Contested townscapes: the walled city as world heritage

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Contested townscapes: the walled city as world heritage

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Title: Contested townscapes: the walled city as world heritage
Author: Creighton, O.H
Citation: World Archaeology, 39 (3), September 2007, pp.339 - 354
Publisher: Routledge ( Taylor & Francis Group)
Journal: World Archaeology
Date Issued: 2007-09
DOI: 10.1080/00438240701464822
Abstract: Walled towns and cities feature prominently on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But, while a fundamental guiding principle of the WHS list is that properties are designated for the benefit of all, these historic walled communities can be conceptualized as a particularly 'dissonant' form of heritage where the past is contested or disputed in the present. Many such places have violent histories and have changed political or national allegiance in the past. Moreover, city walls, while outwardly embracing populations, also inevitably serve to exclude or marginalize other social groups. The identities of walled heritage cities are multi-layered and far from static, being susceptible to re-invention. Tensions and contradictions are also apparent in the fact that heritage agencies work in national contexts on the management of sites that are designated as an international resource, and the agendas of these organizations can mean that certain periods or interpretations of the past are prioritized above others. All these factors present considerable challenges to those responsible for conserving and researching heritage sites that are simultaneously living communities. Against this background, the practicalities and politics of designating and delineating historic walled communities as World Heritage Sites are reviewed, as are strategies for managing the archaeological resource. The paper draws on examples of walled communities inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with a particular emphasis on Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Key sites include Acre (Israel), vila (Spain), Carcassonne (France), Conwy (United Kingdom), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Jerusalem.
Type: Article
Description: This is the author's post print version of an article accepted for publication in World Archaeology. © 2008 Informa plc. The definitive publisher-authenticated version (Vol.39 (3), September 2007 pp.339-354) is available online at: 18 month embargo by the publisher. Article will be released March 2009.
Keywords: walled townsdissonant heritageUNESCO World Heritage Site
ISSN: 0043-8243

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