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Recreating the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Factum Arte
The BBC are airing a well researched and balanced story on the Tutankhamun facsimile and the questions this object has generated. The arrival of the facsimile of the Tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt in November as a gift from Factum Foundation to the country has created significant interest not just in the tomb itself but in the concept of authenticity and the potential for turning tourism into a positive force by creating exact facsimiles of subjects like the Tomb in order that the experience the tourist pays for is a powerful one but also that the original nearby is carefully preserved. The BBC introduction asks the question: “Egypt’s Valley of the Kings is a popular tourist attraction, but years of visitors trekking around the old tombs of the pharaohs is causing these historic sites to deteriorate. An exact replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb has now been created – but will tourists really visit …”
Factum Arte finished the facsimile of Tutankhamun’s Tomb at the end of 2010; it opens to the public today in Luxor, Egypt. Watch the extraordinary video above of Factum Arte’s creation of the facsimile and read an account of their work here. See also our earlier feature here.
Proposed development at the Maltese World Heritage Site of Ta’ Hagrat
Petition by FLIMKIEN GHAL AMBJENT AHAJR –
A development permit has been granted to build a two storey building within a few metres of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ta’ Hagrat temples, and within the buffer zone set up to protect the temple. Granting this development and denying the legislated buffer zone sets a dangerous precedent threatening all our cultural and natural heritage sites protected by buffer zones.
Government is also proposing two new policies that weaken the preservation of Malta’s heritage. The first allows the sanctioning of illegal developments at built or natural scheduled (protected) sites. The second policy being considered is that the scheduling of heritage buildings will be reviewed every ten years putting these at risk of being demolished in favour of yet more apartments.
Please consider signing the petition to halt this development here.
Well, this is our 600th post since we got going two and a half years ago. First off, many many thanks to all who have contributed, or drawn our attention to, features and photos since we started (and thanks too to our readers who have commented or indicated that they liked what we’ve published).
So, we wondered how we might celebrate our 600th post…
Cornwall’s been in the news recently: Earlier in the year it took a severe storm battering (along with other areas in Britain) and its only rail link to and from the rest of the country was dramatically severed due to high seas at Dawlish in Devon. Now, after for some two months, the line has been repaired and trains are running again. Then, last week, came the exciting news that the Cornish are to be granted minority status under European rules for the protection of national minorities (we ran a short feature about it here) which hopefully will herald a greater awareness and appreciation of Cornwall’s proud heritage. Also, last week, BBC television ran an adaptation (not an entirely successful one) of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn; a dark and violent story of ship-wrecking, smuggling and murder centred around an old inn on Bodmin Moor.
So, with all this happening, it seems appropriate to mark Cornwall’s current place in the spotlight, alongside our own 600th post celebration, with a poem dedicated to Cornwall and the Cornish and news of an exciting archaeological/conservation event happening in Cornwall next month. We hope you find both of interest.
Pitted mining landscape adjacent to the Hurlers Stone Circle on Bodmin Moor
The Heritage Trust
Cornwall: The gold of a nation
Pitiful pitted land
Plundered for its wealth and identity
Its language lost
Earth dug and destroyed for silver, tin and China clay
Brought close to a nothingness at the tip of Britain.
Cornwall has become itself again
Its tors and towers never really lost
Its words never really withered
All just buried deep…
Like the Rillaton treasure at its barrow-fast heart
The gold of a nation gathers again the light against it.
Part of the Hurlers Stone Circle (with the Cheesewring on the skyline) on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
The Heritage Trust
BBC News Cornwall announces today that –
Cornish people will be granted minority status under European rules for the protection of national minorities. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will make the announcement on a visit to the county later.
Dick Cole, leader of Cornish independence party Mebyon Kernow, said: “This is a fantastic development. This is a proud day for Cornwall.” The Cornish will gain the same status as other Celtic communities the Scots, Welsh and Irish. Mr Alexander, who is due to visit Bodmin, said: “Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity.
