At the Fifth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-5), held last summer in Washington, D.C., the Getty Conservation Institute joined with 10 international organizations, 3 U.S.-based institutions, and 63 professionals to present discussion panels and plenary lectures that addressed a broad range of issues related to the conservation of archaeological sites. Organized under the theme ''Of the Past, for the Future: Integrating Archaeology and Conservation," these sessions examined integrated approaches to conservation with the intent of forging closer links between the professions of archaeology and conservation (see Conservation, vol. 18, no. 1).
At the close of the congress, nine resolutions were put forward by the organizers of these sessions for consideration by the WAC Executive. These were among the resolutions adopted by the executive branch in December 2003, and they now form part of the organization's statutes. Together with a forthcoming GCI publication that will include the papers presented at the WAC-5 sessions on integrating archaeology and conservation, these resolutions will help foster close working relationships between archaeology and conservation for the benefit of the global archaeological heritage.
Further information on the World Archaeological Congress and a complete listing of all the WAC-5 resolutions can be found at: http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/wac.
Resolutions Relating to the Theme
"Of the Past, for the Future"
Adopted by the WAC Executive in December 2003
Resolution 1: WAC resolves to promote a close working relationship between archaeologists and conservation professionals in order to foster an integrated approach to archaeology that includes research, conservation, management, and the interpretation of archaeological sites and collections.
Resolution 2: It is the responsibility of archaeologists to plan for the conservation of the sites on which they work, the materials they excavate, and the associated records they create over an entire project through the provision of adequate funding and professional expertise, regardless of whether these responsibilities are mandated by law or not.
Resolution 3: Proposed interventions, such as the restoration or reconstruction of sites and artifacts for interpretation and presentation, should be critically assessed beforehand to ensure that authenticity and integrity are not adversely (negatively) impacted.
Resolution 4: It is the responsibility of archaeologists conducting fieldwork to make themselves familiar with, acknowledge, and respect all the cultural values of the sites they are working on, including social and spiritual values, and in turn to share their knowledge about the archaeological significance of the sites with the local communities.
Resolution 5: In cases where the archaeological heritage is impacted by armed conflict, WAC strongly recommends that conservation professionals be included in the initial response teams to assess damage and prepare action plans.
To National Authorities
Resolution 6: Recognizing that partnerships between the public and private sectors can further the goals of conservation, WAC nevertheless calls upon national authorities not to relinquish their responsibilities for the preservation and stewardship of archaeological heritage places and collections.
Resolution 7: WAC urges that decision makers strive for the inclusion of all stakeholder voices in the use, management, and preservation of archaeological places and collections.
To International Organizations
Resolution 8: WAC resolves to recommend to UNESCO that an active program to inventory and document archaeological collections in museums and other repositories be undertaken and that duplicate records be safeguarded elsewhere than at the location of the collections.
Resolution 9: WAC notes that many World Heritage Sites have archaeological values which need protecting, but that management planning provisions do not always recognize archaeological values or provide adequately for their protection, and recommends to the World Heritage Centre that it sponsor workshops on the conservation and management of the archaeological resources of World Heritage Sites, and also that it re-examine the management provisions that need to be met for the nomination and inscription of archaeological sites to the World Heritage List.