The Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation held the First Annual International ECHO Conference on:

Egyptian Cultural Heritage Management

At the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Education and Culture Bureau located at:
4 Chesterfield Gardens, Mayfair, London W1Y 8BR, UK.
20th-21st March 2004


Introduction | Proceedings

Information Technology and Cultural Heritage
Fekri A. Hassan (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

This is an overview of the various aspects of cultural heritage management and the role of information technology. This paper outlines what constitutes cultural heritage and the various categories. What role can information technology play in managing cultural heritage? What are the various tools at the disposal of heritage mangers and their advantages over traditional methods and technologies? Why is it important to create sites and monuments records (SMRs), archives and the creation of an archaeological map of Egypt? Cultural heritage management is not only concerned with conservation and restoration of monuments, but includes surveying, excavation, storage, archiving, long-term maintenance, visitor programmes, interpretation centres, public education activities, museum displays and publication.

Safeguarding the Christian Heritage of Egypt... and a Wider Northeastern African Context
Niall P. Finneran (Dept. Archaeology University of Southampton)

This contribution outlines the potential and actual risks to the cultural heritage of Egyptian (Coptic) Christian monuments (eg. churches, monasteries, burial sites), and goes on to place this heritage within the context of the wider Christian heritage of the north-eastern African world. Case studies of heritage protection from Christian sites in Nubia and Ethiopia are also considered, and strategies for helping preserve and enhance the Egyptian Christian heritage - a much understudied and often ignored scholarly and tourist resource - are presented in the light of this consideration of the regional perspective.

An Assessment of the Role of Archaeological Site Management in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt
Nigel J Hetherington (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

The Valley of the Kings is probably one of the most well known, documented and visited archaeological sites in the world, forever associated in the collective memory with the discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. For over five hundred years the valley was the burial place of the Egyptian elite and has been a focus of attention from scholars, travellers and tourists for over three thousand years. Today after centuries of damage, erosion and looting from excavations, flash floods and visitors the valley is facing its most severe challenge, its future preservation hangs in the balance and unless swift, radical and all encompassing action is undertaken we may see the destruction of this site within the next twenty-five years. This paper examines the issue of how we can balance the demands of the present against the desire to preserve the past for future generations and the implications for sites such as the Valley of the Kings.

Therefore the main focus will be on the threats, natural and human that endanger the valley and the possible solutions open to us. These proposals range from the basic to the radical and each will be considered and assessed for its contribution to the long-term preservation of the valley. Furthermore the implementation of these proposals will be considered and how together with the involvement and engagement of the stakeholders it is possible to implement these changes.

Producing Perfect Paperwork?
Natalie Swift (MoLas)

This brief paper will examine some of the issues relating to the archiving of projects, which result from developer funded archaeological investigations in England. Archives generated by research projects and academic institutions will also be considered. The types of media used and the methodologies developed to archive material will be discussed. Some of the problems associated with the process of compiling and depositing an archive will be raised, and the benefits of undertaking the job will be demonstrated.

Sites and Monuments Records and Cultural Heritage Management
G. J. Tassie (ECHO)

There are many various threats to Egypt's cultural heritage, however managing this cultural heritage cannot be achieved if the extent of the cultural heritage that exists within Egypt's borders is unknown. Therefore it is imperative that a National Register of Sites, Monuments and Historic Buildings or a central Site and Monuments Records (SMRs) is created. A record of all Egypt's sites and monuments is the first step in cultural heritage management, and an essential first step to their protection.

The first step in creating a National Register is a literature survey to gather the accumulated knowledge on the sites already surveyed and excavated. The next step is a nationwide archaeological survey. Surveys already conducted or in progress must be tied into the nationwide survey, so that the process is not duplicated.

The information is stored on a relational database linked to a geographic information system (GIS), this data can be retrieved and updated. The National Register is a primary and reliable source of information for archaeologists, heritage managers, policy-makers, researchers, developers, planners, media professionals, teachers, tourist organizations, community groups, property owners and the general public. Listing sites promotes their preservation and protects sites against damage and destruction; as management planning is possible if information is readily available.

A Geomorphological Study of the Giza Necropolis with Implications for the Development of the Site
Colin D. Reader (Engineering Geologist)

There are a number of features of weathering and erosion within the enclosure surrounding the Great Sphinx of Giza that suggest the action of flowing water. That this erosion is not uniformly distributed is consistent, not with erosion by rainfall per se but by rainfall run-off an erosive agent, which is known to have been experienced at Giza until the late Fifth Dynasty. When the spatial relationship of various features within the Giza Necropolis is considered, the extant erosion indicates that the Sphinx may pre-date the reign of Khufu, the builder of the first Giza pyramid. The existence of pre-Fourth Dynasty development at Giza can be inferred from this - support for which is provided by a number of archaeological finds excavated from the site.

Tourists' Experience of the Pyramids with Texts at Saqqara
Aloisia de Trafford (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

Tourists, unless on a guided tour, generally rely on two main sources for information about an archaeological site: 1) the guide-book, and 2) information provided at the site. This paper looks at the role of guide-books in the tourists' experience of an archaeological site, focussing particularly on the pyramids with texts at Saqqara. Fourteen recent guide-books are reviewed and compared. In addition, the first guide-book to these pyramids, written in the 1880s soon after the pyramids were excavated, is also looked at. A number of issues are raised which are relevant to an understanding of the relations between archaeologists, tourists and guides, such as the public image of Egyptian pyramids, the problem of misinformation, lack of information and long time-lags between excavation and publicity of findings. Finally it is suggested that the archaeologists can and should have a more direct input into tourists' site-interpretation experience by collaborating in putting up information boards outside (and maybe inside) the pyramids with texts.

Retrieval, Conservation, Archiving and Analysis of Ancient Egyptian Human Remains
Teri L. Tucker (Washington State University), Lawrence S. Owens, F. A. Hassan & G. J. Tassie (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

At present, as development projects expand into the Nile Delta many sites with human remains from the Predynastic/Protodynastic and Early Dynastic periods are coming to light. The local Inspectorate of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) are largely charged with rescuing the archaeology at many of these sites. Although international teams are also investigating some of these sites, there are more sites under threat and their locations known than are being systematically and scientifically excavated. At the moment, the human remains from these valuable sites face the threat of imminent destruction because Egyptian archaeologists, with a few exceptions, lack appropriate bioarchaeological training, and because facilities for the curation and study of human remains are non-existent. Also, collaborative projects between Egyptian and international missions with qualified bioarchaeologists willing to disseminate and share information are very few and infrequent.


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