The 2016 ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Archaeological Heritage Management Conference will be held in Salalah, Sultanate of Oman May 2-5, 2016. Co-Sponsored by ICOMOS Oman, this conference will capitalize on the work done at the International Conference on Archaeological Parks and Sites held in Salalah in 2015.
Salalah was once a major node in the frankincense trade, and stands close to the Land of Frankincense World Heritage Site. This large, dispersed property highlighted the central theme of the 2015 conference – managing archaeological sites as parks and the tension between protecting integrity and public access.
An archaeological site inscribed on the World Heritage List and opened to the public becomes a park, which is here defined as a protected area set aside for public enjoyment and education. Making a site a park forms the basis for protecting its scientific and historical values. It also, however, creates a threat to those values, because public use of the park can lead to potentially damaging development. The overwhelming majority of archaeological sites in the world are not open to the public; in fact, in most countries, the locations of archaeological sites are not revealed to the public. There are also World Heritage Sites under the management of traditional owners that contain archaeological resources in places to which the public is not allowed, for example, in Kuk in New Guinea, Uluru-Kata Tjuta in Australia, and some of the islands in the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon in Palau. These are the exceptions that do not become archaeological parks, in contrast to the sites that are explicitly recognized as archaeological, archaeological landscapes, and even cultural landscapes that are on the World Heritage List or on Tentative Lists.
A park can do more than simply protect the resources within it. Frederick Law Olmsted, a pioneer in landscape architecture, extolled parks as places where democratic ideals were nurtured, in that they allow people from all backgrounds to mingle and form connections by means of their shared experience and appreciation of nature and park amenities. In the United States, with a well-established system of parks, the influence of the system goes far beyond park boundaries. For example, the monitoring of air quality at Yosemite National Park in California provided an incentive to heighten air quality standards in Los Angeles. Further, the park system provides consultation, planning assistance, and sometimes technical support to areas that have become related to the system, such as National Heritage Areas, National Landmarks, and river and trails systems. Other park programs provide documentation of historic buildings and notable engineering accomplishments, grants for land and water conservation, and the preservation of historic structures-all of these at places that are outside of the formal National Parks system. Read the Salalah recommendation here.
Other themes of the 2016 Conference will include the economics of World Heritage development, public valuation, and management; preserving archaeological remains in conflict areas; remote sensing applications in management contexts; underwater archaeology; expanding the educational role of archaeological parks; and several salient topics in Middle Eastern and East African archaeology. See the abstract submission page for details.
ICAHM’s Paper and Poster Selection Committee (fully independent of the Organizers) will choose the talks and posters to be presented, seeking a balance in geographical and thematic coverage. Proposals to speak about disputes already resolved or having received extended treatment will not be accepted. Rather, ICAHM seeks fresh perspectives on emergent problems of interest to the worldwide public attending this annual meeting and representing the global range of countries. ICAHM will publish selected papers from this annual meeting in its publication series with Springer Press,“Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Archaeological Heritage Management”.
ICAHM sincerely and warmly thanks ICOMOS Oman andOffice of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs as our co-sponsors for this event.