WAC August 2008 eNewsletter – Volume 23


Volume 23 August 2008

Click here to download PDF

1. Executive News

The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) was held in Dublin 29th June—4th July, 2008.  Attended by more than 1,800 people from 74 countries, it was the biggest WAC Congress ever.  It was a wonderful event. It was finely organised and had wonderful events interwoven throughout.   Important political problems were addressed, the results of new research presented, old friendships renewed and new ones made.  The warmth and generosity of the Irish was amazing—every night there was a social or cultural event, all accompanied by wonderful food!  

We would like to thank the many, many people who contributed to the success of WAC-6—the theme and session organisers, the people who presented papers, the people who presented resolutions for the Plenary session. We would especially like to thank Gabriel Cooney, the Academic Secretary of WAC-6, Blaze O’Connor, Chair of the Program Committee, and their wonderful team of Irish archaeologists.  If the standard of WAC-6 is any indication of the standard of archaeology in Ireland (and I expect it must!), then it must be formidable indeed!

There were a number of important WAC organisational meetings prior to, during and after WAC-6.  A planning workshop was held over two days, involving members of the WAC Executive, Council and Ethics Committee. The outcomes of this workshop were recommendations that WAC establish a paid Secretariat, develop a mission statement and develop a process for dealing with external engagements. The WAC Council met a number of times, including two days prior to WAC-6 and one day after.  The Council dealt with a lot of planning and policy issues, and made recommendations to the WAC-6 Assembly, which is the fundamental policy making body of WAC, and which comes into existence for the duration of a WAC Congress.  The minutes of the WAC Council and Assembly meetings will be on the WAC website in the near future.  

A number of important resolutions were proposed at the Plenary session of WAC-6. These were voted on by the Plenary and the majority were moved forward for consideration by subsequent meetings of the WAC Assembly, Council and Executive.  The actions that the Executive is taking on the basis of these resolutions includes 21 media releases, a number of letters and submissions to government, a commitment to develop an ethical funding policy in consultation with membership, and arrangements for at least two Inter-Congresses, one on ‘Rethinking relations of Archaeology and Development’, and one on ‘Archaeologists, Ethics and Armed Conflict’, and one on ‘Repatriation’, to be organized by Indigenous peoples.

WAC-6 also involved the election of Officers by the WAC Assembly, which consists of Council members and one representative of each country present at the Congress.  The new Officers are Claire Smith, from Australia, President; Adebayo Folorunso, from Nigeria, Vice-President; Ines Domingo, from Spain, Secretary; and Arek Marciniak, from Poland, Treasurer.  The WAC Executive also holds positions for an Indigenous representative, and Dorothy Lippert, from the Chactow Nation, USA, was re-elected to this position.  The student representative on the Executive is Dru Magill, from the USA, the incoming Chair of WAC’s Student Committee. In addition, there are places for three representatives from the WAC Council.  Two of these positions were elected at the WAC Council meeting after WAC-6.  These are Jon Price, from the UK, and Katsuyuki Okamura, from Japan. The third Council position on the Executive will be elected from the Council after regional elections are held for those regions that currently have vacant positions. 

In addition, Nick Shepherd, South Africa, and Anne Pyburn, USA, have kindly agreed to stay on as Editors of Archaeologies and Akira Matsuda, from Japan, is the new Membership Secretary.  Akira is the outgoing Chair of WAC’s Student Committee, and has done a fantastic job in this capacity. Apart from this, Gabriel Cooney will take on the role of WAC Congress Co-ordinator.  Gabriel will use the skills and knowledge he has developed in organising an extra-ordinarily successful WAC-6 to help with the success of WAC-7, which is likely to be held in Jordan in 2012.

Finally, the Executive would like to welcome incoming members of the WAC Council, and thank outgoing Council members for all the work that have undertaken for members in their region during their period on the Council.

