ARCHAEOLOGIES
This volume contains fifteen studies of gender and archaeology in Europe from different perspectives, including contributions to the research history of gender in archaeology as well as case-studies that focus on gender relations in Iberia, Scandinavia, Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, two introductory essays place these various approaches in context, explicitly considering how knowledge is created by scholars located (“situated”) in time and space, how different academic traditions and regional approaches are (or are not) represented in the dominant English-language literature, and how gender research is disseminated to the public and to academic audiences.
309 pages, with illustrations
THE MASTER OF ANIMALS IN OLD WORLD ICONOGRAPHY
Old World iconography from the Upper Paleolithic to the Christian era consistently features symbolic representations of both female and male protagonists in conflict with, accompanied by or transmuted partly or completely into, animals. Adversarial relationships are made explicit through hunting and sacrifice scenes, including heraldic compositions featuring a central figure grasping beasts arrayed on either side, while more implicit expressions are manifested in zoomorphic attributes (horns, headdresses, skins, etc.) and composite or hybrid figures that blend animal and human elements into a single image. The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography assembles archaeological, iconographical, and literary evidence for the Master of Animals from a variety of cultural contexts and disparate chronological horizons throughout the Old World, with a particular focus on Europe and the Mediterranean basin as well as the Indus Valley and Eurasia. The volume does not seek to demonstrate relatedness between different manifestations of this figure, even though some are clearly ontologically and geographically linked, but rather to interpret the role of this iconographic construct within each cultural context. In doing so, The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography provides an important resource for scholars confronting similar symbolic paradigms across the Old World landscape that foregrounds comparative interpretation in diverse ritual and socio-political environments.
262 pages, with illustrations
Im vorliegenden Buch versucht der Autor die Unterschiede zwischen Bestattungen von Männern und Frauen der spätneolithischen-frühkupferzeitlichen Lengyel-Kultur (5. Jahrtausen v. Chr.) in Südtransdanubien zu bestimmen. Es werden auch die Fragen der Schichtung innerhalb der kleineren und größeren Gruppen und Dorfgemeinschaften sowie der Hierarchie bzw. der Rangordnung zwischen den begrabenen Personen und Familien untersucht. Weitere Fragen sind, ob in dieser Gesellschaft eine Handwerkerschicht existiert hat und ob spezialisierte Fachkenntnisse innerhalb der Familien weitervererbt wurden. Was ist im geistigen Gebiet Ergebnis einer autochtonen, lokalen bzw. regionalen Entwicklung, was ist „fremd” und was kann auf Kontinuität und was auf Diskontinuität hinweisen ? – stellt der Autor die Frage auf.
Die Untersuchungen zu diesem Buch wurden auf Grund der in den vergangenen 150 Jahren ausgegrabenen Gräberfelder- und gruppen der behandelten prähistorischen Gemeinschaften (Lengyel, Zengővárkony, Villánykövesd, Mórágy, usw.) mit Hilfe der archäologischen Merkmalanalyse vorgenommen.
4. Conferences and Opportunities
MIDDLE EAST RESEARCH COMPETITION (MERC)
Call for Proposals
For the components that the Selection Committee expects to find in good research proposals, please visit MERC website www.mercprogram.org – “call for proposals”. For Ph.D. dissertation research in the region, students are required to provide at least one letter of evaluation and support by their dissertation supervisor. The supervisor should clearly explain the candidate’s academic status (e.g. if candidate has completed course work, is ready to begin field work etc...) as well as his/her strengths and weaknesses.
A response from the MERC Secretariat can be expected four weeks after the meeting of the Selection Committee in July. Final and complete research proposals are due on 15 October 2010.
