This theme explores the possibilities and problems that arise when archaeology meets business within a global economy. Archaeology has increasingly become a commercial arena, whether for developers, consulting companies, individual entrepreneurs, or multinational enterprises. Rescue archaeology and related activities, archaeological/heritage tourism, museums, eco-museums, heritage exhibits/theme parks, archaeological parks, etc. all have the potential to have profound economic effects. From these, one can define an “industry sector” that generates revenue, profits, jobs and occasionally goodwill from the “asset base” of archaeology and heritage. Each of these commercial realms presents issues typical of any business subject: management, strategic planning, personnel management, regulatory compliance, operations efficiency or best practices, government relations, board management, financing options, sustainability, public relations, etc.
Due to the rise of commercial archaeology, many archaeologists are now employed by private companies. They are frequently working in contexts where archaeological interests meet those of developers and mutual accommodation can be complex owing to opposed or at least divergent agendas. In recent years, a number of prominent cases concerning conflicting interests and successful collaboration between archaeologists and large corporations have attracted attention and debate. This theme explores the different agendas of archaeology and business, their respective value-systems and ethical challenges, the risks and opportunities of compromise, and the tactics and strategies of successfully working together.
The theme was put together out of a conviction that archaeology and business will increasingly find themselves sitting at the same table. Both have more to gain than to lose from exploring their differences and locating areas of mutual interest, thus allowing co-operation and creating sustainable development. The theme encourages global perspectives and invites particular sessions and papers that discuss relevant topics in underprivileged parts of the world the global South.
Mining and World Heritage Sites and Landscapes
There is an increasing number of World Heritage Sites at risk of mining or modern development encroachment. A significant number of sites are found in Africa and much of the developing world.
While affected landscapes may be regarded as heritage at risk, these projects are in their nascent stages. Stakeholders have the opportunity to make well-informed decisions by committing to preserving heritage and safeguarding livelihoods of local people and the developing world’s long-term sustainability.
A wide range of conservation measures have been suggested or implemented to minimize threats to Outstanding Universal Values (OUVs). The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Sustainable Development Framework (2003) has committed member companies to submit legally designated protected areas, and not to explore or mine in World Heritage properties. The framework further stipulates that existing operations in or adjacent to World Heritage properties are not incompatible with the OUVs. Therefore if conducted within a compliance framework heritage and development can co-exist.
We welcome submissions discussing experiences of mining’s impact and related forms of development on, near or adjacent to World Heritage sites, papers detailing views of indigenous and other communities affected and potential cultural losses, and papers analyzing appropriate government policies.
Archaeology and business: opportunity or challenge?
This session explores the many opportunities and problems that arise when archaeology meets business in the global economy. In recent years, a number of prominent cases concerning conflicting interests between archaeologists and large corporations have attracted considerable attention and debate. We will discuss the different agendas of archaeology and business, their respective value-systems and the risk and potential of working together, including social, ethical and political challenges. The session was put together out of a conviction that archaeology and business will increasingly find themselves sitting at the same table. Both have more to gain than to lose from exploring their differences and locating areas of mutual interest, thus allowing co-operation and supporting sustainable development. The session encourages global perspectives and we invite in particular papers that critically discuss relevant issues and examples in the Global South.
Innovations in archaeological finance
Local economies around the world, from Michigan to Madrid, are distressed and looking for answers … answers that will produce growth, access to capital, and jobs, jobs, jobs. Could it be that the best way to find the next emerging asset class is to look beneath the ground? Over the past decade, efforts have been made to engage local communities in appropriately valuing their cultural assets to increase the potential for development and growth. At the same time, a new generation of social entrepreneurs and financiers is demonstrating that investments that were once thought to be unprofitable or risky, may actually be structured to generate financial returns and social impact simultaneously, spurring real economic growth that creates sustainable prosperity.
For the past five years, the Milken Institute has explored both the ability to use finance to preserve cultural heritage and the best structure for investments to support community development more broadly. Within this context, panelists will discuss trends in archaeological finance, including innovative partnerships, impact investment vehicles, and novel blends of public, private and philanthropic capital, which have the potential to support preservation and economic growth while also providing the returns investors seek.
Socially sustainable development
Throughout the world, cultural heritage is at risk, due to the pressures of development, population increases and urban growth. However, we lack much of the basic data and essential tools needed to address the ‘big picture’ challenges of heritage and development. We have not yet identified the most valuable ways of growing a workforce around cultural heritage, or of building heritage capacity. We do not have the tools to evaluate the social and economic consequences of a loss of cultural heritage. Throughout the world, we are facing an irreversible loss of cultural heritage, without the data to understand what this might mean, not only in terms of lost pasts but also in terms of lost futures.
This session will present case studies on ways to move forward. It will focus on how cultural heritage can be used to generate jobs, create a sense of connection between people, promote cross-cultural understandings, and contribute to social inclusion and wellbeing. It will present examples of new thinking around cultural landscapes, development and communities; finding a balance between conservation and development; and using cultural heritage to sustain communities, especially in remote regions.