All the best,

Claire Smith, for the Executive

2. WAC-6 News

Press Releases from WAC-6






















3. News Items

Visualisation in Archaeology

Images are intimately linked to the theory and practice of archaeology. The epistemological nature of their deployment within the profession has typically revolved around the supportive means of effectively picturing, ordering and understanding the complexity of archaeological data. More recently, researchers have reflected upon the process of image production and the problematic relationship between images and knowledge creation.

Visualisation in Archaeology (VIA) has been established in order to provide a ‘space’ in which high quality research can be undertaken around interrelated themes centred on visual communication in archaeology. To this end the project team comprises a robust cross-section of specialists drawn from different fields of study to critically explore the production, the form and the organisational power of images in archaeology and to re-think the boundaries of that exploration.

The VIA project centres on a series of annual workshops. The main theme of the 2008 Workshop – Visualisation and Knowledge Formation – will lay the groundwork for VIA’s future meetings and related productions, including an international conference at the University of Southampton in 2010.

For details about the upcoming 2008 workshop (23-24 October 2008 at the University of Southampton), future events, and other elements of VIA, please visit the project website: www.viarch.org.uk.

Note of Clarification:

Paul Hubbard has requested a note of clarification on the extract, ‘Professor claims to have discovered Ark of the Covenant’, from PSZ Newsletter 136 that was included in the WAC June e-Newsletter.

Paul has re-emphasised that anything published in the PSZ newsletter remains the sole responsibility of the author(s). Neither the Editor nor the Prehistory Society of Zimbabwe will be held responsible for opinions expressed or ideas advanced. 

Professor Tudor Parfitt claims to have discovered the fabled Ark of the Covenant in a dusty storeroom of the Museum of Human Sciences in Harare, after years of searching and writing fantastical books about the lost tribe of Israel. We are all aware of the rich archaeological heritage of our country, but this is unacceptable romanticism soured with a dollop of pure folly. All the typical phrases used by charlatans (from UFO seekers to mystics) such as “mysterious”, “closely guarded”, “secret” appear; pointing to delusions of grandeur on the part of the author. His idea is hardly new, having been proposed earlier by von Sicard (1952) who rejected it and Mullan (1969) who was unsure but liked it anyway. The sacred drum in question is Venda (not Lemba as Parfitt claims) and it is a sign of royalty among them. It was donated to the Zimbabwean museum many years ago since it was collected from the Venda, who, Hubbard believes, looked for it a few years ago, making a copy of it for their royal ceremonies in South Africa. Parfitt’s lurid claim is classical misdirection of the kind that dominated the “Zimbabwe debate” and shows ignorance and/or suppression (undoubtedly intentional) of what is actually known. One has to ask how he obtained a sample of the drum for “dating”…? The reader is referred to the work of Le Roux (2003), Stayt (1931) and van Warmelo (1940) for more sensible and less biased information on this object.

Le Roux, M. 2003. The Lemba: A lost Tribe of Israel in Southern Africa? South Africa: University of South Africa Press.
Mullan, J.E. 1969. The Arab Builders of Zimbabwe. Salisbury: J.E. Mullan.
Stayt, H.A. 1931. The Bavenda. London: Oxford University Press.
van Warmelo, N.J. (ed.) 1940. The Copper Miners of Musina and the Early History of the Zoutpansberg: Vernacular accounts by S.M. Dzivhani, M.F. Mamadi, M.M. Motenda,, E. Mudau. Pretoria: Government Printer. (Ethnological Publications Vol. VIII).
Von Sicard, H. 1952. Ngoma lungundu. Eine Afrikanische Bundeslade. Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensa V. Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells Boktrycker.”

Australia ICOMOS (Un)Loved Heritage Conference, Sydney, July 2009

Save the Date!

The 2009 Australia ICOMOS conference titled (Un)loved Modern is to be held in Sydney between 7-10 July 2009.  The theme of the conference is the identification, management and conservation of 20th Century Heritage places. 

