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Norwegian Archaeological Review, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2009

Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage: Consensus or Rhetoric?
TERJE BRATTLI
Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage

This article focuses on what kind of impact Western thought has on cultural heritage management on a global scale. UNESCO seems to provide and exercise a worldwide and unified definition of the character of the past and cultural heritage. Important here is the idea of sustainable development, including the perspective of cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource. Through an actor-network analysis of the UNESCO system and its relation to the assigned state parties, it is shown that the process of managing cultural heritage in itself contributes to the very definition of the past and cultural heritage. However, there are indications that outside the Western world this effect is to a large degree superficial and mainly relevant for the monuments and sites present on the World Heritage List. The suggestion is that the world cultural heritage seems to function as a varnish covering heterogeneous matter, rather than being a phenomenon encompassing a genuine global essence accepted throughout the world.

INTRODUCTION The perspective on environmental management as an overall pursuit – including both nature and cultural heritage – has several implications for the way the management of cultural heritage is conducted. One of the most important is the use of sustainable development as a strategy for managing cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource. This can be termed the paradigm of resource management (Brattli 2006). This article will focus on some of the consequences this strategy has had for the management of archaeological cultural heritage, both internationally and in different parts of the world. The international perspective will be made through an actor-network analysis of global cultural heritage management and the way this has been conducted by the UN. Here, the focus will be

on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and some of its bodies. The Western part of the world will be examined through an analysis of the development of the Norwegian archaeological cultural heritage management from the 1980s until the present. In contrast to this, examples from Asia – in particular Japan – will be presented. These examples are chosen because – as we shall see later – they represent significantly different ways of perceiving authenticity. Jan Turtinen (2006) has discussed the role and function of UNESCO and the terms for the world heritage on a broader scale. Turtinen shows how states, organizations and individuals use the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as the Convention) for purposes other than its official endeavour,

Terje Brattli, Section of Archaeology and Cultural History, Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. E-mail: terje.brattli@vm.ntnu.no

DOI: 10.1080/00293650902904505 © 2009 Taylor & Francis

its definitions of the past and cultural heritage. In Norway the Ministry of Environment was established in 1972. is the extensive economic. Cleere (1989) argues that the factors mentioned above contributed to the renewal of cultural management legislation in most European countries during the 1970s. Here Hardin sums up what can be called the ideological foundation for the modern management of common resources (Holm 2000:90). THE PAST AS A RESOURCE Obviously. This work touches on several of the issues discussed in this article. He further claims that this also has played a significant role in the development of archaeological CHM in an international perspective. however. in the Western world the past is understood as a resource of some sort. and on how some of the actors involved comprehend this. This has been termed the paradigm of identity (Solli 1996). Is there a consensus on these questions around the world or is the picture somewhat more heterogeneous? How far into the different state parties’ national. social and technological development that has taken place since the Second World War. In 1972 the UN held a conference in Helsinki where the international community agreed on certain actions 25 to deal with the problem (Cleere 1989:3). The way the term ‘identity’ has been used in publications issued by the Norwegian cultural heritage management in the recent years. regional and local CHM do the perspectives and principles laid out by UNESCO go? Within the limitations of this article it would be impossible to scrutinize this subject in any depth. is to take a closer look at the impact that the notion of sustainable development has had on cultural heritage management (CHM) in a global perspective. Internationally this societal development has resulted in an increased focus on environmental management in general. There is no doubt that this method of using the past in the process of establishing national and ethnic identities has played a significant role in both archaeological research and CHM in Norway as well as in other countries (Smith 2004). as Henry Cleere (1989) pointed out. Still. indicates that politics and ideology play a less significant role than before (Brattli 2006). Purposes discussed are international prestige. But in what sense is the past conceived as a resource? First and foremost the past has been seen as valuable because it provides identity to different groups and individuals. My primary aim. however. Norway passed its current legislation in 1978. both as an area of politics and as a field of production of knowledge. One reason for this. identity. The negative consequences of destroying the environment became increasingly obvious. One example of the theoretical perspectives that governed this process was Garret Hardin’s article ‘The tragedy of the commons’ from 1968. In some countries CHM is called cultural resource management (Smith 2004). political. Identity is no longer connected to the . BACKGROUND Since the late 1960s the notion of sustainable development has played a significant role in the field of environmental management in most of the Western world (here defined as the US and Europe). the reason for this being that the development of the modern society led to a decimation of archaeological monuments and sites. career advancement and economic development. And it is this appreciation of the past as a resource that gives meaning to sustainable development as a strategy. Identity has been related to political and ideological projects such as the building of nations and consolidation of ethnic groups and different minorities. Around 1970 several European countries established official bodies whose task was to protect the environment against unwanted effects of the processes of development.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage and that this is one of the reasons for its success. the hope is to raise some questions about the way UNESCO portrays itself.