Mebyon Kernow leader Mr Cole said: “A lot of people have been working for many years to get Cornwall the recognition other Celtic people of the UK already receive. “The detail is still to come out on what this might mean, but make no mistake that this is a proud day for Cornwall.”
Full feature here.
We are so powerful; our capacity for destruction is so huge, that we have to do something positive. (Sir David Attenborough)
Forgive our language, it’s not often that we feel the need to swear (well, we often do feel the need actually, though don’t usually print it) nor to encroach on the territory of our friends in the Natural and Wildlife heritage lobbies, but the comparison between the money being planned for a reckless high-speed rail link (HS2) in Britain, and the cuts to the budget of The Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens) in London, really does take the biscuit.
Please take a few moments to watch the video above (presented by Sir David Attenborough) and sign the petition here if possible.
Update in yesterday’s Guardian makes for depressing reading –
Cuts imposed by ministers that will see 125 jobs axed at Kew Gardens have gone ahead despite warnings that any drop in resourcing would threaten its future as one of the world’s leading botanic institutions.
A reduction of £1.5m in funding from the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) coupled with other financial pressures have contributed to a £5m hole in Kew’s budget that managers say cannot be filled without losing a sixth of the institution’s staff, mostly in scientific areas.
Please forgive me for this post as I may rant quite a bit. Words cannot describe how angry this has made me. On 24th Febuary 2014 after suffering damage during a storm 10 days earlier, Coolbanagher Castle an early Medieval Tower Hall, built in the early 13th century was completely demolished. Many of you will already know how passionate I am about the preservation of these sites, in fact one of the main factors which influenced my photography was to preserve in images as many sites as possible. Unfortunately I never got to shoot the castle whilst it was still standing, so I guess this is the first casualty in my quest. The reason I have not written about this sad turn of events sooner was because I wanted to see the site for myself, and what a sad sight it is. The entire…
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Reconstruction, by Ian Dennis, of the Whitehawk Camp causewayed enclosure in (circa) 3,600bce
Lanyon Quoit, Cornwall
The Heritage Trust
The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network (CASPN) are holding their Pathways to the Past 2014 (8th year) event on Saturday, 24 May and Sunday, 25 May 2014. The event is titled A weekend of walks & talks amongst the ancient sites of West Penwith.
The excavation of Carchemish (1912-13) with Leonard Woolley (right) and T E Lawrence (left)
In an impassioned piece of writing for The Wall Street Journal, Bonnie Burnham, President of the World Monuments Fund, says –
This winter, the film “Monuments Men” told the story of how, over two years, with virtually no resources or support, a ragtag division of 345 volunteers from 17 countries working under the aegis of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) program rescued six million stolen artworks from Nazi depots, including some of the world’s most esteemed masterpieces, and saved hundreds of historic buildings, objects and archival collections from destruction in Europe and Asia.
Yet there has been no sequel to the work of the Monuments Men. Time and again, major cultural treasures have been destroyed, museums looted and archaeological sites despoiled during conflicts. Even after civil law was re-established in Afghanistan, Egypt and Iraq, the destruction has continued under the noses of authorities. In Syria, cellphones have captured the obliteration of the historic center of Aleppo. The director general of antiquities in Syria reports that 420 monumental sites have been damaged in the two years since the civil war began, many in the cities of Aleppo and Homs. The costs of reconstruction would run to the hundreds of millions of dollars and require highly specialized technical capabilities. Also troubling is the widespread looting that has occurred in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Yemen during the past decade. Estimates of antiquities looting and theft in Egypt and Syria since 2011 run into the billions of dollars; but sadly, we’ll never know its full extent.
Cultural heritage links us to our history and identity through structures, objects and traditions. It gives places meaning through references to the past. It enriches our quality of life, contributes to a community’s economic well-being and is fundamental to a healthy society. People in places under siege are no less concerned about their heritage than those who watch from the outside. But people caught in these circumstances are often powerless to intervene, which is why we need a dedicated effort on their behalf.