Safeguarding the sublime: managing archaeology in protected landscapes

Posted on September 25, 2017


We keep rolling with more CIfA conference videos. Here is another session we filmed:

Session Details

Organisers: Chris Jones, Historic Environment Officer, Northumberland National Park Authority; Natalie Ward, Senior Conservation Archaeologist, Peak District National Park Authority

The world’s Protected Areas are recognised for their conservation of the natural environment. They also contain outstanding international examples of cultural and archaeological heritage, evidence of human activity over thousands of years. Protected Landscapes provide statutory protection for the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage and opportunities for its public enjoyment and understanding. Internationally, from rock art in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg in South Africa, to the hippie communes of California, there are outstanding and unusual examples of archaeological heritage across the world’s Protected Areas.
There are significant challenges facing Protected Landscapes in a global context, from population growth, urbanisation and development, industry, agriculture and climate change, which means that our archaeological heritage is at risk and under great pressure. The downturn in the global economy and associated austerity measures have reduced funding for cultural heritage conservation and research, further contributing to its vulnerability.
Designation as a Protected Landscape may afford additional protection of cultural heritage to help safeguard and conserve the fragile remains of our past, but often these landscape gems have little beyond the usual mechanisms of the state or region in their toolbox to secure their long-term future and conserve or enhance their cultural values. Protected Landscapes contain some of our most precious heritage assets and offer significant opportunities for archaeological management, research, discovery, understanding and interpretation.
This session will explore the archaeology of Protected Landscapes in the broadest sense. Papers will present examples of archaeological research and management within Protected Landscapes across the globe, introducing the different frameworks for their management and discussing challenges and opportunities for greater cooperation.
This year the location of the conference coincides with the construction of The Sill, the first National Landscape Discovery Centre in the Northumberland National Park. There is a linked excursion to the National Park following the main session programme where we will see theory put into practice.

A multitude of designations Fiona Gale, Denbighshire County Council

This paper will attempt to unpick the complexities of multiple designations often present in Protected Landscapes. It will demonstrate, through practical examples from north-east Wales, how it is possible to use this to benefit the historic environment. It will also show how good management of the archaeology can be used to support designation.
The paper will evaluate work carried out through the Lottery-funded Heather and hillforts project and the newly started Our picturesque landscape project, as well as smaller-scale site-based conservation projects. The sites are important but people are even more so? Get the human relationships right and the historic environment will benefit? In these complex landscapes it is important to understand the needs and constraints experienced by other professionals, to know when to compromise and when the only route is to ‘dig your heels in’.

Remnants of farming past: cultural heritage and living landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Jim Brightman, Solstice Heritage

Representative of similar conservation processes globally, the UK National Parks manage the often competing interests of conservation and the needs, lifestyle and economy of residents. Whilst primary legislation and the Sandford Principle provide statutory underpinning and formal guidance for addressing conflicting issues within UK National Parks, the nuances of conservation management in protected areas means such matters are often significantly more complex in practice.
Within the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) the friction between cultural heritage and the modern rural economy is often symbolised by the prominent stone-built field barns: integral parts of a dispersed and largely defunct historical farming regime, yet monuments that now have considerable heritage and landscape importance in their own right. This paper will explore the approaches taken to managing the traditional farm building resource as part of a living landscape in the YDNP, whether through formal development management or ‘soft’ approaches such as community engagement. It will also explore the wider abstract and ethical issues raised by this tension between heritage conservation and the needs of the present.
Making a difference: volunteer approaches to heritage at risk in Northumberland National Park Bob Doughty, Northumberland National Park Volunteer

The role of the volunteer in protecting archaeology is well established in UK National Parks. Seen as complementary to professional input, volunteers provide more comprehensive survey and conservation programmes than can professionals alone, bringing additional skills and expertise resulting in significant benefits to volunteers and positive outcomes for the historic environment.
This paper will describe the role of volunteers in managing heritage at risk in Protected Landscapes from the perspective of Northumberland National Park volunteer Bob Doughty. It will present the benefits and problems inherent in this approach and the importance of engaging with the public in order to protect our most cherished heritage.

Mapping the past: managing protected landscapes through the use of remote sensing, mobile devices and citizen science Lawrence Shaw, New Forest National Park Authority and University of Winchester; Rebecca Bennett, PTS Consultancy and South Gloucestershire Council

In recent years, there has been an explosion of large-scale archaeological landscape research projects which utilise remote sensing and engage the general public with the mapping, recording and management of archaeological sites within protected landscapes. This paper will examine how these projects have utilised LIDAR data to map lost and forgotten archaeological sites, and includes case studies from the National Parks. The paper will also contrast the impact of community landscape research outside Protected Landscapes against that which takes place within. Often overlooked by researchers in favour of better-preserved and known examples, these landscapes are equally significant to local people and it can be argued at greater risk of change. The authors will discuss their experiences when implementing the use of these approaches within different heritage management frameworks, whilst also assessing the relationship between citizen science, mobile technology and digital resources more generally.

Safeguarding a fragile legacy: managing uKhahlamba-Drakensberg rock art Dr Aron D Mazel, Reader in Heritage Studies, Newcastle University

Concern about the deterioration of uKhahlamba-Drakensberg rock art extends back over a hundred years, but only since the 1970s have there been reasonably sustained efforts to safeguard this heritage resource. This paper investigates the efficacy of these more recent developments. Emphasis is on the partial implementation of management recommendations and the reasons for this, institutional responsibilities and relationships, public and community access, the relationship between rock art and tourism and poverty alleviation initiatives, and Protected Landscape status.
The challenges, strategies and rewards of managing publicly owned cultural resources in the 21st century E Breck Parkman, Senior State Archaeologist & Tribal Liaison, California State Parks

Cultural resources testify to who we are, once were, and someday might be again. They are landmarks that plot our presence on the land. In the San Francisco Bay area, public parks are rich in cultural resources, including the archaeological remains of highly diverse cultures. Within the local units of the California State Park system there are sites associated with the writer Jack London, a Russian American Company outpost, painted caves, ethnographic California Indian villages, Franciscan missions, a home in which the Grateful Dead lived, a Vietnam War-era training ground, historic and prehistoric rock quarries, 1960s hippie communes, historic cemeteries and prehistoric burial grounds, and a historic Chinese fishing camp, among other things. With a dwindling budget and burgeoning population, protecting cultural resources is fraught with challenges, necessitating adaptive strategies suitable for the 21st century. The rewards associated with successful resource management, however, make our efforts worthwhile.

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