In order to take a closer look at the past as a phenomenon. Within the field of archaeology this has been termed asymmetrical archaeology. MODERNITY AND TEMPORALITY David Lowenthal (1985) wrote that. Thomas 2004. a state where humans have taken precedence over things (Olsen 2007. 2006. And here we can see the modern’s concept of time at work. A similar division is established between the past and the present (Latour 2003. Modern metaphysics also differentiates between things (also referred to as non-humans) and humans. They all take themselves for Attila. The mixing of these spheres is conceived as a misunderstanding and something that characterizes non-moderns. And this modern conception of time and past constitutes the pivot point for my analysis of cultural heritage as a resource. He suggests that ‘the moderns’ – a definition including everybody born and raised in the Western part of the world – divide reality in accordance to modern metaphysics. however. He explains it like this: The moderns have a peculiar propensity for understanding time that passes as if it were really abolishing the past behind it. The past is understood as something either separated from the present – as similar to nature – or as a phenomenon . It is my claim that there is an intimate connection between our modern temporality and the nature of Western CHM and research. But if it is no longer a question of national or ethnic identity. Brattli 2006. more to this than meets the eye. Here the modern’s concept of time is of great significance. Witmore 2006). Bruno Latour (2003:67) claims that the modern world is marked by what he terms the arrow of time – the concept of time as linear and non-reversible or barbed. epistemology and cultural self-understanding. Lucas 2004. They do not feel that they are removed from the Middle Ages by a certain number of nation or (with some exceptions) ethnic groups when it comes to Norwegian cultural heritage management. or rather what can be termed modernity. Hence the post-processualists and postmodern archaeologists are no less modern than the processualists and their more cultural-history-oriented predecessors. The chasm between these spheres is unbridgeable: nature does not interfere with the laws of society and society does not interfere with the laws of nature/physics. There is. what kind of identity – if any – are we then dealing with? It is my view that the paradigm of identity also has an epistemological aspect based on the phenomenon that has been termed modern metaphysics. as something different from the present. in whose footsteps no grass grows back. Every phenomenon is subscribed either to nature or to society. 2003. Witmore 2006). A ‘NON-POLITICAL’ IDENTITY In accordance with modern metaphysics. Much of the theoretical debate within the field of archaeology the last twenty years or so has been rooted in this polarization created by modern metaphysics (Brattli 2006:33–34). since the Renaissance.26 Terje Brattli constructed solely within present society and/ or discourse. In the following we shall concentrate on how modernity (or rather a certain definition of modernity) sets the premises for our understanding of the relationship between the past and present. The French sociologist of science Bruno Latour (2003) has been analysing the modern world. Svestad 1995. the past has increasingly been understood as a foreign country. some key questions must be asked: Why and how do we keep a past? What is the nature of this past? Why does the past appear to us the way it does? These problems must be seen in the light of basic elements such as ontology. Within the field of archaeology the concept of modernity and its influence has been discussed for the last 15 years or so (Brattli 1995. the past immediately may appear to be an uncomplicated and one-dimensional phenomenon – as something either/or – that can be used (or misused) for political and ideological purposes. Webmoor 2007).

however. but also to ontology and epistemology. not only as a nation or an ethnic group. the more they put on display in museums. we are dependent upon a past to give us the sense of the arrow of time. the more they save. For moderns this appears just as worrying as pollution. On the one hand. but they are separated by Copernican revolutions. For this process to have any effect. and thereby also on what is understood as its physical representations. but also as modern (Brattli 2006:132). the very same sense of the arrow of time allows us to see ourselves as totally separate from this past that we at the same time so desperately need. This in turn will lead to a breakdown in our understanding of time. detail by detail. and thereby also a need for sustainable development. we understand and explain ourselves. as nonrenewable resources. Maniacal destruction is counterbalanced by an equally maniacal conservation. This is one reason why Norwegian cultural heritage management focuses on in situ preservation (Brattli 2006).Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage centuries. The more they accumulate revolutions. They want to keep everything. It gives a perspective on the paradigm of identity as two-fold. In situ conservation involves leaving the monument as undisturbed as possible in its original context. Without the past we will have no sense of the arrow of time. This is to a large degree what CHM is about. We may then suggest that the relation between past and identity contains an aspect that should be assigned not solely to politics or ideology. Historians reconstitute the past. IN SITU CONSERVATION AND AUTHENTICITY Conceiving of the material culture from the past as a resource of some sort necessitates some kind of protection of these physical remains. Through a past that is exclusively ours. we must conceive of the past – the past we at the same time both leave and preserve – as our own past. date everything because they think they have definitively broken with their past. The past belonging to other groups or cultures will not carry the same weight. global warming and the extinction of species. construction and formation of the past as a resource. On the other hand. The monuments and sites that exist within a particular (our) geographical area connect us with the people who lived there in the past simply because we share the same spatial aspect (Johansen 1990:239). And this is the only way the past can contribute to our sense of the arrow of time: as a kind of ‘contrast fluid’ through which we can comprehend ourselves as moderns. the moderns suffer from the illness of historicism. If the physical remains of the past disappear. This two-fold paradigm of identity contributes to the understanding. the more they capitalize. all the more carefully inasmuch as it has been swallowed up for ever. The past is no longer here. (Latour 2003:69) This illness of historicism – that we are in a permanent state of losing our past and therefore have to conserve it – implies a perspective on the past. It is important. The Norwegian cultural heritage management has the following definition of the concept ‘authenticity’: ‘authenticity means that something actually is what it . As moderns we need the past to confirm our understanding of time. to remember that this does not go for the past in general. This state of twodimensionality leads to a paradoxical view of the past. (Latour 2003:68) 27 And as a consequence of this: As Nietzsche observed long ago. And this sense of ‘belonging’ to the past (or a past) is for a large part geographical. epistemological breaks. we also lose the past itself from sight. but it is still necessary for the selfunderstanding of the moderns. epistemic ruptures so radical that nothing of that past survives in them – nothing of that past ought to survive in them. both UNESCO and the Norwegian cultural heritage management have adopted the pursuit of in situ conservation and authenticity as important principles and strategies. In order to achieve this goal. the material culture from the past.

