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Archaeological Site Management

Reconstruction drawing of Merv, Turkmenistan

Archaeological resource management in contemporary society

MSK028 Canal trench South wall sequence.

Conservation and management of archaeological sites is a key research area at the Institute of Archaeology and many staff are associated with the activity through active field projects and research links. Similarly there is a strong cohort of doctoral research underway in the Institute.

The conservation and management of archaeological sites is a crucial aspect of modern archaeological research. No field project stands outside a consideration of how the archaeological resource is to be used in contemporary society, and issues of physical and intellectual access are primary. The balance between current and future uses, often complicated by political, social and economic considerations, and notions of ‘sustainability’, form a vital part of decision-making around any archaeological project.

Facing north, the earliest brick layers of the canal walls.

The theory and practice of archaeological site management encompasses the reasons for selecting sites for preservation and/or display, participatory planning, power in decision-making, approaches to managing and conserving a site's significance, preventative conservation, technical approaches to site conservation, interpretation strategies, sustainable tourism, etc.

The Institute is responsible for developing critical research in this field, with considerable impacts upon the development of the discipline.


Related outputs

Publications

Tim Williams is Editor-in-chief of international peer review journal Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites. This has a wider research impact, especially through the selection of thematic issues: recent themes have been Archaeology & Conflict and Maritime heritage; and forthcoming issues include Archaeological resource management in China; Approaches to site management in Sub-Saharan Africa; and the Preservation in-situ conference proceedings (Copenhagen).

  • 2010 Melaka and World Heritage Status, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 12(3), 197–208
  • 2008 (with Nicholas Stanley-Price and Gaetano Palumbo) Managing archaeological sites and landscapes, Archaeology International 2007/8 (11)
  • 2007 Niuheliang, Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China: strategies for the management of a complex cultural landscape. In Pomeroy-Kellinger, M., Scott, I. (eds.) Recent developments in research and management at World Heritage Sites. Oxford Archaeology Occasional Paper 16 series. Oxford: Oxford Archaeology, 55-64
  • 2006 (with Sjoerd van der Linde ) Archaeological site management: theory, strategies and implementation for the archaeological landscapes of Jericho, in Nigro, L & Taha, H (eds) Tell-es Sultan/Jericho in the context of the Jordan Valley: site management, conservation and sustainable development. Rome: La Sapienze expeditions to Palestine & Jordan: 111-144
  • 2006 The current situation of Cultural Resource Management in the UK, in The World of Cultural Heritage, Japan: 22, 4-7
International agencies and projects
  • Chair of the International Standards Board of The International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM): advises ICOMOS and the World Heritage Committee on matters that pertain to all aspects of the management of archaeological sites and landscapes. Comment on significant international policy development (for example, wrote the response to the recent ‘The Valletta Principles for the Safeguarding and Management of Historic Cities, Towns and Urban Areas’).
  • Member of the academic advisory panel for Poverty Point State Park, Louisiana, USA: advice regarding the management and presentation of this complex landscape, in support of World Heritage nomination.
  • Surkhet valley, western Nepal: Assisting the Department of Archaeology, Nepal, in developing approaches to the exploration and management of this complex landscape. Developing policy issues regarding development of cultural heritage tourism to the neglected western Nepal region.
  • Global Heritage Fund: Saving Our Vanishing Heritage. Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites in the Developing World. Member of the editorial board for this piece of international advocacy. With a focus on the developing world the project aimed to:

    • raise critically needed global awareness
    • identify innovative technologies and solutions
    • increase funding through private-public partnerships

The project has attracted significant international media attention. See further information here»

  • ICOMOS World Heritage Panel: advisor on new World Heritage submissions.
Relevant doctoral research

Completed since 2007:

  • Louise Cooke (2008): Earthen architecture conservation
  • Georgios Alexopoulos (2010): Reconciling living religious heritage with value-based management: The case of Mount Athos, Greece
  • Kimberley Te Winkle (2010): Monuments and Voices: cultural resource management in Tibetan Sichuan
  • Ruth Scheidhauer (2011): Cultural heritage interpretation and policy in Kaesong: The possibilities for Inter-Korean rapprochement through shared cultural heritage

Current:

  • Dean Sully Conserving culture in the historic environment (second supervisor Beverley Butler)
  • Anna Maria Rossi Making Archaeology Abroad. A postcolonial perspective in Malta (second supervisor Dean Sully)
  • Rui Pang Towards sustainable cultural heritage management in China: an evaluation of systems based on current theory & practice in Han City of Chang'an (second supervisor Tim Schadla-Hall)
  • Gaigysyz Jorayev A comparative study of the roles of tradition and heritage in Post-Soviet Central Asian nation-building (second supervisor Ulrike Sommer)
  • Adi Keinan Cultural heritage management and the role of archaeological inventories in the Israel-Palestinian conflict (joint supervision with Andrew Bevan)
  • Alia Wallace Integrating presentation into holistic site management: a case-study from the Vesuvian region of Italy (second supervisor Theano Moussouri)
  • Bai Lu Approaches to the conservation of earthen archaeology in China: the design of sustainable shelters and conservation strategies. A case study from Jinsha Archaeological Sites (second supervisor Dean Sully)
  • Hana Koriech Power relations and narratives in the archaeological discipline: how they influence the development of large regional networks. Case studies New York & London (second supervisor Dominic Perring)
  • Hwa Jong Lee Archaeological resource management: developing a holistic model for the management of buried archaeological sites in South Korea (second supervisor Joe Flatman)
  • Katarzyna Bronk-Zaborowska GIS approaches to cultural heritage management: a case study from Poland (principal supervisor Mark Lake)
  • Niki Savvides Visitor experience and sustainable management of heavily visited sites: the case study of Herculaneum (joint second supervisor with Dean Sully, principal supervisor Kathy Tubb)
  • Peter Gould The impact of institutional features on the capacity of community archaeology projects to foster economic development (principal supervisor Tim Schadla-Hall)
Teaching - curriculum development

Assistance is provided in the development of heritage management courses (building on the expertise and research undertaken at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL) in a number of (mainly) developing countries. In the past three years Tim Williams has assisted in developing courses at: Birzeit University (Palestine), NW University, Xi’an (China), Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Ashgabat University (Turkmenistan), Leiden University (Netherlands) and most recently Kabul University (Afghanistan).

Funding

  • ICOMOS
  • UNESCO
  • Japan FIT

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