New From Left Coast Press, Inc. WAC members receive a 20% discount on hardcovers and a 30% discount on paperbacks (insert discount code L187 at checkout)

We enjoyed seeing so many of you in Dublin!! Thank you for your support!

From the Handbooks in Archaeology Series:

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology

Edited by Bruno David and Julian Thomas


Over the past three decades, “landscape” has become an umbrella term to describe many different strands of archaeology. From the processualist study of settlement patterns to the phenomenologist’s experience of the natural world, from human impact on past environments to the environment’s impact on human thought, action, and interaction, the term has been used. In this volume, for the first time, over 80 archaeologists from three co
ntinents attempt a comprehensive definition of the ideas and practices of landscape archaeology, covering the theoretical and the practical, the research and conservation, and encasing the term in a global framework. As a basic reference volume for landscape archaeology, this volume will be the benchmark for decades to come.

From the Archaeology and Indigenous Peoples Series:

Kennewick Man: Perspectives on the Ancient One

Edited by Heather Burke, Claire Smith, Dorothy Lippert, Joe Watkins, and Larry Zimmerman

COMING SOON! 320 Pages

Kennewick Man, known as the Ancient One to Native Americans, has been the lightning rod for conflict between archaeologists and indigenous peoples in the United States. A decade-long legal case pitted scientists against Native American communities and highlighted the shortcomings of the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), designed to protect Native remains. In this volume, we hear from the many sides of this issue—archaeologists, tribal leaders, and others—as well as views from the international community. The wider implications of the case and its resolution is explored. Comparisons are made to similar cases in other countries and how they have been handled. Appendixes provide the legal decisions, appeals, and chronology to allow full exploration of this landmark legal struggle. An ideal starting point for discussion of this case in anthropology, archaeology, Native American studies, and cultural property law courses.

From the One World Archaeology Series:

Landscapes of Clearance: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives

Edited by Angèle Smith and Amy Gazin-Schwartz


This volume examines landscapes that have been cleared of inhabitants—for economic, environmental, or socio-political reasons, by choice or by force– and the social impacts of clearance on their populations. Using cases from five continents, and ranging from prehistoric, through colonial and post-colonial times, the contributors show landscapes as meaningful points of contestation when populations abandon them or are exiled from them. Acts of resistance and revitalization are also explored, demonstrating the social and political meaning of specific landscapes to individuals, groups, and nations, and how they help shape cultural identity and ideology.

Managing Archaeological Resources: Global Context, National Programs, Local Actions

Edited by Francis P McManamon, Andrew Stout, and Jodi A Barnes


In a snapshot of 21st century archaeological resource management as a global enterprise, these 25 contributors show the range of activities, issues, and solutions undertaken by contemporary managers of heritage sites around the world. They show how the linkages between global archaeology and funding organizations, national policies, practices, and ideologies, and local populations and their cultural and economic interests foster complexity of the issues at all levels. Case materials from five continents introduce common themes of archaeologist relations with descendant groups, public outreach, national/local relationships, and data and site preservation.

Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean

Edited by Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton and Pilar Luna Erreguerena

COMING SOON! 320 Pages

ISBN:  978-1-59874-262-6

The waters of Latin America and the Caribbean are rich with archaeological sites, including coastal settlements, defensive forts, freshwater sources, fishing-related activities, navigational aids, anchorages, harbours, ports, shipbuilding sites, shipwrecks and survivor camps.  Case studies written primarily by Latin American and Caribbean archaeologists demonstrate exciting and cutting edge research, conservation, site preservation, and interpretation. As a result, this groundbreaking book documents the emerging research interests of maritime archaeologists in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This is a sampling of WAC-sponsored titles.  To order or for more information on additional WAC-sponsored titles, visit our website at:


For more information, contact Caryn Berg at archaeology@LCoastPress.com

4. Excerpts from other archaeological associations’ newsletters (used with permission)

4 (a)  SALON

Salon 194: 4 August 2008
Editor: Christopher Catling

Lack of English-language skills sank the Mary Rose

Among the multiplicity of factors that contributed to the sinking of the Mary Rose, the crew’s poor grasp of English might have been one, according to new tests carried out on the teeth of eighteen of those who drowned when the ship went down during a battle with the French in July 1545.

