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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

The idea of conserving a 'cultural landscape' is problematic, for several reasons. Most importantly, it requires the ability to create a boundary around the landscape that is being conserved. However, as we saw last week in almost all the articles, storied landscapes are often created through travel, through movement. Delineating a specific area to conserve may interrupt or block the use of the landscape by certain groups. Restricting the traditional use of and movement through a landscape calls into question what it is that is being preserved. Does a fenced-off landscape remain authentic?

Additionally, as with all conservation projects, the question of time becomes an issue. Archaeological sites and monuments may have existed and been re-worked over many centuries or even longer, but a 'start-date' can usually be determined. This seems less certain with landscapes; utilisation and exploitation of natural resources may have begun long before an imprint of the activity was left upon the land. Choosing what to conserve again becomes a problem - which use-period do you preserve?

Treating a landscape in the same way as an archaeological site clearly doesn't work. Unfortunately, without exhausting time, man-power and money, it does seem to be the most viable option to protect landscapes whose resources are being exploited.