Ruins, archaeological and historical, present a special category of monuments that ensue as a result of natural wear and tear, abrupt natural catastrophes, use, abandonment or intentional destruction. Continue reading “Monuments in Ruins, Ruins as Monument Evaluation, Protection, Enhancement & Management” »
Written by Kenneth Aitchison,
Landward Research Ltd & Heritage Management Organization ( email@example.com)
Archaeological remains in Africa are being damaged or destroyed without being adequately investigated, preserved, conserved or understood.
The reasons for this are rooted in a combination of global demand for minerals, rapid urbanization and the pressures of conflict and climate change, compounded by colonial histories, weak legislation, confused cultural attitudes to heritage and lack of investment in archaeological organisations.
We are now in a situation where “… sites that have been destroyed without having received any archaeological impact assessment prior to construction, vastly outnumber the ones that have been assessed and mitigated” (Arazi 2009, 97-98). Many sites are being looted with the ultimate resale value of stolen antiquities on the international art markets far exceeding the amount that is spent on systematic archaeological investigation (Ndoro 1997).
In the last two decades the sector has not kept pace with developing and ongoing threats to archaeological heritage from mineral extraction and infrastructure projects across the continent, together with the threats posed by conflict, looting, climate change and its economic consequences. Opportunities have been lost to create jobs, to add to knowledge and understanding, to stop looting and to protect African heritage for future generations.
The deeply rooted causes mean that these issues can’t be easily resolved, but a first step would be to ensure that people with the right skills, matched to needs, are working to address the pressures on archaeology.
There are Shortages of Professional Archaeologists in Many African Countries
The widely held, axiomatic, view is that there just aren’t enough archaeological experts in Africa to carry out the work needed in projects, both large and small, that are affecting African cultural heritage and landscapes.
And this view –– is relevant, and important, and true – but it is often anecdotal rather than evidence-based. The first step in building capacity is to measure current capacity, getting the evidence that can then be used to identify what is needed and then how to move towards supporting a sustainable workforce.
To protect heritage needs skilled, trained staff, and to set a baseline we first need to know how many archaeologists there are in Africa, and what their capabilities are.
Learning from previous work in Europe (the Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe project, where partners from 21 countries worked together to map professional archaeology in Europe, it would be possible to look at how many people work in archaeology across Africa (in all work situations – academia, private companies, governmental, NGOs), what they do, what their skills, qualifications, ages, genders and cultural backgrounds are, and how archaeology “operates” in each country.
Landward Research Ltd and the Heritage Management Organization are building up a network of partners in Africa who want to share methodologies and results to support African archaeology today and to plan for its development tomorrow, creating opportunities for employment, to contribute to knowledge and for heritage protection.
Knowing about the professionals who identify, interpret, curate and manage the physical remains of the human past allows those professionals to be supported, their needs to be identified and nurtured to lead to better heritage protection in the future.
The value in doing this is not just in counting archaeologists – it is in mapping out the current situation in order to then develop professional capacity that will better protect African cultural heritage. Archaeologists need to understand what is important, why it is important and to be able to explain and use it to tell a story that people will understand and value.
 Landward Research Ltd is a global labour market intelligence, skills development and monitoring & evaluation consultancy. We identify and deliver ways to measure and strengthen the skills, competencies and capabilities of individuals, organisations, professions and communities around the world. We have worked to undertake capacity measurement in professional archaeology for the European Commission, heritage agencies in the UK and the Society for American Archaeology.
 The Heritage Management Organization (HERITAGE) was established in November 2008 with the goal of enabling key heritage managers, through targeted training, to independently transform heritage assets from decaying objects of study to dynamic sources of learning, community identity and economic development.
The Heritage Management Organization trains professionals in the management of heritage sites, independently of project specifics. Training practitioners in the essential skills and best practices which define heritage management is at the heart of the HERITAGE mission.
The Heritage Management Organization is delighted to announce that Dr Kenneth Aitchison is joining the Organization as Head of Capability Mapping.
Kenneth is the Executive Director of Landward Research Ltd, and was formerly Head of Projects and Professional Development at the UK Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Edinburgh in 2012 for his work on three labour market intelligence projects (Profiling the Profession) studying professional archaeology in the UK which he led between 1997-98 and 2007-08. He has also led two pan-European Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe projects, with the Heritage Management Organization participating in the second of these.
He is now working to develop an HMO-led project looking at professional capabilities in archaeology in Africa, thinking about how to use this information to support capacity building for African archaeology. He presented a poster at HerMA 2017 and then spoke at the ICAHM conference in Tanzania, and is currently recruiting partners and participants for that initiative.