Professor Hugh Montgomery, University College London, proposed the theory after analysis of the nitrogen, oxygen and sodium isotopes in tooth enamel from crewmembers.   Tooth enamel laid down during childhood retains the signature of the underlying geology absorbed through drinking water, and the research team found that eleven of the samples they analysed had a Mediterranean character.

Professor Montgomery also noted that Henry VIII was known to have been short of skilled soldiers and sailors and was trying to recruit mercenaries from the Continent at the time. Among Henry VIII’s state papers was a record of nine ships that were caught in a storm in the English Channel. The 600 Spanish soldiers on board sought refuge in Falmouth harbour, in Cornwall, and were pressed into service for England in return for clothing and food. ‘It is possible that some of these men were on the Mary Rose’, Professor Montgomery said.

9000 year old bones from a site in Paris

Bones have been found that date Paris’s earliest known human occupation to about 7600 BC. The site – on the southwestern edge of the city, close to the banks of the river Seine near the Paris ring road – has yielded thousands of flint arrowheads and fragments of animal bone. Previously, the oldest known human settlement within the Paris city boundary was fishing and hunting village beside the Seine at Bercy near the Gare de Lyon railway station, dating from about 4500 BC.

Salon 193: 21 July 2008

Italian and Greek heritage at risk

The Italian government took the unusual step on 4 July 2008 of declaring a state of emergency at the Pompeii archaeological site in order to create special powers to appoint a special commissioner for the UNESCO World Heritage site and try to rescue it from decades of neglect. In Greece meanwhile, the government announced a plan to employ hundreds of additional personnel to staff museums and open-air antiquities in the face of a deluge of complaints about the conditions experienced by visitors to the country’s prime archaeological sites.

Pompeii’s emergency status allows the government to channel funds to the site and intervene in its management. A report in Corriere della Sera pointed to a history of mismanagement, litter and looting, and the pestering of visitors by illicit tour guides, illegal parking attendants and packs of stray dogs. It said most of the 1,500 houses at the site are closed to the public, the frescoes have faded to become almost invisible and restoration work that began in 1978 has yet to be completed. Part of the site is being used as an illegal rubbish dump, and is scattered with tyres, fridges and mattresses.

In Greece, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis conceded that ‘the situation at museums and sites around the country is bad [and] has to be corre
cted’. National newspapers reported that many of the country’s most popular sites were partially or permanently closed – including Delphi, Mycenae and Akrotiri, while sites more resemble rubbish tips than archaeological monuments: critics point to the graffiti that has infested the historic Plaka district beneath the Acropolis and the litter-filled streets surrounding the National Archaeological Museum. 

Twenty-seven new World Heritage Sites

The World Heritage Site Committee, meeting in Quebec at the start of July, added nineteen new cultural sites and eight new natural heritage sites to the World Heritage Site list, and agreed to the enlargement of four others.

Among the newly inscribed sites are the Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr (Madâin Sâlih), in Saudi Arabia, with its 111 monumental rock-cut tombs and its water wells, bearing testimony to the architectural accomplishments and hydraulic expertise of the first century BC to the first century AD Nabataean culture; thirteen fortified citadels along the western, northern and eastern borders of France designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633–1707); and the astonishing tulou of China’s Fujian province – multi-storey square or circular earthen structures built to house a whole village or clan of up to 800 people, dating back to the twelfth century.