Applications and letters of recommendation for Ph.D. candidates are to be sent electronically to the following email address: email@example.com
Le programme MERC a le plaisir d'annoncer son dixième cycle de compétition pour les bourses de haut niveau et d'appeler les chercheurs qualifiés et intéressés à soumettre leurs propositions. Cette compétition est ouverte à toutes les propositions et thématiques de recherche touchant à :
Les bourses de recherche sont octroyées aux étudiants ayant déjà témoigné d'une expérience de recherché réussie dans le domaine des sciences sociales. Le programme encourage davantage les doctorants et les docteurs en début de carrière universitaire. Dans certains cas exceptionnels, des bourses peuvent être octroyées pour des recherches doctorales en cours sur la région menés en dehors du monde arabe. Les propositions peuvent être soumises en arabe, en français ou en anglais. La proposition finale ne doit pas dépasser les 20 pages tapées, avec interligne double. D'autres documents seront demandés, comme un abstract, un calendrier prévisionnel d'avancement, un budget, un curriculum vitæ. Les rubriques du budget peuvent prévoir des achats d'équipements nécessaires à la recherche, les dépenses de transport et de voyages, des salaires, une assistance
Les propositions doivent parvenir au programme avant la date limite du 15 Octobre 2010. Les candidatures et/ou demandes de renseignements doivent être adressées à firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLACES, PEOPLE, STORIES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY AND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Call for Sessions
This conference investigates the relations between people and places, focusing on the role of stories in constructing meaning and affecting human emotions. Both rural and urban landscapes contain numerous locations that become meaningful places through their association with stories. These stories may be told orally by narrators or by material design; they may be permanent or temporary. The stories may be linked, for example, to the vegetation, the geology, the wild life, the cultural heritage, the mundane built environment, or metaphysical creatures. Whether such stories are historically accurate, purposefully invented or created entirely in residents’ or visitors’ minds is however less important than their potential to touch human beings.
Main aims of the conference
The conference will take place over three days and involve plenary lectures, parallel seminars, site-specific art and performed events. It will be possible to extend the stay in order to attend the annual Harvest Celebrations on Öland.
Please send your ideas for sessions or any other suggestions for the conference to email@example.com.
43RD ANNUAL CHACMOOL CONFERENCE: ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE PUBLIC EYE
The 43rd Annual Chacmool Conference is hosted by the Chacmool Archaeological Association and the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary.
It has been 15 years since the "Public or Perish" Chacmool Conference. This conference succeeded in highlighting the importance of making archaeology a publicly accessible discipline and predicted the intensification of public archaeology projects. It seems an apt time for a follow-up. Public interest in archaeology is unquestionably strong and it is up to archaeologists to present archaeology in a form compatible with that interest. This is not, exclusively, a "Public Archaeology" conference though this subject is expected to contribute a significant number of papers. Some sessions are instead concerned with various ways of making archaeological research relevant to a public audience including the increasingly prevalent use of blogs, web-based resources, and popular publication. Other sessions are intended to act on this ethos and include open general interest, current research and culture history papers presented in a manner accessible to a wide, potentially non-academic audience.
19 May: Conference Registration Begins
70 NEW BANTING POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS AVAILABLE
Please consider the new Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships ( http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/fellowships/banting-eng.aspx ) that have been established in Canada. There are 70 new fellowships available this year and they are valued at Canadian $70,000 per year (a total of $140,000). The fellowships are open to Canadians **and** foreign citizens.
WAC STUDENT WRITING COMPETITION
The WAC Student Committee (WACSC) is proud to announce the World Archaeology Congress Student Writing Competition -- a newly organized annual prize intended to showcase original student research as an integral part of WAC and the future of the discipline of archaeology. All student members of WAC are eligible to submit a paper for consideration of this prize.
The papers will be evaluated by the WACSC along with a distinguished archaeological scholar representing the Editorial Board of the WAC journal Archaeologies. The winner of the WAC Student Writing Competition will receive a citation from the WAC Executive, a 4-year membership to WAC, and guarantee of review for publication of the paper in a future edition of Archaeologies.
The deadline for submission is October 1, 2010 (June 1 annually thereafter). For more information, please click here
FELLOWSHIP AVAILABLE AT THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL HISTORY
The International Institute of Social History (IISH) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is now accepting applications for a number of fellowships. The International Institute of Social History (IISH) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is located in Amsterdam. Founded in 1935, it is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions in the field of social history in general and the history of the labour movement in particular. IISH holds over 3,000 archival collections, some one million printed volumes and about as many audio-visual items. Gathered from across the globe, the IISH collections provide a unique body of materials on social conditions and social movements in many parts of the world.
See for more information about the fellowships: http://www.iisg.nl/research/fellowships.php
ANCIENT PORTS OF INDIAN OCEAN AND INDIA’S MARITIME LINKAGES WITH THE IOR LITTORALS
The India International Center (IN) and ASI are organizing 4th International Seminar on Marine Archaeology for February 2011, in New Delhi, India.The theme of the seminar is "Ancient Ports of Indian Ocean and India's Maritime Linkages with the Indian Ocean Region Littorals". Related topics may also be discussed.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and a registration form.
