WAC August 2009 eNewsletter – Volume 29


eNewsletters

Volume 9 August 2009

Click here to download PDF

Editors:  Shoshaunna Parks and Marisol Rodriguez Miranda

shoshiparks@hotmail.com; marirodz@gmail.com

1. Executive News

WAC Conferences

The World Archaeological Congress has supported two important conferences over the last two months, one in the Republic of Palau in Micronesia and the other in Palestine.  The support that WAC gives for such events emerges from our commitment to promoting dialogue on archaeology and cultural heritage issues in all parts of the world.  And for those who may feel that Palau or Palestine are located in remote parts of the world, I’d like to quote the Hon Johnson Toribiong, the President of the Republic of Palau, who states that for Palauns, Palau is the centre of the world— and that, for these people, places like Europe and the United States are located in remote areas.

The Pacific Island Archaeology in the 21st Century: Relevance and Engagement Conference in Koror, Palau. This WAC-sponsored conference was held from 1st to 3rd July, 2009 and involved some 300 people, including 90 off-island delegates from academic institutions, government agencies, heritage resource consultants, environmental groups, tourism associations, educators, chiefly councils, museums, NGO’s, and construction and tour businesses.

This conference examined the value and contribution of the Pacific’s natural and cultural heritage to resolving the contemporary socioeconomic, health, and environmental challenges and considered ways for sustainable development to promote and conserve the Pacific’s natural and cultural resources. To this end, the conference focused on the role, status, successes, and problems of community engagement in heritage preservation and management. Several Pacific nations are exploring the possibilities of creating internet sites dedicated to their heritage in a peer-reviewed dictionary format, which would be accessible to scholars and interested parties.

This was a wonderful conference, made special by the extraordinarily high level of participation by Palauan members of the public, and the sincere support of the Palauan government.  The conference was opened by the Hon Johnson Toribiong, the President of the Republic of Palau, and attended by participants from eighteen nations, including Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Rapanui, Western Samoa, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, the US and the Philippines.  A unique characteristic of this conference was the active participation of the Honorable Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, the Minister for Community & Cultural Affairs.  While Government Ministers often open conferences, this was the first time that I have known a Minister to stay for an entire conference!

WAC Inter-Congress on Structural Violence in Ramallah, Palestine
The World Archaeological Congress Inter-Congress on Structural Violence was held in Ramallah, Palestine from 8th to 13th August, 2009.  This Inter-Congress was the largest international archaeology conference to be held in Palestine, and included participants from South Africa, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada and the US.  People from Palestine often find it difficult to participate in international conferences, so this conference was a wonderful opportunity for Palestinian archaeologists to conduct an archaeological dialogue with the world in their home. The conference also opened the space for frank dialogue within the different parts of the Palestinian archaeological community. Strengthening that community is absolutely vital for the future of the archaeological heritage in the region and we are planning to implement a number of initiatives in this region.

Members of WAC should be aware that reports that WAC banned Israeli archaeologists from attending this Inter-Congress are untrue. A public discussion forum has been established as a way of exploring the issues surrounding these reports.  This forum can be accessed from the front page of the WAC web site.

WAC Inter-Congress International Conference on “Archaeology in Conflict”
Vienna International Center, UN-City, Vienna, Austria, EU

6-10 April 2010

The next WAC Inter-Congress, ‘Archaeology in Conflict’, will be held in Vienna in April, 2010. We encourage WAC members to include this I-C into their planning for the year. The call for proposals for panel, papers and posters at the WAC Inter-Congress International Conference is on the WAC website. The deadline for proposals is as follows:

Panels: September 20, 2009.
Papers and Posters: November 30, 2009

More information on this Inter-Congress can be found on the WAC website at:
http://www.archaeologyinconflict.org/index.html

Blaze O’Connor

It is with great sadness that the WAC Executive announces that Dr Blaze O’Connor, the Program Director of WAC-6, recently passed away. Blaze was a highly competent and talented scholar who contributed around two years of her 34 years of existence to helping archaeologists around the world through WAC.  A few months ago the WAC Council approved the Blaze O’Connor Award, which will be given for the first time at WAC-7, planned for Jordan in 2012.  We have established a condolences page on the WAC website: http://www.worldarchaeologicalcongress.org/home/blaze-oconnor

Regards,
Claire Smith, for the Executive

2. WAC News

2. (a) WAC-6 News

SCULPTURE CELEBRATING THE SIXTH WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY CONFERENCE:
NA FÁNÁ FUACHTMHAR – THE COLD HILLS

Kevin O’Dwyer’s sculpture commission to celebrate the Sixth World Archaeology Conference was recently installed on the Belfield campus of University College Dublin.