The wooden churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian mountain area (Slovakia), the city and republic of San Marino, the Rhaetian railway in the Albula and Bernina Alps of Switzerland and the Po Valley cities of Mantova and Sabbioneta, in Italy, are among the new European sites, while new sites in Asia and the Pacific region include the Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran, the historic Malacca Straits cities of Melaka and George Town in Malaysia and the Kuk Early Agricultural Site in Papua New Guinea. Seventeen decorated caves were inscribed as an extension to the Altamira Cave World Heritage Site, first inscribed in 1985. The caves will now appear on the list as the ‘Cave of Altamira and Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain’. Full details can be seen on the UNESCO website.

Salon 191: 23 June 2008

Port labourers’ necropolis found near Rome

Archaeologists excavating near Rome’s Fiumicino airport have found a first- and second-century AD necropolis which they believe to be the burial place of porters and labourers who worked at the nearby port of Portus. The necropolis, near the town of Ponte Galeria, came to light last year when police investigated reports of grave robbing. Most of the 300 skeletons since unearthed are male, and many of them show signs of years of heavy work: ‘joint and tendon inflammation, compressed vertebrae, hernias and spinal problems’, said Gabriella Gatto, a spokeswoman for the local archaeology office. Artefacts found in the necropolis were simple ones, including lanterns to guide the dead to their next life, Gatto said. One ceramic-and-glass lantern was decorated with a grape harvest scene.

HMS Ontario found intact at the bottom of Lake Ontario

HMS Ontario, a British warship that sank in October 1780 during the American revolutionary war, has been discovered on the bed of Lake Ontario, close to the shores of New York state. The 80ft sloop of war sank with more than 120 men, women, children and prisoners on board when a gale swamped her decks as she was crossing the lake from Fort Niagara. The ship was discovered by marine archaeologists, Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville, who have made pictures available (see the BBC website) but who are not revealing its precise location, as they believe the vessel should be treated as a war grave and not disturbed.

The ship, with its two 70ft masts, is sitting upright and despite the impact of the storm is intact to the degree that there are even unbroken panes of window glass, as well as cannon, anchors and the ship’s bell. ‘But for the zebra mussels’, said Dan Scoville, ‘she looks like she only sunk last week.’ Astonishingly, there are some 4,700 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, with approximately 500 in Lake Ontario, of which HMS Ontario is the oldest.

(b)  ICOMOS Australia  

Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 348

Announcement for 2009 George Wright Society Biennial
Every two years, the George Wright Society (GWS) organizes Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World, a premier interdisciplinary professional meeting on parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. The GWS encourages dialogue and information exchange among all the people needed for protected area conservation, in all fields of cultural and natural resources. Typically, 800–900 people attend.
The GWS conferences feature thought-provoking keynotes, wide-ranging paper and panel presentations, focused side meetings, field trips, and special events.  The 2009 George Wright Society Biennial Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites will be held March 2-6, 2009, in Portland, Oregon.  Themes for the 2009 Conference include:

  • Thinking Like a Mountain: Effective Collaboration in the Management of Protected Areas
  • Water for Life
  • “Keeping it Real:” Engaging with Youth
  • Hana Lima Kokua (Many hands working together, joined in a common goal)

 A call for proposals has been issued; visit the conference website at http://www.georgewright.org/gws2009.html for more information.  The deadline for submission of abstracts is 3 October 2008.  Proposals that correspond to the conference themes are encouraged, but proposals on any aspect of research in the management of, and education about, parks, protected areas, and cultural sites, are also welcome.
For more information, contact the GWS office at conferences@georgewright.org or call 1-906-487-9722.

Numantia: Message from US/ICOMOS
US/ICOMOS has advised Australia ICOMOS that there is a growing international concern about the visual, contextual and physical threats posed to the archaeological site of Numantia, near the city of Soria, Spain. In the 1880s Numantia was the first site ever to be declared cultural heritage by the Kingdom of Spain.
The Spanish National Committee of ICOMOS was the first to evaluate the disastrous impact of the proposed industrial development adjacent to the site and to effectively raise the alarm. Since then, numerous other organizations in Spain and throughout Europe have joined in opposing the project, whose alleged economic and social need have also been disproved, as there is ample other land set aside in the vicinity to meet such developments for years to come.
US/ICOMOS members and friends are encouraged to support the work of the ICOMOS Spanish Committee by joining the Save Numantia Campaign and by expressing their opposition to the El Cabezo project directly to the authorities in Soria and Castilla-Leon.
For further information, visit the website:

Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 346

Applications for membership of Australia ICOMOS

New Members – join soon, there are Conferences coming up!

