Archaeological Site Reburial

WHS containing significant areas of excavated archaeological remains which have been intentionally "reburied" as a preservation technique, excluding simple re-burial of human remains in the original site.

"Reburial" of archaeological sites is a recognised technique for their preservation and is considered alonside e.g the creation of shelters, with experts decising the most valid approach in each case. Shelters have the disadvantage of not always being adequately weatherproof or properly maintained but "Reburial" also needs careful long term monitoring. The "reburial" should have been undertaken as a planned long term preservation activity with the intention of preserving remains still in situ across the long term, "Temporary" covering for rapid re-excavation in the near term or "Seasonal" reburial for reopening each year doesn't count nor does simple back filling of trenches etc after removal of items of value or temporarily covering mosaics with pebbles. Ideally the fact of intentional "reburial" should be mentioned in UNESCO sources such as the Nomination or Evaluation documents or in some academic source.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Chaco Culture The 2013 Periodic Report stated - "The 1989 plan called for backfilling, or reburial of certain portions of the standing architecture to promote long term preservation". See this article for a description of the "Rebusial progam" at Chaco sites and a discussion of pros and cons for the reurial approach.
Jomon Prehistoric Sites "In general, the excavated features at the 17 components have been recorded and reburied under 30 to 200 centimetres of protective soil, with a root screen to prevent root intrusion." (AB Ev)
Ngorongoro Laetoli Tracks. "The footprints have been Reburied" (2010 AB Eval). In fact the original deliberate reburial of the Tracks by Mary Leakey wasn't a success and has led to improvements in burial technique and subsequent monitoring for such sites.
Paphos The Mosaic of "Orpheus and the Beasts was discovered in 1984 and underwent a major preservation exercise before being put on public display under a shelter in 1989. In 2004 it was decided that the shelter was inadequate, it was dismantled and the mosaic reburied until such time as an improved sheter could be designed and constructed. The mosaic remains buried.
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station "The archaeological features of the Red Bay Basque Whaling Stations are located both underground and underwater within the boundaries of the property. They have been reburied and stabilized as part of ongoing conservation measures.........All of the more than 3,000 original components of the vessel were systematically reburied on the Harbour bottom." (Nom File).


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Archaeological Site Reburial?

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A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source