To view Sculpture installation and UCD scholarcast please visit :
http://www.amexhibition.com/kevinodwyer_video.html

Na Fáná Fuachtmhar was inspired by the incised chevron motifs found inside the Megalithic Passage Tomb at Fourknocks, Co. Meath. The chevron motif, a symbol common to many cultures throughout the world dating from the Neolithic period, is suggestive of the W-shaped constellation, Cassiopeia, which would have been visible through the passage tomb between 3000BC and 2500BC.  Na Fáná Fuachtmhar incorporates this ancient symbol into a series of strong architectural forms as a contemporary play on the great standing stones found in Neolithic settlements throughout Europe. The sculpture celebrates the interrelationship between art and archaeology explored during the Sixth World Archaeology Conference at University College Dublin in 2008.

3. News from WAC Members

ARCHAEOLOGIST PROPOSES CHANGES TO NEW PERMITTING LAW TO PUERTO RICAN SENATE                     

On the 8th of July, 2009, the former director of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, Marisol Rodríguez Miranda, presented a proposal to the Puerto Rican Senate’s Commission on Development and Planning regarding changes to the Law Projects Senate Bill 880.  If approved P. of S. 880 will compromise existing heritage protection laws that allow the Institute of Culture to intervene in projects of building and development  that place Puerto Rican cultural patrimony at risk.
Over the past four years, the Institute of Culture has struggled against the Administration of Rules and Permits and their constant issuance of construction permits in public plazas and historic zones without receiving the endorsement of the Institute. The withholding of endorsements for construction projects by the Institute of Culture has been responsible for Maintaining the ten vibrant historical zones located throughout the island, including San Germán and San Juan, as well as            those of Guayama, Arroyo, Coamo, Manatí, Vega Baja, Caguas, Ponce, and the Barrio de Miramar.  Dismembering existing heritage protection laws – passing some articles while leaving others – is to annul the protection of archaeological patrimony. As an alternative, Rodríguez proposes to eliminate Article 19.1, which alters Article 6 of Law 374 (passed on May 12, 1949), the law in which all protection of archaeological patrimony and tourism is based, from requiring the favourable “endorsement” of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture in projects of construction and development to requesting only the Institute’s “comments.” She also proposes changes to articles 19.9 and 19.10 of the L. of S. 880.

ARQUEÓLOGA PROPONE CAMBIOS A UNA NUEVA LEY DE PERMISOS AL SENADO PUERTORIQUEÑO

El 8 de Julio, 2009, Marisol Rodríguez Miranda, la presidente anterior del Instituto de Cultura Puertoriqueña, presentó una ponencia a la Comisión de Desarrollo y Planificación del Senado de Puerto Rico y proponió cambios al Ley de Permisos, P. de la S. 880.  La nueva ley para la agilización de protección el patrimonio arqueológico e histórico en Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico cuenta con estrictas leyes para la protección de su patrimonio en el que todo proyecto que se realize en el territorio nacional o en sus aguas territoriales ya sea publico o privado debe contar con una autorización del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. La legislación existente permite que el Instituto pueda intervenir en aquellos casos en que no se cuente con su endoso inclusive emitiendo ordenes de paralización para estas
construcciones.