Australia ICOMOS welcomes applications for new members.

Also, if you have been an Associate for a number of years you might like to consider applying to be a Full Member as this provides you with many more benefits.

There are some very interesting conferences and ICOMOS events coming up including the ICOMOS General Assembly in Quebec in October 2008, the Australia ICOMOS Annual Conference in Sydne
y in July 2009 and the ICOMOS/TICCIH Conference in Broken Hill in April 2010. ICOMOS Members are eligible for concession rates for these conferences and a range of other ICOMOS events in each state.

The cut-off date for applications is 3 weeks before each Executive Committee meeting where new member nominations are considered. Following are the dates for the EC meetings and the resulting cut-off date for applications.

Member application cut-off date               EC Meeting dates  
Thursday 7th August 2008                           30th-31st August 2008
Thursday 30th October 2008                        22nd-23rd November 2008
Thursday 15th January 2008                         February 2008 (date to be set)

Initial membership enquiries can be directed to the Australia ICOMOS Secretariat, email austicomos@deakin.edu.au.

Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 343

Heritage in Asia: Converging Forces and Conflicting Values – call for papers

An International Conference, 8 – 10 January 2009
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

Abstract Deadline: 1 September 2008

Hosted in Singapore, Heritage in Asia: Converging Forces and Conflicting Values examines heritage in relation to the broader social, environmental and economic changes occurring across Asia today. Moving beyond sector specific analyses, we define heritage in holistic terms and include the natural and cultural, the tangible and intangible. We strongly welcome contributions that consider the validity of current heritage theory for understanding contemporary Asia, and where appropriate, offer new conceptual and analytical directions. We also encourage submissions from researchers who offer insights into the connections between heritage and social development, urban studies, post-conflict reconstruction, migration/diaspora, trans-national capitalism, human rights, or popular culture. The conference provides the interdisciplinary platform necessary for making sense of the broader contexts and forces surrounding heritage in Asia today; and, in so doing, offers an innovative look at the rapid and complex socio-cultural changes now occurring across the region.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof. William Logan, UNESCO Chair and Director of Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia-Pacific, Deakin University
Dr Nobuko Inaba, Professor of World Heritage Studies Program , University of Tsukuba
Dr Johannes Widodo, Professor of Architecture, National University of Singapore

Proposed Themes:

Heritage in Cosmopolitan Urban Spaces
Across Asia cities continue to expand at unprecedented rates. Migrating populations, urban development and real estate speculation are placing severe pressure on fragile heritage resources.  Simultaneously though, as cities compete for attention in today’s ‘new economies’ they increasingly draw on heritage resources to brand themselves as sites of cultural or historical interest. What strategies successfully protect historic sites from the real estate developer? What role should the residues of colonialism play in new urban blueprints? How can the social pluralism of today’s urban landscapes be reflected and equitably represented in the built environment? Potential themes include:

  • Heritage and Performing, The Global City
  • Industrial, 20th Century and Independence Heritage
  • Rural, Urban Transitions: Landscapes of the Vernacular and Everyday Heritage

Heritage, Reconstruction and Reconciliation

In recent years devastating disasters – whether it be from earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis, or from the manmade violence of civil wars and conflict – have led to the destruction of irreplaceable architectural and archaeological sites across Asia. But should reconstruction and revival merely be about the heritage resources themselves, or can heritage play a wider role in the re-constitution of traumatized communities and the reconstruction of livelihoods? Does the language of ‘commemoration’, so favored by the international community, merely result in the retention of localized hostilities or can memorials be used as a tool for reconciliation? Potential themes include:

