Tag Archives: UNESCO

Video Netcast: Past Horizons Magazine, Heritage Travel Community, Smithsonian 2.0

(Note: Preservation Today was a previous iteration of “Voices of the Past”)

Stories this time:

The March edition of Past Horizons Magazine is now out. The magazine features articles on field school opportunities and how to make archeology accessible to the disabled. According to its publishers, the goal of Past Horizons is to give everyone a voice in heritage.  In addition to the magazine, Past Horizons Heritage Media features a blog on archeological discovery and a YouTube-style video sharing service. Past Horizons is based in Scotland.

The U.S.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation is developing a new online community (now defunct).  According to the Trust, this new community is designed to ignite interest in places rich with heritage, history and culture. The site will allow participants to interact around the heritage of town’s and cities, allowing vacationers to quote Travel With Purpose. The Trust is now holding a pre-launch recognition program that offers special benefits to those who sign up for the site now. Participants will have the opportunity to share travel experiences through reviews and ratings and photographs. The community will be a part of the National Trust’s subsidiary, Heritage Travel Incorporated.

The Trust is also using Facebook to raise funds for its rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast. Facebook’s new marketplace feature is launching an initiative called “Celebrities Selling for a Cause.” Actress Jennifer Coolidge is selling a custom-made dress she wore when starring in the film Legally Blonde 2 and donating the proceeds to benefit the National Trust’s “Rebuilding New Orleans” project. You don’t have to be a celebrity to participate. Anyone can buy an item or sell one on behalf of the National Trust and all the proceeds will go toward our efforts along the Gulf Coast.

The Smithsonian Institution recently held a two-day gathering exploring how to make the organization’s collections, educational resources, and staff more accessible, engaging, and useful in the digital age. The event, called Smithsonian 2.0, brought together professionals from the web and new media world to meet with Smithsonian staff members. Together, they worked to envision generate what a digital Smithsonian might be like in the years ahead. Speakers included representatives from Facebook, Myspace and Microsoft. Professionals in the museum field are welcoming the Smithsonian’s interest in social media. The event was the brianchild of G. Wayne Clough, who became the Smithsonian’s new secretary in July. According to Clough, the Smithsonian intends to aggressively pursue a participatory web-based presence following the conference.

The UNESCO office in Lima, Peru is seeking international specialists to aid in the development of heritage site management plans for the Pachacamac archeological complex and the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana. The heritage plans would include establishing priorities for halting site deterioration, reviving building and land use techniques, and raising community awareness about the historical and cultural meaning and importance of both sites. The project is being conducted in agreement with the National Institute of Culture of Peru.

The Obama administration recently unveiled the new Whitehouse.gov website. According to Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House, the new site is being built on the social media principles of communication, transparency and participation. Among the site features so far are a blog, a comment form and a briefing room. Obama, who currently has four and a half million Facebook friends, used social media extensively during his campaign for the presidency.

And finally, Preservation Today now has its own Friendfeed room. The room will allow fast-paced discussions on the latest in heritage preservation. Sign-up is quick, easy and free.


All you have to do is visit our shownotes site at preservation today dot com and click the “News Stream” link at the top of the page.

Major cultural sites caught in crossfire of Georgian conflict

Reports are beginning to hit the net about heritage sites that have been damaged or destroyed in the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Here is a rundown of a few of the items being discussed:

In his post Fog of war obscures state of cultural heritage sites in Georgia, Tom Flynn of the artknows blog, recounts what’s at stake–including three sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and fifteen more on the Tentative List. He references the ICOMOS, (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), website, which states “the entire cultural heritage of Georgia is endangered,” and recounts a preliminary report prepared by ICOMOS Georgia  regarding the shelling of a sixth-century Ateni Sioni Church, where affiliated professionals were working. Casualties in the heritage preservation field are being reported as well. Among the points Flynn presents in his long investigative piece:

  • Approximately 345 registered historical monuments and archaeological sites are located within the main conflict zones
  • The ICOMOS draft reports concern over news of rockets being fired into the Uphlistsikhe rock-cut city (5th-century BC-7th century), a site on the World Heritage Tentative List
  • Reports of looting of the 11th-century Samtavisi Cathedral (another candidate for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List)
  • The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) has issued a ‘Watch List’ of “Georgian museums in uncertain conditions situated in regions occupied by the Russian Army.
  • The villages of Tamarasheni and Qurta were destroyed and possibly the buildings of the museums as well

Meanwhile, the Russian non-governmental news agency Interfax, based in Moscow, reports that Georgian fire destroyed many cultural monuments in South Ossetia. Among the monuments in question were 19th century cathedrals and architectural memorials dating to the eighth and ninth centuries. The article quotes Alexander Kibovsky, head of Federal Service for law observance supervision in the field of protection of cultural heritage as saying:

“When Georgian forces intruded to South Ossetia all mentioned monuments were destroyed or suffered a great loss because of their barbarian operations.”

The impact of the war on a team of archaeologists from the University of Winchester’s Department of Archaeology is discussed in the post Archaeological excavation affected by war in Georgia from the BAJR Blog. The team was on an expedition with Georgian colleagues to excavate a rural site shortly before the hostilities began. All of the British team, which included 10 students from universities across the UK and seven experienced archaeological and specialist staff, were able to return home the day before the conflict began. The University of Winchester had been forging ties with the Georgian Archaeology Commission to strengthen archaeology courses at Georgian universities. The expedition’s co-director, Dr. Paul Everill is quoted as saying:

“We are an expedition of archaeologists and historians, but we all share a love of Georgia, its culture and its people. We hope to find some way of raising whatever funds we can to eventually help the country rebuild.”

Related Links:

Risk of Destruction from Historic Sites in Georgia-The Cultural Property Law Blog

Georgia on My Mind-Cultural Property Observer

Georgia, Eredvi village, near South Ossetia-YouTube iReport video

ateni sioni photo by perret.rukhadze on Flickr