especially the material culture of the past. It is. Norway ratified this convention in 2007. legends and customs. trans. author). Intact monuments are regarded as more the actual past than what is looked upon as the more accidental interpretations and reports produced by archaeologists (Lucas 2001:37). adapted to the perspective that the CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE UNESCO has gained a central position within the global CHM and it has a strong influence on both definitions of and policy for world cultural heritage. Primarily. a solution to be chosen only when continued protection is impossible due to unavoidable projects of development. The documentation and interpretation carried out by archaeologists are considered to be something apart from the excavated object itself. and the Norwegian cultural heritage management seems to conceive the past and the material culture from the past as one and the same: ‘Similarly there is a limit to what extent an area can be deprived of its monuments before it appears to have no history’ (Handlingsplan for kulturminneforvaltning 1992:51. author). Permission to remove a protected monument followed by a proper archaeological excavation is considered acceptable only when absolutely necessary. but consists only of physical elements. The list is quite long. Within this description of authenticity lies the Western definition of authenticity as preserved material culture. in 2003 UNESCO adopted The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage Management has underlined the importance of experiencing cultural heritage within original contexts and the value of monuments as sources. Still the main focus is on tangible aspects. This shows that at the birth of the Convention the focus was on the material aspects of cultural heritage. This stress on in situ conservation and authenticity has several implications for how management is conducted. or a justifiable reconstruction. In Article 1 in the Convention a definition of ‘cultural heritage’ is given. Epistemologically. and it is necessary to take a closer look at why these particular strategies are given such high priority. a matter of discussion to what extend this convention is adequate for the task (Kurin 2005). however. In the following we shall take a closer look at some of the mechanisms that govern the way in which . Non-physical cultural elements such as tradition or other cognitive factors are omitted. material produced by archaeologists is considered to be something akin to copies of removed monuments. There seems to be a strong belief that the presence of material remains from the past somehow reflects the past in a more real and direct manner. trans. The idea that not even a proper archaeological investigation including documentation and interpretation. and the Norwegian cultural heritage act also includes a section on monuments and sites holding values like tradition. that it give some kind of access to something actual/ real that other media fail to offer. In order to meet the challenges caused by this rather one-sided perspective on tangible cultural heritage. In order to do so we must investigate the relationship between the past and materiality.28 Terje Brattli essence of material culture from the past is equivalent to that of nature or of the environment in general. This difference however must not be confused with the present discussions concerning asymmetrical archaeology mentioned above and its defence of things. groups of buildings and sites. claims to be’ (Riksantikvaren 2001. The main categories listed are monuments. the focus on materiality stressed by the CHM has an instrumental purpose. can replace the intact monument has much in common with the thought about authenticity. Only severe need for development will give rise to deviation from the legal protection of the monuments and sites.

The focus has been on protection. John Law and Bruno Latour (Latour 1987. Since the Second World War. as it was described above. UNESCO manages cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource. This has led to an understanding of the Convention as a kind of ‘common denominator’ for the CHM in large parts of the world. material remains from the past and institutions and so on. The perspective is that what appears to be pure nature. Through processes of translation the other actors. The object (read hybrid) world cultural heritage is defined as a non-renewable resource in need of management based on the principle of sustainable development. nothing but subject or absolute past. The basic perspective of the actor-network-theory is that there are mechanisms at work in these processes. which will be discussed later. non-renewable resource. separated and connected and so on within this actor network. redefined. reconstructed. nature or society. as the locus where truth and knowledge relevant to the field are defined. however. In the following I hope to show how some of these actors are defined. Here objects with the ascribed ontological status are created. or participants within the actor network. the international community has acknowledged the principle of sustainable development. since the birth of the Convention in 1972. become constructed. In distinction to most other conventions which are concerned only with limited geographical areas or certain limited topics within the field of CHM. actor-network theorists call this phenomenon hybrid. This is due to the 29 illness of historicism. This kind of network is not to be confused with the concept of network in a more general sense. In the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO World Heritage Centre 2005:2) it is claimed that. Law 1992. is the abovementioned Convention. past or present. This analysis will be based on actor-network theory such as is laid out by authors like Michael Callon. consists rather of many very different elements. UNESCO has adopted several conventions concerning cultural heritage. Through the World Heritage List. This theory is closely linked to the concept of the modern metaphysics. UNESCO focuses on sites and monuments that are regarded as having inherent outstanding universal value. Callon and Law 1997). a principle later put forward in the UN report Our Common Future from 1987 (WCED 1987). adopted in 1972.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage this international society conducts its management of cultural heritage. In order to show the difference from the traditional understanding of the object given such an ontological status. and that they take place within certain types of networks. My aim is to show how UNESCO has managed to establish itself as such an obligatory passage point. that everything has to be placed either-or: as either subject or object. It is at this obligatory passage point that what are considered to be the relevant questions and knowledge are created. conservation and maintenance. Behind this object there is an actor network consisting of several heterogeneous participants such as state parties. represented and made invisible by one of the actors. This perspective has governed UNESCO’s policy on how cultural heritage will be managed – in terms of non-renewable resources. this being termed the obligatory passage point. Here it is said that each country shall adopt a general policy which aims to integrate cultural heritage into . documents. Actor networks are heterogeneous and consist of both humans and non-humans. this Convention deals with the entire world and cultural heritage in general. The Convention has been ratified by approximately 180 countries. The most important and comprehensive convention. Part II of the Convention concerns national and international protection. This is done in a way very similar to the management of natural resources. given an ontological status. We shall investigate how the Convention’s various parts are designed to define and manage cultural heritage as a vulnerable. established and maintained.

