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Category doubts

 
 
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Author Solivagant
Partaker
#16 | Posted: 7 Jan 2016 10:13 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Assif:
This would mean some sites would necessarily have three categories. I don't find it bad though.

I think we need a few more people inputting ideas/insights - especially Els who will be in Africa for over a further week!
We seem to have the following options
a. Just make some changes within the current assignments to the current Categories in order to remove the most egregious ones as found in this exercise.
b. Also make some simple changes to the current Category definitions but within the current general approach e.g as you have suggested for CL. That will of course require more reassignments
c. Rethink the "Categorisation" concept to try to remove some of the logical inconsistencies.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#17 | Posted: 29 Jan 2016 00:12 
When updating the categories, could the Abbey of St. Gall also work for the educational category, since one of the reasons it was inscribed was for its library, which is one of the oldest and richest in the world?

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#18 | Posted: 2 Feb 2016 05:15 
Colvin:
It may also be worth bringing up Syracuse in the "Category Doubts" thread for discussion about future placement.

I think Syracuse would make more sense under Urban Continuity rather than its current Archaeological Site: Roman.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#19 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 05:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I had an interest today in seeing how the various "Hominid remains" sites had been rated by the Community - were there any clear "favourites" among this type of WHS or did they all merge into a rather grey "Average" ("Vaguely interesting but not a great place to visit") etc etc?

I found my way to the "Geological formation - Paleontology" Category. It contains 21 WHS but it was immediately clear that there are really 2 distinct "groups" of "Fossil" WHS - those relating to Hominid fossils and those relating to fossils of "other" forms of life. There are 9 "Hominid" related ones (Atapuerca, Fossil Hominid, Awash, Omo, Carmel, Ngonrongoro, Peking Man, Sangiran, Wilandra) leaving 12 "other".

I have made a quick check and think that ALL of the 9 Hominid Fossil sites are inscribed either purely as "Cultural" sites or, where they also contain other aspects - E.G Ngorongoro's current wildlife, as "mixed" - hence we already assign 2 categories. Wilandra is another "mixed" site and is, I suggest, a "special case" -see later. Yet we have "fossils" ALL categorised under a "Natural" category!!

The above discussions from earlier years about what we are trying to achieve by "Categorization", how detailed we should get and how to handle "hard cases" recognised that a main purpose of Categorization" is to "best represent the essence of the nomination ....... linked to the OUV" (Assif).
I would suggest that the essence of Hominid Fossil sites is NOT that they cover "Fossils" but that they cover "Hominid fossils" - and the UNESCO decision to inscribe them under "Cultural Criteria! supports this.

I would suggest therefore that we split the (current) 8 Hominid (missing out Wilandra) and 12 other fossil sites into 2 categories. Nb Wilandra is currently categorised under the single "palaontonogy" catgeroy BUT -on reading up on it further (I haven't been thrre) I would suggest that it s "Fossil" remains are non homid whilst its Human remains ("dremations", "hearths", "tools", "Middens" etc) are properly categorised as "Archaeological site -Prehistoric". I can find NO mention that any of the Human remains are fossilised - only the early Australian Marsupials etc and I am not even absolutely sure that "fossilisation" is relevant for the non-hominid reamins but am not asure where else to put this aspect!!!

The next issue is which higher level category grouping they should belong to - do both remain under "Geological formation", does the Hominid one get moved to "Archaeological site" etc? Paleontology, as a discipline, sits at a crossing point between Geology, Biology and Archaeology (as well as others). A case could be made out that sites such as Sangiran might better be categorised as "Archaeological Site - Prehistoric". But, the further back in time one goes perhaps the weaker the case for treating such sites as "Archaeological" and more as "Fossil" sites??

I then look at the other "Geological Formation" sites and wonder why e.g "Glaciation" is grouped as a "geological" category whilst e.g "Eroded" is categorised as "Natural Landscape"!! I am drawn to the conclusion that the higher level Geological Category should be dropped completely and all its categories placed under "Natural Landscape. I would then move the "Hominid fossil" category to "Archaeological sites".

This change would still leave us with a slightly "fuzzy" distinction between those early hominid sites such as Gorham's Cave which are "Archaeological - Prehistoric" and those like Sangiran which are "Archaeological - Fossil hominid". The allocation "rule" is based on whether the remains are (Primarily - ??) "Fossilised " or not.

That then leaves only 2 "Natural" categories "Wildlife Habitat - Flora" and "Wildlife Habitat - Fauna". I guess that a case could be made out that they too are a type of "Natural Landscape" - but perhaps this is going "too far" at the moment!!

Author elsslots
Admin
#20 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:22 | Edited by: elsslots 
I do agree with your reasoning, as in:
Solivagant:
think that ALL of the 9 Hominid Fossil sites are inscribed either purely as "Cultural" site ... Yet we have "fossils" ALL categorised under a "Natural" category!!

Solivagant:
the higher level Geological Category should be dropped completely and all its categories placed under "Natural Landscape

By splitting the hominid and non-hominid fossils however, we lose the Paleontology angle altogether.
A quick wiki check learns that only homo sapiens are considered archaeological. "Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology, but differs from archaeology in that it excludes the study of anatomically modern humans.". So Peking Man, Java Man etc should still be in a natural category or a category of its own (despite labelling as cultural WHS).

