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American Ghost Mining Towns, Papua, Mount Gerizim, Towers of Silence, Palitana

Author Assif
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#1 | Posted: 10 May 2008 20:04 | Edited by: Assif 
Ghost Mining Towns: there many such towns from the 19th Century in near the East Coast and in the Mid-West of the USA, many of them well preserved. They represent the mining culture in North America. I personally don't know if they significantly differ from similar entries already on the list.

Papua: natural, cross-boundary (New Guinea-Indonesia), serial. It is the largest island in the world after Greenland (Australia excluded) and as it has been isolated for a very long time and lies in a fabourable climatic zone it is still full of endemic species of both flora and fauna. Many new species are descovered there annually and this should already suffice, I suppose, to enter Papua to the top 50!

Mount Gerizim - the holiest Samaritan site near Nabalus, Palestinian Occupied Territories. There are some excavations from the Roman period and the holy altar where sacrifices are still being made.

Towers of Silence - These are Zoroastrean cyllindrical constructions built for their dead. There are several such typical structures in Iran near Yazd, Tehran and Kerman.

Palitana - India. The holiest place for the Jains. There are more than 1300 marbles temples on this mountain.

Author Solivagant
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#2 | Posted: 11 May 2008 04:39 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I don't think you can have the whole of Papua - New Guinea!! I was there last autumn and have been trying to think of appropriate DEFINABLE sites - both Natural and Cultural. In fact I had a very interesting discussion with the Museum curator in Mt Hagen as to why PNG had failed to get any sites inscribed to date. It appeared that UNESCO/ICOMOS/IUCN were helping but the western-oriented management-speak culture of the whole process seemd to be a major hindrance in a country where "legaility" is based largely on "customary rights" and it is very difficult to specify things like "buffer zones" and "management plans" in relation to land.

I fear by the way that we are spending too much time looking at completely new sites and not enough at trying to find the BEST among the 1440 T List sites. There is quite a lot of "dross" there but also some real gems which, for all sorts of reasons, seem to be being left out by the nominating governments. A lot of thought has gone into that list - some (much??) of it may have been filled by governments which have already inscribed (too??) many sites and are trying to placate their regional interests - but even there, as we have seen with Greece, a gem like Knossos can get missed out.

Author Assif
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#3 | Posted: 11 May 2008 18:04 
We decided that sites can be proposed that are on the T lists or not. I don't see the problem here. So long we find good sites I don't see why we should limit ourselves to the T lists alone.
As to Papua - I meant a serial cross-boudary natural nomination, of course not the entire island.

Author Solivagant
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#4 | Posted: 12 May 2008 02:28 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I wasn't suggesting that we limit ourselves to T List alone - merely that we should check the list before looking for other sites. PNG particularly demonstrates this!

Re the Island of Irian Jaya/PNG

Indonesia already has a fine Natural site at Lorentz NP which encapsulates a lot of the Island's specialisms as it covers an altitude range of sea level to almost 5000mtrs. The UNESCO site states that it is in "SE ASia" which of course geographically it is NOT - the Island of Papua is clearly Australasian! http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/955

Then PNG has a T List of 8 which need to be looked at - 1 of them already covers a "Trans boundary Area" - the Trans-Fly (but isn't actually proposed as such - PNG/Indonesia do NOT get on - hardly surprising as Indonesia "stole" the western side of the island!!) The problem for us is whether they add a great deal to Lorentz within our 50. I am sure some of them justify inscription but is there a major gap here?
One is a purely cultural site - among the earliest "Agricultural" sites in the world at Kuk - this was the site I was talking to the Museum curator about.
ALL the other sites are mixed - in order to bring in the tribal aspects of the inidigenous people.
One of these is the slightly controversial WWII Kokoda Track site. Although Many PNG people fought and died (or were just killed by the Japanese) in WWII there is a feeling that this is really an Australian proposal - and indeed OZ is paying money to promote it.
Another is a probably very fine Marine site - but there are good representations of these on the list already and I don't think we want them in our "Top 50 missed"
The "Natural" sight for which the whole island is most famous is the Bird of Paradise. There are many different species of these and their habitat is EXTREMELY specialised - a few hundered meters difference in altitude and you get a different species. All of the sites are likely to contain some appropriate habitat (and Lorentz has some too) but the T List site of Kikori River basin/Gt Papuan Plateau would be best for them.
If I just had to choose ONE site from PNG to encapsulate it I would choose the T List "Middle and Upper Sepik" - it has a fine range of flora and fauna (but being lowland it doesn't have a particularly large number of BofP) but it does cover the tribes of that area whose art and tribal practices ("Haus Tamburan") are very "PNG". This is likely to be proposed on EIGHT different criteria (though IUCN/ICOMOS are likely to remove a couple). I think on reflection it SHOULD be included in our "top 50 missing".

Author Assif
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#5 | Posted: 12 May 2008 08:20 
I support Solivagant's proposal. Nonetheless I still think keeping an open mind as to comletely new sites is our special liberty we shouldn't be haste to give up on.

Author Solivagant
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#6 | Posted: 12 May 2008 10:03 
Don't worry Assif - I am not trying to curtail your liberty! We certainly need an open mind for completely new sites but shouldn't ignore the T List. I am currently doing an exercise to go through the enire T List and identify where there MIGHT be gems - a lot of it however is just the same old list of Churches, Tombs, Castles, Medieval towns, National Parks duplicating the niches already inscribed etc etc. A lot of them I haven't heard of even when I have been to a country. Now that by itself doesn't mean they might not be fantastic (!!) and we are not saying that nothing OTHER than our "Top 50" should get inscribed but I think we are looking for quite special sites for such a list - Locations of high importance which fill in significant gaps either culturally or naturally and which don't just duplicate existing inscriptions.

Author Assif
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#7 | Posted: 12 May 2008 18:23 
Agreed.

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