17TH INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON STONE CONSERVATION – SC11
5. Excerpts from the newsletters of other archaeological associations (used with permission)
5 (a) SALON
Salon 239: 9 August 2010
World Heritage decisions
At its 2010 meeting in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed fifteen new cultural heritage sites on the Word Heritage list, five natural heritage sites and one ‘mixed’. Reports from the meeting said that a concerted effort was made this year to redress ‘a perceived bias towards Europe’s well-documented cultural hotspots and recognize unique areas in developing countries hitherto overlooked’. As a result, only two new European heritage sites were inscribed — Amsterdam’s Grachtengordel (Canal Circle) and the city of Albi, in France.
Among the other sites inscribed were an imperial palace in Vietnam, temples in China, an Australian penal colony, a historic bazaar in Iran, fourteenth-century villages in South Korea, an eighteenth-century astronomical observatory in India and the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site in the Marshall Islands. The full list of sites can be found on the UNESCO website.
Four sites were added to the World Heritage List of Sites in Danger, including Florida’s Everglades, but the Galapagos Islands were removed from the list of thirty-one sites on the danger list, despite UNESCO’s own consulting body on heritage matters stating that the archipelago was still under threat.
Karul also called on UNESCO to press the Turkish authorities more strongly to fulfil the country’s obligations under international agreements it has signed, particularly the European Convention for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage, signed in Malta in 1992. As part of its decision to keep Istanbul on the list, the World Heritage Committee has asked Turkey to report back to it on plans to relieve the city’s traffic burden, to protect Istanbul’s traditional wooden houses, to restore the city walls and to conduct independent environmental impact studies on the effects on the city’s historic environment of major transport projects such as the Golden Horn (Haliç) metro line and the building of road tunnels under the Bosphorus Strait.
Eighteen sites that had been nominated for World Heritage Site status were not inscribed, including the UK’s nomination of ‘Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory’. Supporters of the bid argued that Down House and its surrounding woods and fields have outstanding universal value as the laboratory in which Darwin made observations and conducted the experiments that led him to develop his theory of evolution by natural selection — a theory that has had a ‘profound influence on the life sciences, medicine, agriculture, philosophy, the creative arts and general views of humankind’s relation to other living creatures in the natural world’.
The World Heritage Committee decided that, although Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory was very strong in terms of recognising scientific achievement, further study and analysis was needed before the site could be considered for World Heritage designation. The Committee voted to defer the nomination back to the UK authorities for these issues to be addressed.
Our sites need protection too, say Aboriginal leaders
The inscription of eleven Australian Convict Sites in the 2010 list, including Old Government House, Hyde Park Barracks and Port Arthur in Tasmania, has been greeted with anger by members of the Aboriginal community, who have asked why ‘200 years of white history’ has resulted in so many nominations, while ‘the evidence of 50,000 years of human existence in Australia is in danger of extinction’. ‘That suggests a strong ethnocentric bias towards everything Anglo-Saxon and a prejudice or ignorance about the Aboriginal past and a lack of understanding of its value’, said Michael Mansell, director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.
Michael Mansell pointed to Australia’s endangered rock art heritage as worthy of immediate protection and said that the lack of Aboriginal sites on the list could be blamed on the fact that there were no indigenous people on the board that decides on the country’s UNESCO nominations.
The penal sites were selected ‘from thousands established by the British Empire on Australian soil in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’ as ‘the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts’.
Australia’s earliest contact rock art discovered
Australian academics and members of the Aboriginal community working together to record and protect rock art in the Wellington Range, Arnhem Land, have stumbled across the oldest ‘contact rock art’ yet discovered in Australia. This depicts a south-east Asian sailing vessel known as a prau, and a large beeswax snake overlying the ship has been radiocarbon dated by Stewart Fallon at the Australian National University (ANU) to between AD 1624 and 1674, providing a minimum age for the sailing vessel painting.
The discovery was made by SALON Fellow Paul Taçon (Griffith University), Ronald Lamilami (Senior Traditional Owner) and Sally May (ANU) as part of their fieldwork for the ARC-funded ‘Picturing Change: 21st-century perspectives on recent Australian rock art’ project. So far, some 1,200 individual paintings and beeswax figures have been found in the area under study.
