Climate change, danger to heritage

Climate change, danger to heritage

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Jacques Chirac declared in 2002 at the 4th Earth Summit: “Our house is on fire and we are looking elsewhere. If the issue of climate change is a widely publicized subject, the consequences for cultural and archaeological heritage are less so. Certain sites are weakened or disappear following climatic changes (floods, fires, thaw, etc.). The Archeology Files propose in this issue 401 to take stock of these questions from examples located on all continents.

After an introductory article which presents the Anthropocene and its consequences on heritage, the review offers an interview with Mechtild Rössler, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, who presents the actions, the means implemented but also the challenges which humanity must face for the safeguard of the heritage. The following articles offer a world tour of threatened or endangered sites. Global warming has allowed some major discoveries in frozen spaces, such as the discovery of Ötzi's mummy in 1991. While research programs continue, the acceleration of the melting ice poses a number of challenges that archaeologists must face. cope in the Alps, the Arctic and Central Asia. The important discoveries are also research and last chance projects before the total disappearance of these sites.

The rising water levels pose other challenges, especially on the Atlantic coast and in the Savoyard lakes where traces of Neolithic civilizations tend to disappear. Afghan sites like the Jam minaret are threatened due to local climatic constraints, deforestation, the consequences of population growth and the country's political situation. Australian rock art is threatened by fires, as are archaeological sites in the Amazon. Timbuktu, built with fragile materials, is also threatened by climate change and requires special maintenance to continue through the ages. Most European cities are threatened by the water: the examples of Venice, Florence or Prague have clearly shown the heritage issues of this rising water level. Paris is also not immune. El Niño also weakens the Andean sites. The dossier ends with an article by geography Magali Reghezza which discusses the necessary preparation for resilience.

This dossier offers a rich, although worrying, panorama on a major issue for the coming decades. The rich iconography, always of very good quality, embellishes and enriches the reading. In addition to the news, the Dossiers d'Archéologie presents the Alfred Merlin, a new Drassm vessel (department of underwater and underwater archaeological research) but also the ongoing research of researchers from the CNRS and the University of Poitiers on the phenomenon. dead water which would be responsible for the defeat of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium.

Archeology files n ° 401, on newsstands and by subscription.

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