From this it follows that all the member states must define their cultural heritage as a threatened. and the relation between past. planning programmes. it must have ‘outstanding universal value’. The member states are also. Contributions to the fund may be used only for such purposes as the committee shall define. no matter what they really believe. legislation. Each country shall also take the appropriate legal. in addition to having unique qualities as a type of monument. The fund shall constitute a trust fund and consist of compulsory and voluntary contributions made by states parties to the Convention. in addition to being subject to a sufficient heritage management organization. The operational guidelines – which the committee is supposed to use in its work – says that. the establishment of centres for training in the protection. One has either to accept a given definition of the past and cultural heritage or to perish. This committee was established within UNESCO under Article 8. and scientific research in this field shall be encouraged. present and manmade remains from the past. For a monument to get on the World Heritage List. and Article 11 launched the World Heritage List. administrative and financial measures necessary for the identification. Article 10 says that the committee may create such consultative bodies as it deems necessary. With Convention Article 15. UNESCO established this fund. must also have qualities as authentic. scientific. called the World Heritage Fund. and operating methods for counteracting the dangers that threaten cultural heritage shall be conceived. We can see that the demand for both authenticity and a well-developed heritage management organization is closely related to the notion of cultural heritage as a vulnerable. scientific and technical studies and research shall be developed. . In this way both the World Heritage List and the World Heritage Committee function as an obligatory passage point which defines the character of the physical remains from the past. The purpose of such requests may be to secure the protection. conservation and presentation of cultural heritage shall be fostered. Article 13 says that the committee shall receive and study requests for international assistance formulated by state parties. conservation. This can be read as a guideline for an apparatus designed to manage our cultural heritage as a non-renewable and vulnerable resource. through the establishment of education on CHM. Finally. technical. and thereby also contributes to sustaining UNESCO’s definition of reality. conservation and presentation of cultural heritage. non-renewable resource. non-renewable resource. presentation and rehabilitation of cultural heritage. for the protection of cultural and natural heritage of ‘outstanding universal value’. Part III concerns the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as the World Heritage Committee). so to speak. The state parties have to let themselves be translated in the actor-network sense of the word.30 Terje Brattli The World Heritage Committee has an executive function on behalf of UNESCO as a whole. Part IV concerns the fund for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. The state parties commit themselves to securing their heritage at both a national and a local level by establishing sufficient bureaucracy. conservation. committed to further secure these structures by establishing CHM as a separate field or activity. These are actions that are suitable for the stabilization of the actor network wherein UNESCO is the central actor. The committee ‘administrates’ the World Heritage List. The member states therefore must adapt their requests to these criteria if they would like to see some of their monuments make it onto the World Heritage List. the monument. technology and research. Furthermore. protection. in order to get on the list. This list was to be made on the basis of inventories submitted by the state parties. Countries shall also set up the necessary services for the protection. presentation or rehabilitation of cultural heritage or to identify cultural property as defined in Article 1.

