Entries in preservation (4)
The Archaeological Conservancy is a United States based foundation whose mission is to preserve archaeological sites though out the country. The Conservancy differs from the other organizations that we have overviewed so far. They operate only in the United States, they also actively purchase archaeological sites of interest. These sites are bought from local land owners to preserve both European and Native American heritage.
The urgency of the situation in the United States is best summed up very well on the Archaeological Conservancy website
"Every day, prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the United States are lost forever--along with the precious information they contain. Modern-day looters use backhoes and bulldozers to recover artifacts for the international market. Urban development and agricultural methods such as land leveling and topsoil mining destroy ancient sites. The Conservancy protects these sites by acquiring the land on which they rest, preserving them for posterity."(http://www.americanarchaeology.com/aaabout.html)
The Conservancy also publishes a quarterly magazine called American Archaeology. It is the only popular magazine dedicated to American archaeology in publication. The articles are mainly focused on research currently going on Conservancy sites. This is a great opportunity to learn about ongoing excavations the general public is not privy to. There in lies my one major complaint with the Conservancy. The publishing of data and excavations on Conservancy sites. The Conservancy has a great platform for the dissemination of information to its members. Knowing first hand that ongoing research is happening on many of these sites there is little to no updates available on the Conservancy webpage.
The Archaeological Conservancy is helping to save American heritage that would be lost to development. I encourage you to check out their webpage and learn more.
The World Monuments Fund based in New York is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "WMF's mission is to preserve the world's architectural heritage of significant monuments, buildings, and sites."(http://www.wmf.org/content/core-programs). The focus of the WMF is the preservation of mostly architecture. However they also are actively protecting important landscapes such as Historic Route 66 in the Western United States and Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. The later is especially important to me being my hometown. There the WMF is fighting urban sprawl the destruction of the historic landscape.
Each the WMF designates sites world wide as being on their watch list. The watch consists of sites the WMF feel are in the most danger from cultural natural destruction. The 2012 list can be found here. This years list consists of such as the Historic Architecture of Belize City and the Royal Opera House of Mumbai.
The WMF also promotes responsible tourism. Tourism is one of the top causes of the deterioration of heritage around the world. You can find find there tips son how to be a responsible tourist and sign a pledge here.
You can follow along with the WMF Journal found online. it is a fascinating blog from the those working on preservation on WMF sites. They also host a number of reports that make for interesting reading for those interested in preservation.
The WMF is an important and large preservation organization that is leading the way on protecting our world's shared heritage.
We are kicking off preservation month here at Watching Archaeology with a look at perhaps the largest preservation organization in the world UNESCO. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The mission of UNESCO is:
"UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to:encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage."
taken from their website http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/
The listing of all UNESCO heritage sites can be found here. The sites are mix of environmental and culture. The ones marked in red mean that they are in the most danger. Many of these are in countries that a struggling from internal strife and poverty. These are sites that could be lost forever due to neglect and war. If you interested in helping you can donate to UNESCO. To me the important thing about UNESCO's mission is that these are the worlds treasures many of these sites represent the achievements of humanity.
Welcome to Preservation Month at Watching Archaeology. The first post this month is actually a repost from a few years ago about why the past matters. The article is written by Josh Bernstein and I find to be a good manifesto as to why we should preserve our heritage.