  • Heritage and Post-Conflict/Post Disaster Livelihoods
  • Trauma, Memory and Forgetting
  • Post-Disaster Governance: Capacity Building, Geopolitics and Cultural Diplomacy

Economies of Heritage

Heritage is now widely employed as a ‘resource’ for socio-economic development. The use of cultural and natural heritage by governments, non-governmental agencies and institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank within a framework of development has yet to receive the critical attention it deserves. Is heritage merely being exploited as an economic resource by wealthy elites or can it contribute to programs of ‘sustainable development’ that foster more equitable economic growth? Can poverty reduction help curb the illicit trafficking of cultural antiquities? In what circumstances do initiatives to promote intangible heritage create gender specific economies? Potential themes include:

  • Heritage, Tourism and Development
  • Theorizing the ‘Values’ of Heritage
  • Sustainability, Community, Participation: Concepts or Buzzwords?

Heritage and Diversity

In recent years cultural heritage has emerged as an effective tool for promoting a benign language of difference within and across communities. But how successfully do current heritage policies reflect the cultural, ethnic and religious diversities of Asia? Do UNESCO conventions on ‘intangible heritage’ promote pluralism or are they enabling states to further their agendas of culturally profiling their citizens? How will the consumption of the Other or the exotic by a fast growing Asian tourism market influence the socio-cultural topography of the region? Potential themes include:

  • Ethnicity, Culture and Plurality
  • Heritage, Human Rights, and Indigenity
  • Empowering The ‘Bearers of Culture’

Heritage and Modernity

Modernity across Asia has destabilized previously accepted assumptions about ‘authenticity’ and the aesthetics of nature and culture. Do heritage frameworks conceived within the cultural traditions of ‘Western’ modernity remain valid for Asia today? In a region undergoing rapid industrialization, is industrial heritage a relevant category of social commemoration? Does a concern for the preservation of cultural heritage inhibit the shedding of the ‘post-colonial’? How should natural landscapes best be protected from ‘modern’ intrusions?  What rights should communities living inside historic landscapes have towards development and ‘modernization’? Do new media technologies present new opportunities for interpreting the past? Potential themes include:

  • The Modern/Postmodern: Towards Asian Centric Theories of Heritage
  • Simultaneous Presents and The Multiple Temporalities of Place
  • Media, Popular Culture and Heritage

Submission Details

250-word abstracts and a 5-line biography should be submitted by 1 September 2008. Successful applicants will be advised by 15 September 2008and will be required to send in a completed paper by 15 December 2008. Some funding will be available for those in the Asian Region, post-graduate students, and others unable to fund themselves. Selected papers will be put forward for publication in a refereed edited volume.

Please submit enquiries and/or Abstracts to Dr Patrick Daly (aripd@nus.edu.sg) o
r Dr Tim Winter (tim.winter@usyd.edu.au).

Further details and Submission Form available at:

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: Media Release – $3 million boost to Indigenous heritage protection

Celebrating NAIDOC week Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett has announced more than $3 million in support from the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Heritage Program for 49 Indigenous projects across Australia.

A full list of the projects that have received 2008/09 Indigenous Heritage Program funding is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/programs/ihp/outcomes-08-09.html

For more information visit: http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/about/indigenous/index.html

Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 342

Stone Conservation 2009
Applications are now open for the course on ‘Stone Conservation 2009’, to be held in Venice, Italy from 16 April – 3 July 2009.
Application deadline: 14 September 2008

Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 341

23rd IIC Congress, London, September 2008

The International Institute for Conservation is holding its 23rd biennial congress in London in September 2008. All information about the registration process, programme, etc. can be found on the congress website http://iiconservation.org/congress/index.php
Graham Voce, Executive Secretary
International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC)
6 Buckingham Street
London WC2N 6BA
telephone +44 (0)20 7839 5975
fax +44 (0)20 7976 1564

Call for Submissions: Society for American Archaeology 74th Annual Meeting

April 22 – April 26, 2009
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The abstract submission system for SAA’s 2009 annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia (April 22-26) is now available on the SAA website at http://saa.org/meetings/submissions.asp. The SAA has implemented system enhancements that will facilitate your submission process. Those enhancements, based on the feedback we received from last year’s inaugural users, include membership directory search capabilities for current members, streamlined session navigation, and more detailed submission instructions.