Part VII concerns reporting. the purpose of which seems to be to stay ahead of non-reversible decay. as well as to strengthen the credibility of the implementation of the Convention. long-term conservation. protection. By defining how to report. global CHM displays itself as a part of an overall environmental management in which monuments are considered a resource. presentation and rehabilitation. By undertaking to set up the necessary services for protection. In . the member states also accept the maintenance of an apparatus constructed to deal with cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource. This also controls and regulates the communication between the state parties at the same time as it creates strong bonds between single states and UNESCO. The operational guidelines further point out that this reporting is important for more effective. governs how material remains from the past are to be defined. First. conservation and presentation and to take the appropriate legal. The World Heritage List and the World Heritage Committee make it possible to control and define the member states and other actors. not only because the results constitute the foundation for such reports. but also because of its alleged kinship to natural heritage management. in turn. including the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties located in their territories. Article 21 says that the committee ‘shall define the procedure by which requests’ for international assistance shall be considered and shall specify the content of the request. especially when it comes to economic assistance. These processes are mechanisms in the actor network in which UNESCO and the committee form the point defining reality. This brief study of some of the Convention articles shows that the system is suited for establishing a definition of the global cultural heritage as a vulnerable. the member states that request assistance must meet the committee’s demand for protection and conservation. The reporting system makes it possible to control the state parties at the same time as it is decisive for what are regarded as relevant data. The World Heritage Fund and international assistance make less solvent countries (often non-Western countries) dependent upon UNESCO. administrative and financial measures necessary for identification. non-renewable resource similar to natural heritage. conservation. The operational guidelines stipulate that these reports shall convey the legislative and administrative provisions adopted by the member states and other actions they have taken for the application of the Convention. This is closely related to what the guidelines say about monitoring. and thereby also the nature of cultural heritage. Through the World Heritage List and the World Heritage Committee UNESCO establishes itself as the obligatory passage point through which all the other actors in the must pass. the fund makes it possible to regulate the relations between the member states. the fund also strengthens the bonds of each member state to the committee. both the other actors and the hybrid world cultural heritage. the fund contributes to the stabilization of the actor network in which UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee constitute the obligatory passage point. Monitoring becomes a part of this definition process. Reporting and monitoring the state of the monuments contributes to the stabilization of the actor network. Through the use of such methods. The UNESCO organization becomes the arena within which most participants in the global CHM must act. and thereby also its definition of cultural heritage as a vulnerable. Under Article 29. Second. At the same time. scientific. the committee also decides what are 31 considered relevant data. This. There are two reasons for this.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage Part V concerns conditions and arrangements for international assistance. member states shall submit reports to UNESCO. In short. non-renewable resource. In an actor-network perspective the World Heritage Fund is important when it comes to UNESCO’s position as an obligatory passage point. technical.

. is one of Norway’s seven listed properties.32 Terje Brattli look at some aspects of the development of the Norwegian cultural heritage management over the last 15–20 years and its close kinship to UNESCO. dating from 4200 to 500 BC. In its 1992 report (Handlingsplan for kulturminneforvaltning ) this committee concluded that several steps would have to be taken in order to cope with what it saw as the future challenges. The report was heavily influenced by the UN report Our Common Future. In the following we shall take a closer Fig. NORWEGIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT: A ‘BLUEPRINT’ Norway has seven sites on the World Heritage List (Fig. This became increasingly dominant through the 1990s. 1. At the end of the process this hybrid appears as an object. World Heritage Rock Art Center – Alta Museum. or a phenomenon with its own ontological quality. In 1990 the Ministry of the Environment appointed a committee (Handlingsplanutvalget) to devise a plan for how CHM would be conducted in the coming years. and has since the 1980s been conducting a policy very closely related to the perspectives outlined by UNESCO. which. in the 1980s. Photo: Karin Tansem. the actor network described constitutes this world cultural heritage. had focused on sustainable other words. The rock art from Alta. 1).

rather than on its value as a source of interpretation and different kinds of knowledge of the past. whereof approximately 660 are cultural and 25 mixed monuments and sites. the UNESCO perspective has grown from the monuments and sites on the World Heritage List to relevance for cultural heritage in general. This perspective is reflected in several statements from the Norwegian cultural heritage management. The content of the past became less important than its physical/spatial presence. Are they all managed in accordance with the principles laid out by UNESCO? This larger question. Since the early 1990s these perspectives have been followed up through a number of publications issued by the Norwegian government. author). This perception of monuments and the past is the result of a practice where the past and the present physical presence of monuments have meshed. In its report the committee stated: ‘There are types of buildings that can be compared to endangered species. 2). similar to the natural environment (Brattli 2006:138). In other European countries we find that similar bureaucratic systems and perspectives are at work. throughout the world there are huge numbers of other monuments and sites that will never find their way on to this list. This necessitated operational registers of the monuments and sites. It is. THE LIMITATIONS OF GLOBAL CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT It seems that UNESCO. What we see today is a focus on the monument’s face value. for this part of the world. Important here was the transformation of the Riksantikvaren into the Directorate for Cultural Heritage Management in 1988. which makes the remaining occurrence highly valuable’ (Handlingsplan for kulturminneforvaltning 1992:50. author). cultural heritage was seen as a non-renewable resource. in the following we shall look at . Norway is in general quite representative of how cultural heritage is defined and managed within the Western world. The aforementioned committee formulated it this way: ‘Similarly there is a limit to what extent an area can be deprived of its monuments before it appears to have no history’ (Handlingsplan for kulturminneforvaltning 1992:51. necessary to take a closer look at the position this global cultural heritage management has when it comes to cultural heritage in general. We have seen that this position appears to be strong within the Western world. The committee also stressed the need for application of what they called the key concepts of environmental management (primarily used by the natural heritage management earlier) within the cultural heritage sector. But is this the case elsewhere? The World Heritage List consists of a totally of 878 properties (Fig. even though in many European states cultural heritage management is located elsewhere than in the ministry of the environment. Over recent decades Norway has been adopting a general policy for the integration of cultural heritage into planning programmes. however.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage development. is impossible to answer properly within the limits of this article. It has also taken the legal. protection. This led to an understanding of the past and the material culture of the past as something that has to be subject to calculation and control. Nevertheless. Even though these are regarded as the most important and unique. At least this is the case for the monuments and sites on the World Heritage List. technical and administrative measures defined by UNESCO as necessary for the 33 identification. Here we can see a close kinship to Hardin’s ‘tragedy of the commons’. by way of the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage List. The very nature of the past seems to be defined through these processes. scientific. As mentioned in the introduction. trans. has a strong influence on how cultural heritage is managed throughout the world. trans. of course. There is no doubt that. presentation and the rehabilitation of cultural heritage. conservation.