Historians and archaeologists have long speculated that south-east Asian ships must have visited the northern parts of Australia long before European settlement, but this is the first dated evidence. ‘This part of Arnhem Land is well known for its south-east Asian heritage and extensive pioneering archaeological research undertaken by Campbell Macknight, although rock art was not a focus of his early archaeological research’, said Dr May.
The Djulirri site where the ship depiction was found ‘has more diverse contact period rock art than any other site in Australia’, said Professor Taçon. ‘Besides paintings of south-east Asian ships, there are European tall ships and many other forms of watercraft, all of which can be placed in chronological sequence.’ The research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Australian Archaeology.
Humans in the Philippines 67,000 years ago
Possibly the earliest human fossil in the Asia-Pacific region has been found in Callao Cave in Cagayan province, Luzon, in the Philippines, dating from 67,000 years ago. The remains of the so-called Tabon Man of Palawan, the archipelago’s earliest human remains until this discovery, date from 50,000 years ago. Uranium-series dating was used to establish the age of the remains and the results have been published in the journal Human Evolution. The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists led by Armand Mijares, of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, who said that Callao Man, or his ancestors, probably reached Luzon from what is now Indonesia by raft. The remains of butchered animals were found in the same layer of sediment, but no stone tools. ‘We can only speculate that they were using different tools. From our initial analysis of the cut marks on the animal bones, they could have used organic tools such as bamboo which is ubiquitous in the region’, Mijares said.
The Stone Age seafarers of the Mediterranean
Hesperia 79 (2010), the journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, has published evidence that early humans (such as Homo heidelbergensis) navigated from Africa to Crete at least 130,000 years ago. The evidence, in the form of Lower Palaeolithic stone tools, was found by members of a team of archaeologists led by Professor Thomas Strasser, of the Department of Art and Art History at Providence College, USA, and Dr Eleni Panagopoulou, of the Greek Ministry of Culture, at nine sites on the island. The survey team surveyed caves and rock shelters near the mouths of freshwater streams along a stretch of the south-western coast of Crete facing Libya. Up to 300 pieces were found at each site, and the geological contexts at five of the sites have enabled the finds to be dated to at least 130,000 years ago, though some of the hand axes, cleavers and scrapers could be much older, as they closely resemble hand axes fashioned in Africa about 800,000 years ago by early hominins.
By this period, Crete had already been an island for several million years. The journey from Africa would have involved an open-sea crossing of some 200 miles. The Cretan finds add to a growing body of evidence for early sea journeys: tools that look Palaeolithic have been made on the island of Gavdos, off the south coast of Crete, and the much earlier date of 1.3 million years ago has been proposed for occupation at Atapuerca, near Burgos, in northern Spain, perhaps the result of a relatively short sea journey across the Straits of Gibraltar.
SALON fellow Curtis Runnels, of the Boston University Archaeology Department and the Palaeolithic expert on the Plakias survey team, says these finds ‘are a first step on the path of research leading to a better understanding of the movements of early prehistoric peoples among the Mediterranean islands and beyond’.
Salon 238: 26 July 2010
Italy ends funding for archaeological bodies
Merging heritage bodies to save money is a better solution perhaps than the response of the Italian government to the challenge of reducing its £1.5 trillion national debt; it has ceased its funding to a number of research institutes, including the Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medioevo (the Rome Institute for Medieval Italian History), the Istituto per la Storia e l’Archeologia della Magna Grecia (the Institute for the History and Archaeology of Ancient Greece, based in Taranto) and, perhaps most seriously of all, the Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene (the Italian Archaeological School at Athens, known as SAIA). The latter has just celebrated its centenary, having been founded in 1909 and having served as a graduate training school for many of Italy’s leading archaeologists and historians of antiquity, including officials of the Italian Archaeological Superintendence. More recently it has served to train conservation architects engaged in the restoration, preservation and study of ancient Greek monuments, and it has mounted major excavations at Pale (Cephalonia), Poliochni (Lemnos) and the Cretan sites of Ayia Triadha, Phaistos, Monastiraki Apodolou, Thronos, Prinias and Gortyna. SAIA is now trying to raise private funding for the continuity of its activities, library and archive.