Call for submissions / Submission Deadline
A PDF with detailed instructions for abstract submissions is available for download at:

The Deadline for submissions is 10 September 2008


Tel: +1-202-789-8200
E-mail: meetings@saa.org

(c)  Prehistory Society of Zimbabwe

Prehistory Society of Zimbabwe Newsletter 137

Search for heritage at mystical Mapungubwe

Edited and Summarised from Business Day, 15 May 2008.

Mapungubwe, the Limpopo hill that was home to the largest kingdom in sub- Saharan Africa before it was abandoned in the 1300s, has been swathed in controversy since its re-discovery by the University of Pretoria (UP) in 1933. That controversy seems set to continue. In the past the sophistication of Mapungubwe society was played down by white supremacists but now several communities from the area, near the Zimbabwean border, claim to be direct descendents of those who lived there when it was a bustling trading hub, exporting gold to Egypt, India and China. “The want, the need, to own is very human. A number of these communities have competing land claims and they will emphasise certain things to defend those claims, but none of them is necessarily directly descended from the Mapungubwe people. It’s more messy than that,” says Dr Alex Schoeman, senior researcher in UP’s anthropology and archaeology department.

Laying claim to Mapungubwe heritage has no practical use, because to make a legal land claim the community had to have been removed from the place they claim after June 1913 – but still the communities tell their stories when land ownership is brought into question, Schoeman says. Researchers from UP digging at Mapungubwe in 1934 were baffled by what they found. “They found rock art that was very well preserved, but they thought the San and farmer groups did not live in the same area and they did not think that there was intermarriage between the San and blacks. There was great fluidity in that society and that disturbed the researchers more than it made them happy. Their research didn’t yield much because they didn’t understand what they got,” she says.

The university has to deal with a history of poor science and ill-founded ideology that prevented SA, and the world, from knowing what was found at Mapungubwe. On the upside, the early researchers left careful records of what they had found (but failed to understand) and the university is now steadily working through these records. It is also gathering more data, and last month a team travelled to the area to speak to representatives of the Lemba, the Vhangona and the Leshiba communities, and the Tshivula royal family, to hear their traditional beliefs about Mapungubwe and their links to the area. Schoeman’s team will continue its work. They have yet to speak to the Machete, the community whose claim to the Mapungubwe land, according to University of the Witwatersrand historian Prof Philip Bonner, has most credence as they are known to have lived in the area 70- 80 years ago.

The stories collected do not always match the scientific evidence found at the Mapungubwe site, but it is surprising how much is known – the communities’ history is kept alive by praise poets who repeat almost verbatim what they have learnt from their elders, says Schoeman. “The old history goes back to the 1600s. That’s mostly royal history, but the more recent oral history is about families and there are also pockets of amazing oral history that are archived. This history was collected by government ethnologists and there are reams of notes. They had an apartheid philosophy, but the data they recorded is incredibly valuable. There’s a lot of work for history students in that,” she says.

The university’s archaeology and anthropology department is comparing this oral history with objects found at Mapungubwe, and while there is clear evidence that the communities that claim to be descendents of the city’s residents were all in the area at some time, it is also probable that no one will be able to make an exclusive cl
aim to Mapungubwe heritage. Schoeman said it was good academically to compare oral history with scientific evidence, and to do so at Mapungubwe would help in the writing of a part of SA’s history that had been under-researched. It was also important to give people a voice, especially those who lost out under apartheid.

Next issue: October 2008
Sue Nugent