There are in total 878 World Heritage properties throughout the world. But again it resulted in discussions on the possibility of writing a world history cleansed of cultural. Map courtesy of UNESCO World Heritage Centre website (http://whc. For several years now the Western dominance of global heritage management has been a topic for discussion. After a while the project met with severe criticism from historians throughout the world. UNESCO stresses the importance of the application of the principles described above also for cultural heritage sites not on the World Heritage List. But then again. Cleere (2001) has pointed at the problems caused by the . We have seen that Norwegian cultural heritage management has to a large extent followed UNESCO’s requests. The paradigm of resource management and in situ conservation has a strong position. to a considerable degree. The picture seems to be somewhat different if we look at the world as a whole. As early as 1947 UNESCO explored the possibility of creating a common global history by initiating a project for writing a world history. Even though the contributors were recruited from all over the world the project did not take into consideration the problems related to the very idea of the existence of a kind of global history relevant for all mankind. in international contexts in general the Norwegian government often tends to be among the most conscientious pupils in the class. It is likely to believe that the demand on the state parties to establish services and take appropriate legal and administrative measurements for the protection of their heritage is meant to achieve just that. This time historians from the world as a whole were included in the project.org). an idea deeply rooted in Western thinking (Christophersen 2000:163– 164). some circumstances that can indicate certain insufficiencies of global heritage management when it comes to the ‘everyday’ monuments. And UNESCO admitted that what was meant to be a global history had instead become a Eurocentric vision of the history of humanity. The international group set up to plan the project was dominated by prominent European historians. UNESCO however did not give up the idea of a world history and in 1978 another attempt was made. This also seems be the case when it comes to CHM. As mentioned earlier most of the state parties belonging to the Western world seem to have adopted the UNESCO perspective. ethnic and national values. adjusted by Øyvind Ødegård. 2.34 Terje Brattli Fig.unesco.

At a conference on authenticity held by UNESCO in Nara. Yukio Nishimura. She sees this as one of the possible reasons for the over-representation of World Heritage sites from the European region. Against this background Charoenwongsa asks the following question about authenticity: ‘What then does the true question on authenticity side with – the spiritual concept of art to a Thai. and other values important in other parts of the . the Japanese language (and probably many other Asian languages) has no proper word for ‘authenticity’. Labadi (2007) points out that the criteria for assessing the outstanding universal value of sites. Consequently. we cannot understand the true meaning of ‘authenticity’ without the help of a dictionary. however. and their authenticity. Japan. and that non-Western countries have objected to the idea of universal standards externally imposed because they see these standards as reflecting Western. and that this is a notion deeply rooted in European cultural tradition. because the basic perception of cultural properties in Asia is different from that of Europe’ (1995:183). In the mid1990s the topic was discussed at several international conferences. but has only new equivalent words for it which do not make a one-to-one correspondence. In the 1964 Venice Charter it was assumed that authenticity could be universally defined (Silverman and Ruggles 2007). said of the use and understanding of the concept in Asia: ‘The concept of authenticity cannot be as static as in Europe. both in the UN and among anthropologists. and in Western thinking it is a concept also closely related to materiality and the temporality of the moderns. The 2003 convention was clearly an effort to bring more balance into the relationship between the values embodied in tangible cultural heritage and important for Western countries.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage term outstanding universal value. Silverman and Ruggles (2007) state that universality still is subject of a heated and complex debate. Nobuo Ito. The question was raised whether valuable traditions and practices would survive through the next generation (Kurin 2004). who represented the Seameo Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts in Bangkok. He pointed out that incomplete Buddha images or torso-less Buddha heads on display in museums are regarded as authentic by Westerners. Authenticity is a central element in the global management of our cultural heritage. In order to meet this challenge and the criticism caused by it. In a worldwide perspective. on one hand. He claims that the way the concept of universality is used in the Convention is founded in an assumption that there are values which transcend regional and chronological distinctions. or the representational concept of art to a Westerner?’ (ibid. (Ito 1995:35) Pisit Charoenwongsa (1995:289). regional and national traditions were devaluated and in danger. values. its use and definition seem to be more problematic.) In the mid-1990s the awareness of the consequences of increased globalization had grown significantly. explained and understood from a European perspective. went even further: 35 Unfortunately. on the other hand. People realized that local. To a local Thai. in 1994 non-Western speakers voiced scepticism about the way authenticity was used in international CHM. who represented Kobe Design University. in order for them to get on the World Heritage List have been conceptualized. Also we are not sure if our language can be properly translated into European languages. was also sceptical of the idea of a common understanding of the concept of authenticity. The reason for this is that a Buddhist senses emptiness when the image has a missing limb or head. rather than universal. it is not a museum object but an item for reverence which needs to be restored as soon as possible. who represented the University of Tokyo. Logan (2007:38) writes that these two events brought human rights in to the foreground. in 2001 UNESCO adopted The Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in 2003 The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

