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World Heritage Alert!

September 2006

Welcome to World Heritage Alert! The online magazine that reports on threats to cultural heritage sites across the world.

 

In this issue

Editorial - Welcome to World Heritage Alert!

UK: Silbury Hill to be repaired at last! - After more than six years of internal wrangling, English Heritage have decided on the best way to fix the mighty Sibury Hill - and have awarded the contract to Skanska.

UK: Public Sector threat to Heritage. Sixteen years ago the British Government ushered in a new set of guidelines for the handling of Britain’s rich, rare and fragile archaeological resource; PPG16. However, there is an increasing number who argue that this has brought in some unfortunate side effects that have undone the basic principles that PPG16 was meant to enforce; best practice has been transformed into least cost, an increasingly private archaeological sector means that it is the developer that calls the shots.

What world Heritage? Reports that UNESCO's system for recognising sites of international importance may no longer be able to keep up with demand and tells a tale of two sites overlooked by the system.

Country Focus - The tortured ancient mounds of Turkey. More than six thousand years ago civilisation was alive and kicking in Turkey. These ancient people left behind a rich legacy including massive mounds that put Britain's Silbury Hill to shame. Country focus takes a closer look at how Turkey is protecting it oldest of treasures.

Thornborough Henges - Author Andy Worthington raises his concerns about the treatment of Thornborough Henges in Britain's rural North Yorkshire.

Is Time Running out for Tara? - Work commenced on the M3 motorway earlier in the year amongst widespread protests from campaign groups that have been urging for an alternative route. Is it too late for Tara?

Durham - Transport "Innovation" threatens historic city -Stonehenge and Durham Cathedral form two of Britain 's best known and most visited World Heritage Sites. Stonehenge has been much in the British news recently, and a topic of debate in parliament. The controversy there concerns environmental damage associated with traffic, and how much measures against it would cost. Durham now seems likely to achieve the same unlucky prominence in the national media.

Potted Histories - Turkey, a land of great historical significance. This brief guide tries to put you in the picture.

News Round Up. USA - Appeal focuses on protecting ancient sites, UK - Thornborough; New battle looming over the henges, Spain - Motorway is threatening an ancient stone circle, China - "pyramids" in danger of collapsing: report, Indonesia - Tremor strikes ancient temple, USA - Lake Travis archaeological sites apparently looted, USA - Monuments' archaeology sites at risk.

Action Alerts - Simple ways you can help protect the worlds cultural heritage.

Thornborough Henges Imagine the outrage if the British government allowed the sacred landscape around Stonehenge not only to be used as a landfill site but also to be quarried to such an extent that the temple ended up on a small island surrounded by artificial lakes. Andy Worthington takes time to explains why there is widespread concern about the current threat to the Thornborough Henges in Britain.

Silbury Hill After more than six years of internal wrangling, English Heritage have finally decided on the best way to fix the mighty Sibury Hill - UK 's largest ancient mound, 4,000 years old. But will it take another six years to effect these repairs?

Ode to a vandalised stone. In June 1996 paint was smeared over the standing stones at Avebury's famous stone avenue. Ten years on we remember the damage with a poem from Barbara Tomlinson.

Turkey Like many countries, Turkey is a nation proud of its heritage and its people are like many others, under an illusion that their government shares that pride.

Yet all too often, government pride only extends to those sites that earn tourist dollars or by their remote nature avoid getting in the way of major developments. A number of organisations have spent time digging beneath the surface of Turkeys claimed protection of its ancient heritage and the reality all too often is that far more heritage sites are being failed by the system than are being protected.

UK: Public Sector threat to Heritage.

Sixteen years ago the British Government ushered in a new set of guidelines for the handling of Britain’s rich, rare and fragile archaeological resource; PPG16. However, there is an increasing number who argue that this has brought in some unfortunate side effects that have undone the basic principles that PPG16 was meant to enforce; best practice has been transformed into least cost, an increasingly private archaeological sector means that it is the developer that calls the shots

News

USA - Appeal focuses on protecting ancient sites

RENO, Nev. -- On the surface, it would be hard to imagine a simpler theft case than the one against John Ligon. Three boulders bearing centuries-old petroglyphs of an archer and bighorn sheep were part of his front yard landscaping. So when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out convictions against the Reno man and a co-defendant, it left prosecutors and archaeologists questioning whether they have any legal weapon to fight what already had been an uphill struggle: Stopping the plunder of unknown thousands of ancient sites.

Durham - Transport "Innovation" threatens historic city

Stonehenge and Durham Cathedral form two of Britain 's best known and most visited World Heritage Sites. Stonehenge has been much in the British news recently, and a topic of debate in parliament. The controversy there concerns environmental damage associated with traffic, and how much measures against it would cost. Durham now seems likely to achieve the same unlucky prominence in the national media.

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