The Sklavokampos documentation project is an interdisciplinary project that aims to record the conservation needs of the archaeological site of the Sklavokampos Minoan second order centre as a monument. This project was a part of the Three Peak Sanctuaries project of the University of Kent and the Heritage Management Organization which aims to document and study three Minoan peak sanctuaries of the Malevyzi area which define the greater area around the plateau of Sklavokampos both in antiquity and in its current social setting. The Sklavokampos documentation project is essential for the greater integration of this particular site into the current and future social, cultural and economic networks of the area. As such the Sklavokampos documentation project begun with ethnographic, bibliographical and archival work to determine the important values of the site of Sklavokampos Minoan second order centre and its environs. It is these values that have to be documented and protected and as such both the tangible fabric and the intangible values of the site form essential parts of this project.
In parallel with the documentation of the tangible constituents of the Sklavokampos Villa, an effort has been made for the documentation and preservation of the intangible values of the monument. Values such as the archaeological and physical man-made evidence as well as the non-archaeological evidence. We designed our project as a ‘conservation program’ that is not merely about the materials for the material’s sake, but it should help preserve the materials because, they are the basis on which important values are predicated. The materials should be preserved, so as to help us preserve the values based on them. Within this context we propose a series of actions aiming to the enhancement of all the values the archaeological site that include education and training programs both for visitors as well as locals for the preservation of these intangible values.
This is a first such effort to combine the tangible with the intangible in the same documentation project and as a result this project has recommendations for both. We firmly believe that this is the only way we can document conservation needs, since the word ‘conservation’ should not only include the tangible but also the much richer ‘intangible’.
The tangible heritage documentation’s initial stage included the deforestation of the site and the surrounding slopes. That way the complete photogrammetric documentation of the site was made possible. This work was the foundation on which the orthophoto maps, the master plan and all of the walls of the monument were created. The processed draws that were created from the photogrammetric plans, were used as the foundation on which all the documentation of the building elements was materialized regarding their categorization and their current state of preservation. Those plans were used also for the precalculation of all the surfaces of the monument that have to be restored.
After the macroscopic observation, identification and characterization of the building elements and the restoration materials, samples were acquired from the local stone formations outside the perimeter of the site. All the samples were analyzed regarding the mineralogical and chemical composition, through X-ray diffraction, petrographic microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, micro Raman and FTIR spectroscopies. The elemental and stoichiometric analysis was performed through the energy dispersing spectroscopy coupled with the SEM microscope. All the analyses mentioned above were performed at the labs of the Dept. of Chemistry, UoC. At the same time, samples of all the biological specimens (biological encrustations and growths) present on the building and architectural elements of the monument were acquired. The biological species were identified and characterized after the analysis of the specimens under the stereoscope, in the labs of the Dept. of Biology, UoC. During this stage it was made possible to connect the presence of the mineral whewellite (calcium oxalate monohydrate) that was documented on the surface of the stone building elements of Sklavokampos through the Raman spectroscopic analysis, with the presence of Aspicilia calcarea which is the dominant biological encrustation present on site.
Furthermore, with all the analytical information at hand, the damage assessment study was materialized and all the weathering forms were documented. Regarding the damage assessment evaluation, a series of experiments a was designed in collaboration with the Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry lab of the Dept. of Chemical engineering of the Polytechnic School of Patras. The aim of this project is to measure the solubility rates of the local Tripolis zone type limestone, from which the monument is built of. For this
purpose several local stone underwent an artificial ageing process (dissolution) in a batch type reactor using the constant composition technique (CCT) in order to study the dissolution kinetics in variable saturation conditions. Through those experiments it has been made possible to determine the deterioration rates of the building stones of the monument that result to the characteristic karst effect formations on their surfaces. The results of this work are representative for this specific type of rock and constitute an important value of mineralogical significance connecting this aspect of the geological heritage of the area of the St. Anna gorge and the Gonies plateau with their archaeological heritage.
This work will be published in the near future within the context of a case study regarding the assessment of weathering process related to the karst effect and the Sklavokampos site.
As regards to the restoration materials and applications, samples from the local soil were collected and analyzed in order to measure the mechanical and chemical properties of this material and therefore to determine if it is efficient in order to be used as a restoration mortar for the walls of the monument. This specific type of mortar is proposed based on its exceptional performance in the archaeological site of Tylissos were it has been applied for the same purpose. The analyses of the soil samples were performed by GeoTerra Ltd as well as in the analytical chemistry and X-ray diffraction labs of the Dept. of Chemistry, UoC. All the testing and evaluation of the materials, compositions and methodologies for the restoration and preservation of the stone elements of the monument have been completed.
Although we are not entirely satisfied with the results in the way in which the values of heritage are documented homogeneously throughout this study, this has been a first effort to do so and in such we consider this study a pioneer for the future. We are grateful to the Kaplan Foundation and to the Institute for Aegean Prehistory without the help of whom we would not be able to conduct such a study.
The Heritage Management Organization’s mission supports the interests of professional development cultural institutions in Athens and abroad. The HMO hosted the Temporary Exhibitions workshop as part of its Executive Leadership series of workshops and seminars in November 2015 at the Benaki Museum in central Athens. Two of the MA students attended the workshop; here are some reflections.