Durante el cuatrienio pasado fue una lucha eterna con la ARPE, debido a que constantemente se otorgaban permisos en las plazas publicas y en zonas históricas sin contar con el endoso del Instituto.  Son estos endosos los que mantienen vivas las diez
zonas históricas que hay en la isla, de las cuales las más conocidas son San Germán y San Juan pero también están Guayama, Arroyo, Coamo, Manatí, Vega Baja, Caguas,
Ponce y el Barrio de Miramar. Pero el desmembrar estas leyes, pasando algunas artículos pero dejando otros, es anular la protección sobre el patrimonio arqueológico. Rodríguez plantea como primera alternative que se elimine el Articulo 19.1 cual  enmienda al Articulo 6 de la ley 374 (del 12 de mayo de 1949), que es la ley en que se basa toda la protección al patrimonio arqueológico y al turismo, de requerir “el endoso favorable” del Instituto de Cultura Puertoriquena a solicitor “los comentarios del Instituto de Cultura Puertoriquena.

Ella tambén propone que se cambien los artículos 19.9 y 19.10 por uno que diga que se derogan las leyes de 10 y 112 y que en un termino de un ano se deberá presentar un proyecto de ley que incorpore los poderes de estas leyes mediante enmiendas a la Ley 89, supra.

4. New publications by WAC members

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)

BEING AND BECOMING INDIGENOUS ARCHAEOLOGISTS BY GEORGE NICHOLAS
Coming in Late 2009! 352 pages, $69.00 Hardcover
ISBN:  978-1-59874-497-2; http://lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=277

What does being an archaeologist mean to Indigenous persons? How and why do some become archaeologists? What has led them down a path to what some in their communities have labeled a colonialist venture? What were are the challenges they have faced, and the motivations that have allowed them to succeed? How have they managed to balance traditional values and worldview with Western modes of inquiry? And how are their contributions broadening the scope of archaeology? Indigenous archaeologists have the often awkward role of trying to serves as spokespeople both for their home community and for the scientific community of archaeologists. This volume tells the stories—in their own words– of 37 indigenous archaeologists from six continents, how they became archaeologists, and how their dual role affects their relationships with their community and their professional colleagues.

ARCHAEOLOGY OF RELIGION: CULTURES AND THEIR BELIEFS IN WORLDWIDE CONTEXT BY SHARON R. STEADMAN
April 2009, 312 pages, $34.95 Paper
ISBN: 978-1-59874-154-4 (p); http://lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=227

Steadman fills an empty niche in the offerings on how archaeology interprets past religions with this useful textbook. The book includes case studies from around the world, from the study of Upper Paleolithic religions and of shamans in foraging societies to formal religious structures in advanced complex societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and the Andes. Steadman also includes key contemporary religions–Christianity, Islam, Buddhism among others–to provide an historical and comparative context. This is an ideal text for an Archaeology of Religion course or classes that include a significant component on “past religions,” as well as for general readers.

Coming in Paperback in September 2009:
ARCHAEOLOGIES OF PLACEMAKING: MONUMENTS, MEMORIES, AND ENGAGEMENT IN NATIVE NORTH AMERICA EDITED BY PATRICIA E. RUBERTONE
http://lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=182

ARCHAEOLOGIES OF ART: TIME, PLACE, AND IDENTITY EDITED BY INÉS DOMINGO SANZ, DÁNAE FIORE, AND SALLY K. MAY
http://lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=130

Check out our end of summer 50 percent off sale! Ends on August 31st!!
For details, go to: http://lcoastpress.com/index.php

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

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

CROSSING THE ZAMBEZI: THE POLITICS OF LANDSCAPE ON A CENTRAL AFRICAN FRONTIER BY JOANN MCGREGOR
2009. Oxford: James Currey & Harare: Weaver Press.

This book is a history of claims to the Zambezi, focussed on the stretch of the river extending from the Victoria Falls downstream into Lake Kariba. It is a story of 150 years of conflict over the changing landscape of the river, in which the tension between the Zambezi’s ‘river people’ and more powerful others has been central. By investigating how the claims made today by the people of the Zambezi relate to a longer history of claims and appropriations, the book contributes to a long-standing debates over the relationship between geography, history, landscape and power.

JOURNEYS BEYOND GUBULUWAYO TO THE GAZA, TONGA AND LOZI: LETTERS OF THE JESUITS’ MISSION, 1880-1883 EDITED BY R.S. ROBERTS
2009. Harare: Weaver Press.