through the World Heritage List. director of the Nordic World Heritage Foundation. The main focus is on securing the material before the site is removed. and states that. Buildings of this sort. Nobuo Itu (1995:40) shows us an alternative way of relating to the past and to material culture from the past. for traditional bearers and others.no/dinside/2007/ 06/28/504779.html) Kris Endresen. It is my claim that the way we relate to our archaeological cultural heritage also is closely linked to how we perceive materiality. ‘Relationship to other international instruments’. but this does not mean that recorded preservation by the CHM is regarded as the main purpose of archaeological activity. The focus is on excavation. In Norway too development takes precedence over in situ protection in many cases. Kurin (2004) points out that the convention is a work in progress wherein ways to protect cultures will be figured out in the years to come. State parties aspiring to obtain a listing of their representative cultural heritage sites are obliged to relate to systems and processes defined and administrated by UNESCO. a large proportion of them cultural heritage sites. is due to the fact that Japanese society in general regards economic and societal development and growth as more important than the protection of the archaeological heritage. at least partly.36 Terje Brattli main conservation policy for the archaeological heritage. In some Asian countries the paradigm of resource management and in situ conservation appears to hold a somewhat weaker position than seems to be the case in the West. He claims that in some Asian religions deities have a limited lifetime. When these deities die. the buildings constructed for their worship are renewed. He claims that this. world. It remains to be seen to what extent the 2003 convention will influence global CHM in the future. on the other. Japan has 13 sites on the World Heritage List. In the article ‘Conflict between preservation and development in Japan: the challenges for rescue archaeologists’ (2000) archaeologist Katsuyuki Okamura expresses concern for the way Japan manages its archaeological heritage. though. In addition it seems that. are totally reconstructed every twenty years. It follows from this that Japan must have accepted UNESCO’s definitions and perspectives. not too many Western countries have ratified this convention. However. the 1972 Convention takes precedence. Is it possible then. when there are conflicting interests between values central in the 1972 Convention and those in the 2003 convention. as with the Ise Shrine in Japan. He claims that rescue excavations sanctioned by the government constitute the . regarded by many in Japan as the main purpose of archaeological activity. Article 3. In an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (www. UNESCO has an apparatus that makes it possible to establish a definition or rather an object with an ascribed ontological status – a hybrid in Latourian terms – which we can call world cultural heritage. it seems that Japan conducts a policy where in situ conservation has low priority. rather than on in situ conservation.dagbladet. In the 2003 convention. This is due to the belief that they then become unclean. In spite of this. But there is not too much cause for optimism regarding both the limited enthusiasm from Western countries and the wording in Article 3. Okamura calls this recorded preservation. to establish a global CHM? So far I have tried to show that. states: Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as altering the status or diminishing the level of protection under the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of World Heritage properties with which an item of the intangible cultural heritage is directly associated. This is significantly different from the situation in Norway. it is a welcome addition to the means for accomplishing valuable cultural work. a time span that is also linked to the lifetime of the deities.