Continue reading “Reflections on the Temporary Exhibition Workshop” »
From September until December 2013, an Archaeology graduate from Portugal joined the ranks of IHC and worked on a variety of projects including the Climate Change and the Monuments Project (which she also attended), the coordination of postgraduate students with the initiative and the planning of a Spring tour programme within the MA in Heritage Management, aimed at visiting heritage sites around Greece. In less than three months she accomplished a great deal and proved to be an invaluable ally to our initiative. Meet Sofia Lovegrove:
Tell us about yourself and your past experience:
I’m 22 years old and I did my undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the New University of Lisbon, Portugal. Before coming to Greece, I was (and in some cases, still am) involved in various excavations and research projects related to Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Portugal, Morocco and the UK.
What makes you passionate about heritage management?
One of the things I am most passionate about is learning, especially about humans – our past, our present, what makes us human, about our different cultures, people and places, our biological evolution, and even the ways of functioning as biological and social beings. Thus I decided I wanted to become a researcher in Archaeology. I hope to one day be able to carry out my own projects and research and share the my discoveries with as many people as I can.
I believe that sharing is one of the most important tasks of the humanities research, since what we are studying and what we discover belongs to everyone – it is our heritage, our collective human experience. Heritage Management is the subject which encompasses all of the Cultural Heritage related subjects (History, Archaeology, Anthropology, etc.) by teaching us exactly how we can manage all the many features of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and how we can share this heritage with the general public. I am naturally inclined to be interested in these subjects since I wish to work in this field and be involved in Public Archaeology projects.
Tell us about your job or your studies before you come here:
Before participating in the internship at the IHC, I had completed an undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, as well as a first year of the MA in Archaeology. After a year, I quit that MA, finding that it was ultimately not fulfilling my goals and expectations. I decided to do a gap year in order to have new and enriching experiences related to Archaeology and Heritage, as well as completely unrelated ones, such as doing a Digital Photography Course and being involved in social work.
What are you doing at the moment?
Since I came back to Portugal at the beginning of 2014, I have been working as a translator for CHAIA, an Art History research center of the University of Évora in Portugal. I did a three-month digital photography course at the Portuguese Institute of Photography from February until April. During the last few weeks of April and part of May, I stayed in York in the UK where I was working as a finds processing supervisor at an archaeological excavation with the University of York. Since the start of 2014, I have become involved voluntarily in several organizations such as Refood – a social charity aimed at supplying people in need in Lisbon with food that would otherwise be wasted in restaurants and supermarkets – and CISV – an organization that aims at building global friendship mainly through children and teenagers. I, also, traveled to Norway for a month in July as a leader of one of CISV’s International Village programs, with 11-year-old kids from all over the world.
What did IHC offer to you?
My experience in IHC was invaluable on many different levels. Not only did it lead me to develop very practical time management, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and communication skills, but above all, it allowed me to develop crucial personal and social skills in an extremely multicultural environment. During my time at IHC, I learned a lot about different cultures and countries such as Japan, Malawi, Croatia and Ukraine amongst many others. Because I was in such an environment from what I was used to, I was able to learn a lot about myself and to develop as a conscious and open-minded citizen of the global world; one that I am very happy to be a part of. Not only did I get the opportunity to create lasting friendships with such an international group of students, but the internship allowed me time to discover and appreciate the amazing country and culture of Greece.
What does IHC do for the world?
With its many different national and international projects – including the MA in Heritage Management, its various workshops and courses, activities which engage the general public, amongst many others –, partnerships – such as with the University of Kent, the Athens University of Economics and Business, ICCROM, etc. – and by involving many specialists and institutions from many countries around the world, the IHC aims at sharing its ideals and practices related to the correct protection and conservation of Cultural Heritage Management with the largest number of people and institutions as possible. In practice, it has done so and is continues to do so through its MA in Heritage Management, many international courses such as the one I helped organize on Climate Change and its effects on the monuments, amongst many others. As it did with me, it is helping people become more conscious of the importance of our common Human Heritage.
Sofia Lovegrove is now coming to the end of an enriching gap year full of good experiences, one of which an internship at IHC. She will now be starting her MA in Historical Archaeology at the University of York in September 2014.
A warm welcome to the new HERMA student blog editor for 2014-2015, Carmen Granito. Joining Brittany Wade from the 2013-2014 cohort, Carmen will be accepting submissions from her classmates on any experience concerning the masters or heritage management in general, for example:
• a visit to a museum, a site, a monument, a cultural experience, etc.
• a conference or a lecture you have attended
• students’ social activities
• interviews with important guests of IHC‐HERMA (or other experts in the field)
• your Field Study Project and its development
A little about Carmen…
I am from Napoli (Italy), I have a BA in Philosophy and Communication and an MA in Semiotics. I have been in research for a couple of years, focussing on cognition, language and communication. I have worked in journalism, communications and art publishing. I am interested in the promotion of little known, off the beaten path heritage sites, and in audience engagement. I love detective stories, photography, travels, and wine.