The publication of these letters of Frs Depelchin and Croonenberghs completes the rendition into English of the original two-volume work in French. The first volume was published in late 1979 and the letters therein described their journey from the Eastern Cape to the establishment of a mission house near Lobengula’s capital. This second volume continues the story of the Mission from 1880. The letters written by the missionaries chronicle the trials and tribulations they suffered in trying to implement their ambitious plans for the Zambesi Mission. In the end, courage and fortitude were not enough and the book ends on a note of failure after much loss of life. The book was translated by Véronique Wakerley of the University of Zimbabwe and edited and, annotated and introduced by Ray Roberts.

5. News Items

AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE:
OLD GUARD, NEW GUARD

Sessions for the upcoming Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference (Theme: Old Guard, New Guard) to be held in Adelaide from 11 to 14 December 2009 have now been announced.  They include:

  • Archaeology to excite and inspire
  • Research outcomes in Australian archaeology
  • Engineering archaeological solutions: how technological advancements have been implemented in cultural heritage management
  • Seeing Beneath the Soil: The Possibilities of Archaeological Geophysics in Australia
  • Archaeology and anthropology
  • The Real Dirt Game: Archaeology and Mining in the Pilbara
  • The archaeology of Australasian coasts and islands
  • The AACAI Session: Consulting, Research and Heritage Management
  • Google Earth, its application in the study and practice of archaeology
  • Engaged archaeology, consultancies and management planning: research directions
  • Palaeoecology and its role in archaeology: current research and future directions

Click here for full details of the sessions and their organisers or to offer a paper at the conference.

The deadline for the submission of paper proposals is 30 September 2009.

15th ANNUAL CULTURAL STUDIES WORKSHOP
JANUARY 30 – FEBRUARY 4, 2010

The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSSC) in collaboration with Ford Foundation and the South-South Exchange Programme for the History of Development (SEPHIS, Netherlands) will hold its 15th Annual Cultural Studies Workshop from January 30 – February 4, 2010 at Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.

The broad theme for this year’s workshop is The Sacred in Contemporary Culture. Far from “phenomena born of religious conceptions” being everywhere in decline, fulfilling the prediction of its retreat from the spheres of art, education, or politics, the realm of the sacred has been historically reconstituted within contemporary life in a number of unanticipated ways including the renewed enchantment with, rather than repression of, the magical; an increasing political focus on the consecration or desecration of icons, heroes, or histories; the adaptation of new technologies to the service of the sacred. Indeed, we might say that the sacred and the secular have forged a new dependence in contemporary cultures, calling for a fresh assessment of the status of the sacred in contemporary life.

The Cultural Studies Workshop 2010 will discuss the following themes:

1. The Sacredness of Science
2. Objects, Images, Icons
3. Consecrations and Desecrations
4. Institutions and Rituals
5. Political Theology

The workshop is intended to give young researchers an opportunity to share their work with senior scholars in the field and is aimed at doctoral or post doctoral students (below the age of 35) whose ongoing or just completed work focuses on one or more of the themes listed above.

For more information and to send applications contact: Ranjana Dasgupta, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, R-I Baishnabghata Patuli Township, Kolkata 700 094. email: csw@cssscal.org; cssscal@vsnl.net] by September 17, 2009.

CALL FOR PAPER AND POSTER ABSTRACTS FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Heritage in Conflict and Consensus: New Approaches to the Social, Political, and Religious Impact of Public Heritage in the 21st Century
UMass Amherst, MA, November 9-10, 2009

The goals of this international workshop are to offer global perspectives on selected themes of Heritage in Conflict and to develop a long-term working group to formulate research and policy agendas for the future.  Participants will include specialists in historic preservation, architecture, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, conflict resolution, public history, and heritage management as well as leaders and representatives of affected communities from Europe, the Americas, South Africa, and the Middle East.

Major themes of heritage in conflict and consensus include: community heritage, religious heritage, diasporic heritage, and issues concerning human remains.

Abstracts for poster presentations and short case studies (15 minutes) on these themes will be accepted until September 1.  They should be a maximum of 300 words, in English, and be submitted online. Notification of acceptance will be sent by October 1.

Conference registration for presenters and attendees is now open! Early bird registration ends on September 1.

