Photo of the Week

Local resident and artisan Ivan de la Cruz, a master in gourd carving and etching teaches students at the new SPI-supported artisan training center near Pampas Gramalote, Peru. The sale of carved and decorated gourds will create sustainable income for the community.

How Do We Preserve the World’s Smaller Cultural Heritage Sites? Notes from the “Unlisted” Conference

With large stone busts looking on in the Palazzo Mattei in Rome, Italy, a diverse panel of experts convened last weekend to discuss how to preserve the world’s smaller, lesser-known cultural heritage sites. The conference’s title, “Unlisted,” was indicative of these places that have not been given official world heritage status by UNESCO, yet are still essential to preserve.

David Nelson Gimbel, founder and Director of Archaeos, Inc., in particular stressed the importance of preserving cultural diversity: “Even if we don’t like a culture, we need to preserve it because in the end, it makes us all better,” he said. How can we preserve these sites? What is the best way to go about it? Other speakers, from fields as diverse as business, law, academia, and technology, addressed the issue with a variety of ideas and anecdotes.

“It’s all in the packaging,” said Darius Arya, Executive Director of the American Institute for Roman Culture, emphasizing the need for presenting information through the preferred medium of this generation: social media. “I want to make cultural heritage cool,” Arya said. “If you can tell a good story, you can engage the public through the same imagery, video, and articles that the media and alarmed experts and their organizations are using,” he added.

Ben Lee, Classics Professor at Oberlin College, and Joshua Neckes, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Group Commerce, Inc., presented their ideas for how to bring together e-commerce firms—experts in disseminating culture—with experts of culture and cultural history. “Cultural knowledge and heritage brings legitimacy and meaning to our lives,” they said, “and it’s to a business’s advantage to invest in it.” Both businesses and cultural heritage can benefit from such a relationship and Lee and Neckes emphasized the importance of leveraging dominant media to bring about this enriching arrangement.

Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of Stefano Baia Curioni of Bocconi University in Milan. His frustration with the way the less-frequented cultural heritage sites in Italy are managed was palpable: “the asymmetrical distribution of visitors and revenues has concentrated the investments in the development of auxiliary services on important cultural centers, leaving most archaeological sites a marginal role in this process,” he said. How to fix it? “There must be multiple stakeholders in a site,” he emphasized. In other words, the local community and government and visitors all have to care, an idea that we here at SPI fully embrace.

The endings to the stories of many of these “unlisted” archaeological sites have yet to be written. Yet, the story itself, the medium through which it is told, and who must be connected and engaged in it were all points of emphasis throughout the conference. And emphasized they must be for such sites to be preserved for future generations to study and enjoy.

"Unlisted" Conference presenters in the Palazzo Mattei.

Thank you to Darius Arya for assembling such a variety of perspectives and hosting a fruitful discussion!

Photo of the Week

Archaeological site of the Villa dei Quintili (The Emperor Commodus murdered the Quintili brothers in the second century AD to gain possession of this extensive villa) in Rome, Italy. Its preservation and maintenance was discussed on site during the 2012 Unlisted Conference this weekend.

Live Tweeting Friday from “Unlisted”: A Conference on Preserving Cultural Heritage Sites NOT listed by UNESCO

Preserving smaller, lesser-known cultural heritage sites that do NOT have the benefit of UNESCO’s world heritage status. This is the focus of the second annual “Unlisted” Conference taking place this weekend in Rome, Italy. Hosted by the American Institute for Roman Culture and the Italian Ministry of Culture, the conference brings together cultural heritage and archaeology experts from around the globe to discuss new and innovative ways to preserve such endangered archaeological sites.

Friday, March 23rd, will feature presentations and roundtable discussions and Saturday, March 24th, a guided visit to the  Villa of the Quintilii and the bath complex at Capo di Bove. As a ground-breaking and driving force in the preservation of these smaller and lesser-known sites, SPI looks forward to contributing to and learning from the dialogue!

We will be live tweeting from the event both Friday and Saturday, so make sure to follow us @SPInitiatve and #UNLST2012 for updates!

The event will also be live-streaming from 9:30am – 12:30pm EST Friday, March 23rd. Click here for more details.

Via the American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC): Please take a look at Dr. Bernard Frischer’s plea and i-petition to protect Villa Adriana. Located in Tivoli, Italy, this endangered archaeological site (the creation of a massive landfill a few hundred meters away threatens the site) was once the sprawling villa of the second-century Roman emperor Hadrian.

American Institute for Roman Culture

We are proud to publish Professor Bernard Frischer‘s op-ed piece on Protecting Hadrian’s Villa, an i-petition created by Frischer and sponsored by the American Institute for Roman Culture.  In less than a week, we have generated more than 2000 signatures, and are at 3650 signatures and counting.

 Hadrian’s Villa, the UNESCO World Heritage site near Tivoli is at risk. Here’s the background.

Rome has long used a garbage dump at a place called Malagrotta. In June 2011, the EU Commission ordered Malagrotta closed because of various violations of EU environmental regulations. Since then the Region of Lazio (the governmental unit in charge of Rome’s waste disposal) has been trying to find a new site. In September 2011, just two months before it fell from power, the Berlusconi government appointed Prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro to be Extraordinary Commissioner of Waste Disposal for Lazio with special powers to confront the emergency…

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Photo of the Week

A student from the School of Arts (left) interviews young students of the pottery workshop. Educators aim to insert the Mochica pottery workshop into the curriculum of local schools at primary and secondary levels. The main objective in this case is to generate educational workshops that will focus on the cultural history of the town and region in order to increase local awareness of the cultural heritage of the area.

Check out our most recent update from the endangered archaeological site of San Jose de Moro, Peru here.

8 Professors and Archaeologists Visit, Interview, and Train at San Jose de Moro, Peru!

Below, an update from Solsire Cusicanqui, our director at the endangered archaeological site of San Jose de Moro, Peru.

San  Jose de Moro Archaeological Program (PASJM) and Sustainable Preservation  Initiative (SPI) have established an agreement with the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) to work in social development projects associated with archaeological sites. The main objective is to make an umbrella development project with people living around an archaeological site in danger. This project emerges from the need to create an interdisciplinary work model appropriate to the context of the Peruvian coast.

In a context like this, where you can easily find many modern settlements on or near archaeological sites, it is imperative to formulate proposals for a mutually beneficial coexistence.

Recently, a working group, consisting of two professors from the Faculty of Arts, two professors from the Faculty of Education, a professor from the Faculty of Architecture, two archaeologists from the Archaeological Program of San Jose de Moro, and the Sustainable Preservation Initiative representative in Peru, congregated for a 5-day long visit to the archaeological site.

This visit had the following objectives:

• Visits to local institutions among the community such a group of mothers, local government representatives, members of the community.

• Meeting with the principals from the local schools (primary, primary, secondary) at the settlement of San José de Moro.

• Visual and written information survey including photographs and videos to record the interviews.

• Visit to the workshops of local producers to get to know the workshops and the environment in which they operate and the final product offered by artisans.

• Train local craftsmen in the use of economic tools and product improvement, in order to increase the quality standards and the value of what they offer.

• Create public spaces that include a relationship with the Moche culture (iconography, colors).

• Implementation of activities to increase local awareness about the potential of the site.

• The application of the above strategies and programs as a model that can be replicated in other communities.

 The working group achieved all objectives, with emphasis on working with the craftsmen, especially the students from the pottery workshop. Also, members of the team had several meetings with the authorities and the Mayor of Chepén and Pacanga.

Check out our photo gallery and slide show below!

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