Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property

Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property

Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property

Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property


In 1991 the mosque at Ayodhya in India was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists who claim that it stood on the birthplace of a legendary Hindu hero. During recent conflicts in former Yugoslavia, ethnic groups destroyed mosques and churches to eliminate evidence of long-term settlement by other communities. Over successive centuries, however, a single building in Cordoba functioned as a mosque, a church and a synagogue. The Roman Emperor Diocletian's Palace in Split is occupied today by shops and residential apartments. What circumstances have lead to the survival and reinterpretation of some monuments, but the destruction of others?This work asks whether the idea of world heritage is an essential mechanism for the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage, or whether it subjugates a diversity of cultural traditions to specifically Western ideas. How far is it acceptable for one group of people to comment upon, or intercede in, the way in which another community treats the remains which it claims as its own? What are the responsibilities of multinational corporations and non-governmental organisations operating in the Developing World? Who actually owns the past: the landowner, indigenous people, the State or humankind?


One World Archaeology is dedicated to exploring new themes, theories and applications in archaeology from around the world. The series of edited volumes began with contributions that were either part of the inaugural meeting of the World Archaeological Congress in Southampton, UK in 1986 or were commissioned speciflcally immediately after the meeting - frequently from participants who were inspired to make their own contributions. Since then WAC has held three further major international Congresses in Barquisimeto, Venezuela (1990), New Delhi, India (1994) and Cape Town, South Africa (1999) and a series of more specialized 'inter-congresses' focussing on Archaeological ethics and the treatment of the dead (Vermillion, USA, 1989), Urban origins in Africa (Mombasa, Kenya, 1993), and The destruction and restoration of cultural heritage (Brač, Croatia, 1998). In each cast these meetings have attracted a wealth of original and often inspiring work from many countries.

The result has been a set of richly varied volumes that are at the cutting edge of (frequently multi-disciplinary) new work, and which provide a breadth of perspective that charts the many and varied directions that contemporary archaeology is taking.

As series editors We should like to thank all editors and contributors for their hard work in producing these books. We should also like to express our thanks to Peter Ucko, inspiration behind both the World Archaeological Congress and the One World Archaeology series. Without him none of this would have happened.

Martin Hall, Cape Town, South Africa

Peter G. Stone, Newcastle, UK

Julian Thomas, Manchester, UK

June 2000 . . .

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