Please visit the workshop’s website for more information and for links to submit papers and register: http://www.umass.edu/chs/news/workshop.html or contact Angela Labrador, Program Coordinator at alabra@anthro.umass.edu.

GLOBAL SOUTH – CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

The Sephis e-magazine
Special issue on ‘History of medicine in the context of Global South’
April 2010

We are inviting essays on history of medicine in the context of all the south countries.  We hope to cover a wide range of issues related to the history of medicine, its specific manifestations in the context of south countries, its impact including the varied responses- political, social, cultural- in different southern regions.  Contributions can be in the form of an article (3000-5000 words).  We also welcome contributions in the form of Book reviews, Reports of contemporary trends or events, Reports of conferences or meetings (1000-1500 words).  We especially welcome historiographical essays from different south contexts.

Deadline for submission: 31 December 2009

CODESRIA-SEPHIS EXTENDED WORKSHOP ON SOCIAL HISTORY:
HISTORICIZING CITIZENSHIP

CODESRIA/SEPHIS collaborative programme is pleased to announce the sixth session of its Extended Workshop on New Theories and Methods in Social History which is scheduled for the 2nd–20th of November 2009 in Dakar, Senegal. The theme of the workshop is: Historicizing Citizenship. The question of citizenship is a live one with historical and contemporary relevance as the attributes of citizenship, its content and contours have shifted over time in tandem with broad changes occurring in society. It is such shifts in the content and contours of the concept of citizenship, especially in the Global South, that the 2009 Workshop on Social History invites participants to investigate and debate. The objective of the workshop is to stimulate a historically-grounded, comparative, all-encompassing analysis of citizenship issues with a view to promoting reflections on the origin, direction and changes in the concept and ideal of citizenship especially in the light of globalisation.

Sub-themes
Among the sub-themes around which reflection will be organised are:
* Conceptualizations of Citizenship in the North & South: Historical Perspectives;
* Migration Processes, Migrant Identities and Citizenship;
* Theories of Local and Global Citizenship;
* Gender, Globalisation and Citizenship;
* Masculinities, Femininities and Citizen Identity Questions;
* Justice, Gender and Citizenship in the Global South;
* Citizenship, Development and Democracy.

Accommodation and Excursions
The workshop will be held in Dakar, Senegal. CODESRIA will provide a stimulating and pleasant environment within which participants can work. The Council will also take care of the air travel, accommodation, living, and local transport expenses of the participants.

Eligibility
The Workshop is open to PhD students registered in Southern universities, i.e., Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 15th of September 2009. An international scientific committee will examine the dossiers of all candidates. Successful applicants will be notified immediately after the completion of the selection process.
.
Additional information about the Extended Workshop can be obtained via:
♦ the CODESRIA web site: http://www.codesria.org/
♦ the SEPHIS web site: http://www.sephis.org/

Applications and requests for more information should be sent to:
Omobolaji Ololade Olarinmoye PhD
CODESRIA/SEPHIS Extended Workshop on Social History
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop, angle Canal IV
B.P. 3304, Dakar, Senegal
Fax: (221) 824 12 89
Tel: (221) 825 98 22/23
E-Mail: extended.workshop@codesria.sn

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

6  (a)  SALON

Salon 219: 10 August 2009

Destruction of cultural heritage should not be left out of the Iraq Inquiry

Leading heritage organisations have called on the Committee of Inquiry looking into the UK’s role in the Iraq war to include cultural heritage in its investigation. A letter signed by representatives of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the British Academy, the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, the Council for British Archaeology, the European Association of Archaeologists, the Institute for Archaeology, International Council of Museums UK, the Museums Association, the Society of Antiquaries and the UK & Ireland Committee of the Blue Shield has been sent to Sir John Chilcot, Chair of the Inquiry, urging the Commission to investigate the damage and loss inflicted on the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad and other museums, libraries and archives, the looting of archaeological sites and the damage to historic monuments that took place during the war and subsequent occupation.

The signatories encourage the Inquiry to look at the extent of provision of cultural property awareness training given to the armed forces and they raise the pressing issue of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999, which the UK, alone of all the major international powers, has yet to ratify.

Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy, said: ‘The Iraq Inquiry must not neglect the damage, destruction and Iooting of Iraq’s archaeological sites and ancient artefacts. In this, as in other matters, it will need to look at the adequacy of plans made in the run-up to the war, the particular problems faced by UK forces in their areas of responsibility in the occupation and post-occupation phases, and the extent to which the UK acted in accord with its existing legal obligations.

Gough’s Cave was one of the first sites inhabited by humans after the last Ice Age

New radiocarbon dates on bones from Gough’s Cave, in Cheddar Gorge, show that ancestors were living there some 14,700 years ago, descendants of populations that survived the Ice Age in refuges in southern France and the Iberian Peninsula. The newly dated bones were excavated in the 1980s, and caused a sensation when it was realised that some of the bones bore cut marks and fractures that suggested cannibalism; ‘the fractures look remarkably like the patterns of breakage you get on the animal bones in the cave, which we have assumed to be for bone marrow extraction’, says our Fellow Roger Jacobi of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project, which has dated the bones, adding that another possible interpretation is that ‘people who died away from the cave had their bones defleshed and broken to make them more portable so that they could be brought back to the cave for deposition’.

According to our Fellow Chris Stringer, the new dates correspond precisely to a period of very rapid climate warming in Europe: ‘this really is right on the cusp of the warming which we can see in Greenland ice cores’, he said, ‘when Europe starts to defrost and the animals move; the humans are right there with them.’

On the basis of the Gough’s Cave evidence, horses formed the main food source. Professor Stringer believes that hunter-gatherers expanded out of southern France following herds of horses across Doggerland, circumventing the large river system in the bed of the English Channel which was blocking the way from France by taking a detour into what is now Belgium and the Netherlands, then moving into eastern Britain across land that is now submerged under the North Sea.

As the previously frozen land became colonised by birch forests, creating a less attractive habitat for horses, human presence becomes harder to detect as they move out of caves and become more scattered across the landscape. North-west Europe was then plunged into the ‘short, sharp shock’ of the Younger Dryas, a cold climate period which seems to extinguish the signal of human occupation altogether until further recolonisation around 12,000 BC.

Locating the lost Roman city of Altinum

Italian archaeologists have produced the first detailed map of the city of Altinum, the once bustling harbour city that was abandoned in AD 452 when the inhabitants sought a refuge from barbarian attack among the more easily defended offshore islands, on which they founded the city of Venice. The ghost-town they left behind was revisited from time to time for building stone and lived on in Venetian folk tales, but memories of its exact location gradually faded as the city disappeared under agricultural fields.

Now a team from Padua University has recovered the detailed layout of the city by piecing together aerial photographs of the fields to the north of Venice airport. Led by Professor Paolo Mozzi, a geomorphologist at the University of Padua, the team took advantage of the particularly dry summer of 2007 when buried walls and canals showed up clearly in crop marks, revealing the outlines of temples, theatres, a basilica, the marketplace and city walls. To the south of the city centre ran a wide canal, probably used to take imports to the inland cities of the Veneto plain and a clear indication that the Roman forebears of the Venetians had already incorporated waterways into their urban fabric.

A detailed map of the city has now been published in the journal Science (and can be seen on the online magazine version, ScienceNow).

Salon 218: 27 July 2009

Berlusconi sex scandal reveals Phoenician necropolis

An unexpected by-product of the current scandal surrounding the Italian prime minister is the remark made in conversations said to have been taped by the call girl Patrizia d’Addario in which Silvio Berlusconi boasts of discovering a necropolis of thirty Phoenician cave-cut tombs on his Villa Certosa estate on Sardinia. Leaving aside the fact that Berlusconi’s private paradise on the Sardinian coast is alleged to have been built in defiance of environmental and heritage laws, the prime minister’s apparent failure to report the discovery to the Ministry of Culture in Rome and the local paramilitary police office in charge of artistic heritage is technically illegal and liable to a fine of up to £2,500 and a year in jail.