The Italian government is also planning to privatise a huge range of state-owned assets, including Rome’s Villa Giulia, home to the National Museum of Etruscan Archaeology, and the former royal palace in Palermo, Sicily. Salvatore Settis, the archaeologist and head of the prestigious Pisa-based university, the Scuola Normale Superiore, has denounced the sales as ‘draining and dismantling the state’, adding that ‘the country hasn’t realised that we are all having our pockets picked’. The scale of the sell-off reveals the range of assets owned by the Italian state. They include the island of Sant’Angelo della Polvere, in the Venetian lagoon, home to a ruined Benedictine monastery, parts of Rome’s Porta Portese flea market, beaches on Lake Como and ski resorts in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the Dolomites. The concern amongst conservationists is that new owners will want to develop assets that have been protected up to now.
Salon 237: 12 July 2010
Happisburgh: ‘the earliest known settlement in northern Europe’
A little bit of local rivalry was sparked by the report published in Nature last week by Simon Parfitt and colleagues from University College London announcing that they had discovered 78 flint tools and flakes at a coastal site near Happisburgh that date from between 814,000 and 970,000 years ago, which makes them at least 100,000 years older than the previous oldest stone tools from a UK site, also found by Simon and his colleagues at Pakefield, Suffolk, in 2008.
As a consequence, Happisburgh now boasts of being the ‘earliest known human settlement in northern Europe’, though settlement is perhaps stretching a point: as at Pakefield, the tools were probably left by hunter-gatherers on what was then part of the flood plain and marshland bordering one of the ancient courses of the River Thames. The Happisburgh hunter gatherers shared the landscape with rhinos, hyenas and mammoths, whose fossil bones have also been found at the site, and endured a climate not unlike that of southern Scandinavia, where the winters are around 3ºC colder on average than in Britain today. The only hominim known to have been living in Europe at this time was the now-extinct Homo antecessor species, which is known mainly from sites in Spain.
Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum and the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project said that the discovery showed that ancient humans were better adapted to surviving colder conditions than previously thought, and were almost certainly advanced enough to wear rudimentary clothing, build shelter and make fire.
Despite a century of research, archaeologists still disagree about how farming began in Britain, with some arguing that it was a result of indigenous groups adopting the practice via trade and exchange and others contending that it was the consequence of a migration of farmers from mainland Europe. SALON fellow Stephen Shennan, along with co-authors Mark Collard, Kevan Edinborough and Mark G Thomas, now think they might have the answer. In a paper published in The Journal of Archaeological Science (Volume 37, Issue 4, pages 671—900, April 2010) they present evidence for a marked and rapid increase in population density in southern England and in central Scotland around 6000 cal BP, which is the time when cultivated grain first appears in Britain. They argue that this finding is best explained by the migrant farmer hypothesis, with two sets of farmers from the Continent independently colonizing England and Scotland at this time.
Based on ethnographic data, the authors argue that farming usually supports much higher population densities in temperate regions than hunting and gathering and that the timing and rate of change in population size should provide clues as to the date and nature of the change to domesticated husbandry. They also reasoned that the number of monuments and settlements at any given period in prehistory could be used as a proxy for population size.
Plotting carbon-dated sites by 100-year time slices revealed that between 8000 and 6100 cal BP all regions of Britain were sparsely populated. Then, between 6100 and 5400 cal BP there was a dramatic increase in population density. South-west England was the first region to experience an increase. It was followed in the succeeding century by central Scotland. Subsequently, nearly all the regions of Britain experienced an increase in population density. Post-5400 cal BP, there were complex and varied demographic patterns.
Because each map covers 100 years, the authors say that it is difficult to be precise about how much time elapsed between the two migrations, but that the gap was probably less than a century. They also argue for rapid adoption of farming practices by the indigenous population of Britain, rather than the model proposed by some archaeologists (such as SALON fellow Julian Thomas) that sees domesticated animals and crops used initially for occasional rituals and not becoming economic staples for hundreds of years.
The authors conclude that ‘the case for believing that the Neolithic transition in Britain was mediated by a large influx of farmers from continental Europe is compelling. The migrants’ arrival resulted in sudden and dramatic economic, demographic and social change that seems to have led to a “boom-to-bust” cycle lasting 600 to 700 years, with the initial rapid rise in population followed by an equally rapid decline, heralding the very different cultural patterns of the later Neolithic.’
Next Issue: November 2010
|Last Updated on Monday, 22 November 2010 20:11|