Climate change is destroying World Heritage sites

A new report released last week (26 May) has highlighted how climate change is becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites.

The report, compiled by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) lists 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries that are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, intensifying weather events, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons. Continue reading

Task force established to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones

A landmark accord was signed in Rome yesterday (16 February) establishing an emergency task force for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.

The agreement was signed by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, and Italy’s Minister for Foreign affairs, Paolo Gentiloni inside the 1st century Baths of Diocletian. It commits the Italian government to deploying cultural heritage experts to protect endangered cultural property at the request of UNESCO Member States. Continue reading

Replicas of the Palmyra arch to be made for London and New York

It has been a terrible year for the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East. By September, the United Nations confirmed that militant group Islamic State (Isis) had razed two ancient temples, the Temple of Bel and the Baal Shamin temple, in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

As 2015 draws to a close, the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) has announced exciting plans which offer a glimmer of hope in the wake of the devastation. The IDA is to erect a replica of the entrance to the Temple of Bel, one of the few surviving parts of the 2,000 year old structure, in New York and London in April 2016. Continue reading

UK rejects Greece’s appeal to negotiate the return of the ever-controversial Elgin marbles

At the end of last month the British Museum and the UK Government formally declined UNESCO’s request to enter into mediation on the subject of transferring the Parthenon marbles back to Greece. Removed by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon temple in Athens in the 1800s, the marbles were sold to the British Museum in 1816 and have remained there ever since. The sculptures date from 447-432 BC, and are divided between London and a purpose built museum in Athens.  Continue reading