Giuseppina Manca di Mores, of Italy’s National Association of Archaeologists, said that his association was calling for ‘an immediate examination because the historical significance of these tombs is vital to the study of the Phoenician civilisation … for years historians have debated whether the nearby town of Olbia was founded by the Greeks or the Phoenicians and these tombs could be the breakthrough needed to provide the answer. Greek artefacts have been discovered already in the area but Phoenician tombs would be a new piece to the puzzle and open up a whole new field of historical research.’

Salon 216: 29 June 2009

Pontcysyllte aqueduct named World Heritage Site; Dresden struck off

The 200-year-old Pontcysyllte aqueduct and canal, built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop between 1795 and 1805, has been designated as the UK’s newest World Heritage Site. The 11-mile canal and aqueduct, located near Llangollen, in Wales, is described as ‘a pioneering masterpiece of engineering and monumental metal architecture’, whose construction ‘required substantial, bold civil engineering solutions, especially as it was built without using locks’.

Also added to the list at the meeting in Seville of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is the Tower of Hercules, the lighthouse which guards the entrance to the harbour of the Galician city of La Coruña, in north-western Spain, built in the first century AD and described as ‘the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity’. The Swiss watch-manufacturing towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle were added as ‘outstanding examples of mono-industrial manufacturing-towns which are well preserved and still active’, as were the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains in eastern France, where brine has been extracted since at least the Middle Ages.

The committee continues to meet until 30 June and further new inscriptions have yet to be announced, but the committee has already taken the unusual step of deleting a site from the World Heritage List. The committee said that Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley had been removed because the building of the four-lane Waldschlösschen road bridge through the heart of the cultural landscape meant that the property had failed to keep its ‘outstanding universal value as inscribed’. The Committee said that Germany could present a new nomination relating to Dresden in the future because the Committee recognised that parts of the site might still be considered to be of outstanding universal value, but that it would have to be presented under different criteria and boundaries.

Dresden is only the second site ever to have been removed from the World Heritage List: Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was delisted in 2007.

6  (b) Prehistoric Society of Zimbabwe

PSZ Newsletter No. 141

Paintings and Petroglyphs in the Bumbusi Ridge Rockshelters, Northwestern Zimbabwe
By Gary Haynes, University of Nevada, Reno

Zimbabwe’s thousands of rock-art sites contain almost exclusively polychrome paintings. A very few sites are known with animal-spoor petroglyphs; most are in Hwange National Park. During excavations at the sites in 2008, numerous painted shapes and animal outlines were also discovered alongside the carvings. Also, some spoor carvings had been painted in shades ranging from dark red to a very light grey-blue. Over 400 carvings (spoor and geometric motifs) and more than 40 painted shapes were recorded. The latter category includes geometric designs, curved lines, parallel lines, and dots. The engraved geometric shapes include cupules, asterisks, heart shapes, and “staple” shapes, among others. The painted shapes and line-combinations are sometimes faint but can be found alongside the much more visible carved and pecked images. The carved and pecked petroglyphs are in places densely packed on boulders, slabs, and near-vertical rock faces. The sites containing the petroglyphs also contain stratified deposits of Later Stone Age lithic technology, abundant charcoal, animal and plant remains, and ostrich eggshell beads. Two of the sites have been dated to 2,300 BP, and at least one contains even older dated materials. The sites were occupied during periods of climatic variability, and the evolution of human economies from hunting-gathering to agropastoralism had its roots in this critical time interval when the engraved spoor and other markings were created.

Officials Thwart King Mswati’s Cultural Visit

A scheduled visit by King Mswati III to Old Bulawayo, touted as Zimbabwe’s first cultural site, was cancelled at the last minute after the government reportedly discovered that the cultural village was in a dilapidated state. Old Bulawayo was the capital of the Ndebele state and was built by King Lobengula who assumed the throne after the death of his father King Mzilikazi. But descendants of the monarch were told by government officials that the trip had been cancelled yesterday morning because of “cultural reasons”. Sources said the officials claimed that in Swazi tradition a king was not supposed to visit a grave or view a corpse. However, this was dismissed by King Lobengula’s descendants who queried why Mswati was visiting Cecil John Rhodes’ grave instead.