that cultural heritage in its essence is a non-renewable resource in need of a global policy based on the notion of sustainable development. We have seen that not all the monuments outside this list are managed in accordance with the principles outlined by UNESCO. even when it comes to monuments and sites on the World Heritage List. It is likely that to a certain degree this obliquity can be explained by economic factors. state parties also agree to give up some degree of sovereignty. Most nations are interested in promoting monuments and sites for this list. The state parties’ commitment to set up the necessary services for the protection. A nation obtaining a place on the World Heritage List for a monument or site has been compared to a restaurant receiving a Michelin star (Molstad 2007). as discussed earlier in this article. In order to achieve a genuine global CHM. The director of the Nordic World Heritage Foundation. In contrast to this. This is hardly possible. This definition coincides with the view of UNESCO. as well as of our obligation to protect the heritage passed on to us by our ancestors. She claims that they constitute a network of places or sites. I will use another image to give an alternative description. By adopting international conventions. more profound factors that influence the shaping of this list. State parties from the West are able to spend more money on the protection of their World Heritage sites. Since these countries are less dependent upon income from tourism. and only two are from the Western world. Kris Endresen. This. they also to a larger degree able to limit the wear which ensues from this kind of use. This gives the impression that the World Heritage sites are shining beacons representing cultural heritage in the world as a whole. Even though only two concrete examples are given in this article – Norway and Japan – there appears to be a significant difference in the way cultural heritage is perceived and managed. In contrast to Endresen’s cairns the World Heritage sites can be looked upon as a . there are also other. however. and that parts of the world do not seem to have the same concept of material remains from the past as we do. Statements indicate that authenticity as a phenomenon is difficult to capture within one definition accepted by all. Important motives for this are prestige and economic growth in the form of tourism. UNESCO would have to establish itself as an obligatory passage point not only for the sites and monuments on the World Heritage List. CONCLUDING REMARKS If we can talk about a global CHM at all. this is confined to the UNESCO system and in relation to the World Heritage List: the 37 world cultural heritage. used cairns as an image to show the nature of the World Heritage sites. each of which in their own way remind us of our place in the world as a whole. But. The World Heritage in Danger List consists of 24 state parties. conservation and presentation of cultural heritage has limited effect as long as this mainly is related only to monuments on the World Heritage List. there seem to be differences between the different parts of the world. Arild Molstad says that the thought behind the World Heritage Convention touches our inner feelings – that scattered around the planet there are attractions so unique that their significance goes beyond national borders and local interests. However. She describes them as a network of places that contribute to the definition of the very nature of humans. The author of the article. These are benefits also explicitly put forth by UNESCO. This is based on the perspective that the idea of sustainable development as a global perspective is more apparent than real. and there will always be a limit to how much of its sovereignty a state is willing to give up. cannot be sufficient to ascertain the existence of an actual global CHM. but for cultural heritage in general.Managing the Archaeological World Cultural Heritage compares the World Heritage sites to cairns. taking into consideration the small number of cultural monuments and sites on the World Heritage List (only approximately 685).

Lessons on collectivity from science. It is likely that worldwide there is a swarm of both different perceptions of time and motives for joining the UNESCO ‘club’. all caused by the illness of . In Layton. the appreciation of cultural heritage as a vulnerable nonrenewable resource and the idea of sustainable development. En analyse av norsk kulturminneforvaltning i perioden 1990–2005. 2006. Christophersen. 1989. We have seen that there are conditions indicating that non-Western parts of the world share this definition of cultural heritage only to a small degree. R.. 2000. varnish. Cleere. A. Trondheim. (ed. and more or less absent in non-Western areas of the world when it comes to cultural heritage not on the World Heritage list. Can it be that the focus on the – in my opinion hybrid – World Cultural Heritage leaves the cultural heritage of the world in a blind zone? By that I mean that the World Cultural Heritage makes us fail to appreciate the multiple ways of perceiving past and material culture of the past around the world.38 Terje Brattli historicism – and adopted by UNESCO – is only one among many ways to conceive of time. Brattli. 1994. as a thin layer of sameness carefully put over the very heterogeneous matter that the conceiving of the past and past material culture seems to be. however. H. The uneasy bedfellows. Paris.) Nara Conference on Authenticity. This aspect is too broad and complex a matter to be investigated within the limits of this article.G. 165–180. The temporality of the moderns. P. Compared with many third-world countries. Does it really matter much? In Larsen. Stone. K. London. Maybe it is about time we realized that not all the world suffers from the illness of historicism. Callon. Doktorgradsavhandlinger ved NTNU 32. H. 1–18. (eds) Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property. 1997. & Thomas. Yet it sets out to define the agenda for how cultural heritage will be understood and managed in general. 162–166. 3. T. Cleere. It gives the impression that the notion of material culture from the past as a non-renewal resource actually is a phenomenon accepted throughout the world as a whole. Authenticity. Introduction. The rationale of archaeological heritage management. technology and society. Primitive tider 3. Canadian Journal of Sociology 22. It serves as the basic philosophy for the way UNESCO conducts the management of the World Cultural Heritage. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. I will suggest that the use of a common world cultural heritage – in an actor-network context –has first and foremost a rhetoric purpose. There will. ‘He is dead. is that we seem to be dealing not just with heterogeneity consisting of a Western temporality on the one hand and a non-Western perspective on the other. but with multiple heterogeneity. Charoenwongsa. and the relation between them.) Archaeological Heritage Management in the Modern World. London. 1995. REFERENCES Brattli. both strategic and rhetorical as pertains to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and World Cultural Heritage. Stensilserie B 36. Tromsø. & Law. Universality and cultural heritage. Evolusjonismen og det moderne. Om globalt kulturminnevern. pp. What I will suggest. but concerns only a limited amount of the cultural heritage of the world. 2. Fortid og forvaltning. In Cleere. and that global CHM in this sense is producing the reverse of its desired effect. actual – in most of the Western world including Norway. The influence that the idea of sustainable development has on the CHM appears to be at least three-fold: 1. After the individual in society. Ein analyse av tilkomsten av arkeologien som vitskapeleg disiplin. past and materiality. J. Japan is well off financially and the use of cultural heritage to gain economic development is of limited or no interest. med hovedvekt på arkeologiske forhold. Routledge. lokalt demokrati og vestlig kulturimperialisme. 2001. (ed. E. but he won’t lay down’. P. be different perspectives and motives for joining the Convention within non-Western state parties too. H. T. of course. M. J. Routledge.

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