Prince Zwidekalanga Khumalo, a descendant of King Lobengula said government would be embarrassed during the tour because the theme park that was officially opened last year by Vice-President Joseph Msika was in “a sorry state”. “The King’s visit to the Old Bulawayo site was cancelled because there was a feeling that the state of the site would not send the right signals in as far as the preservation of our culture is concerned,” Khumalo said. “That place is now dilapidated and its condition is not good at all.”

Sacred Zimbabwe Game Park falls prey to vandals, neglect

Ancient Bushman art peels off rock surfaces and endangered rhinos wander through derelict fences as neglect threatens to rob Zimbabwe’s Matopos game park of its world heritage status. Shillah Nyakudzi, area manager for the 435 square kilometre (168 square mile) park, said. “Matopos has now become porous as people are stealing the fence which is supposed to provide a boundary.”

The mystical Matopos Hills is a revered site where the Shona and Ndebele, Zimbabwe’s two main ethnic groups, have long held religious rituals amid imposing ancient granite rock formations. The San Bushmen also found their home among the precariously balancing boulders and lifelike rock formations weathered by two billion years of erosion, leaving some of the best rock art in Africa. Zimbabwe’s famous settler leader Cecil John Rhodes chose the silent grandeur of the park as his final resting place. It is rhino country, home to the endangered black and white rhino, while some 200 rare black eagles make their home in the craggy rock outcrops.However government neglect due to an ongoing economic and political crisis, community and cattle encroachment, staff shortages, dwindling tourist numbers and a lack of funds have hamstrung the national park.

A new security fence around Matopos — home to 17 black rhinos and 45 white — will cost eight million dollars, she says, bemoaning the lack of funding from both UNESCO and other aid organisations. “Although we were listed as a UNESCO heritage site in 2003 there is nothing we are getting from UNESCO,” Nyakudzi said.

The Matobo Conservation Society noted that all of the Parks in Zimbabwe today are in a state of disrepair and that in many areas, the Matopos is in slightly better condition.  They also commented that the Matopos game park makes up only 435 square kilometres of a 3,000 square kilometre World Heritage Site.  Whereas UNESCO would support research and special projects at Matopos, it is the responsibility of the Government of Zimbabwe to maintain the park.

6  (c) European Association of Archaeologists

Seeking to fill post of General Editor

The European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) seeks a General Editor for the European Journal of Archaeology (EJA), to take up office in September 2010 or as soon as possible thereafter. The vacancy is due to the current General Editor retiring after completing 6 years in post.

The EJA is a refereed journal, currently published three times a year, and produced on the EAA’s behalf by Sage Publications. The editorial work is carried out by the General Editor, assisted by an Editorial Board and an Advisory Board (the latter purely titular in function).  There is a separate position of Reviews Editor.  Sage pays a modest honorarium to the Editor.

The General Editor is an ex officio member of the Executive Board (non-voting), and chairs the Editorial Board.  The Executive Board meets twice a year, once in the early spring and once at the time of the EAA Annual Meeting in September.  The Editorial Board meets at the Annual Meeting and may also meet in the spring, depending on need and cost; most of its work is done by email, however.

All production and distribution work is undertaken by Sage Publications.

The EJA publishes mainly in English (though articles in French and German are also accepted), and the General Editor must be fully competent, preferably fluent – though not necessarily a native speaker – in English.  Applicants who are not native speakers should indicate how they will deal with the issue of language checking and improvement, where necessary.

Please contact the EAA administrator, Sylvie Kvetinova, at eaa@arup.cas.cz for more information.

Gratitude for the organizers of the 15th Annual Meeting

The Executive Board of the EAA wishes to place on record its support for and gratitude to the Italian organisers of the 15th Annual Meeting, due to take place in Riva del Garda from 16-19 September 2009, and to express its full support for the ability, judgement, professionalism and impartiality of the Scientific Committee which has evaluated the session proposals and constructed a full and well-balanced programme.  The EAA Executive Board look forward to seeing members and other colleagues in Riva for an interesting meeting with a great programme in a stunning location, supported by a fully professional organisational team!

Next Issue: October 2009
Shoshaunna Parks and Marisol Rodríguez-Miranda
shoshiparks@hotmail.com; marirodz@gmail.com