We also already have a connection about Early Hominid Remains, and we should be careful not to split a category so far that it becomes a connection.

So my point is: can't we keep a separate category Paleontology. Not under geological formation of course (I've moved the other categories to Natural Landscape already). But maybe it is closer to Wildlife habitat?

P.S.: maybe add something about Evolution? (OUV = key sites for the understanding of human evolution/evolution of humankind,)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#21 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 13:34 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
A quick wiki check learns that only homo sapiens are considered archaeological

Yes I had looked at Wiki also.
Did you look at the next one from Berkeley http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/paleo/paleowhat.html
"Human Paleontology (Paleoanthropology): The study of prehistoric human and proto-human fossils." Generally (but not always - pollen seems to be a potential exception) however the subdivisions here require "fossils".
I don't think that any "Fossil" sites relate to Anatomically Modern Humans - Fossilisation doesn't work that quickly does it? (also ref my point about Wilandra). BUT we have happily placed Archaeological (but not "Fossil" - though they may be "paleontological" if the most extreme claims of the science were to be accepted!) sites for non Anatomically modern Humans mixed in the same category as those for Anatomically modern Humans - e.g Gorham's Cave!! I think we get into problems if we try to divide "non anatomically modern human sites" from those which are "Anatomically modern human"! I would rather limit "Paleontology" to the presence of Fossils even if not all "Paleontologists" would agree 100%!

elsslots:
and we should be careful not to split a category so far that it becomes a connection.

Agree fully but isn't that what you are doing if you split "anatomically modern human" from "non anatomically modern human"? In any case the way round this might sometimes be to drop the Connection rather than not divide the category! If the "Early hominid remains" adds nothing then drop it - this is surely better than mixing sites which UNESCO categorise as Cultural" with those which it does not.

elsslots:
can't we keep a separate category Paleontology

I had presumed we would maintain the "word" but across 2 categories and not "under" "geology" - with the non hominids being under Natural and the Hominids being under "Archaeology". To be "palaeontological" in either grouping "fossils" need to be involved. In the case of the oldest "Human" sites whether anatomically modern or not, if there are no fossils - just bone and other remains then the site is archaeological.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#22 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 14:04 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
We also already have a connection about Early Hominid Remains, and we should be careful not to split a category so far that it becomes a connection.

Further to this. We allow Connections" to include WHS which merely exhibit an aspect as a "part" of their full set of attributes .A Category has to be something more significant - I note that the early hominid remains includes e.g Western Caucasus because this Natural site has some early hominid remains within its boundaries - but it wouldn't be included if this was a "catgeiory". A problem with this Connection is that we haven't defined "Early" in Early hominid and have included both non "anatomically modern" and "anatomically modern". Might be better to define it as being non-modern?? Move all "anatomically modern" sites to the archaeology category and drop this connection

Author elsslots
Admin
#23 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 15:04 
Still trying to get a clear picture: the only reason you'd assign Gorham's cave to archaeological prehistoric is because it has no fossilized Neanderthalers? The caves 'only' show signs of how they lived.

ICOMOS though assigns it a (minor) spot among potential fossil hominid sites, and focuses on human evolution (fossils or no fossils, only findings of species that came before anatomically modern humans)
https://www.icomos.org/en/practical-information/116-english-categories/resources/publ ications/233-potential-fossil-hominid-sites-for-inscription-on-the-world-heritage-lis t

When I look at the OUV statements of the other 8 sites (Atapuerca, Fossil Hominid, Awash, Omo, Carmel, Ngonrongoro, Peking Man, Sangiran), 'fossil' is named 4 times, while 'human evolution' is named 6 times

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#24 | Posted: 26 Feb 2018 16:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
So we have choices for "Dividing points" for "prehistoric sites"
a. Historic / Prehistoric - the latter completely undivided seems too big a period before mankind started writing!
b. Anatomically modern humans /non anatomically modern - is really the same as "evolved" / "evolving". At least this divides up the massive "prehistoric" period!! Presumably ANY hominid OTHER than Homo Sapiens sapiens counts as "non anatomically modern" and therefore "evolving"
c. Fossilized / non fossilised remains. A problem with using this, as you have found, is the possibility/likelihood that the exact nature of the remains might not be mentioned or we will get different answers from different sources. In any case "anatomically modern" seems unlikely to be Fossilised so use of "Fossilised" perhaps doesn't add anything?

So "b" probably seems to be the best definition for "dividing" prehistoric archaeological sites. You can then call the 2 periods what you wish - with or without the words "Paleontology", "Fossil", "Evolution".
Perhaps, as you suggested earlier - "Archaeological - Human Evolution"?? Anything "more modern" - but not assignable to a "culture" which we have separately identified, is - "Archaeological - Prehistoric" (in effect "Prehistoric non specific" - but we don't like Categories called "Other"!!

But that Category has its "problems" too once one really questions its contents!!!
Ibiza should be "Phoenician"?
Gorham we have moved "out"
Wilandra we have moved "in"
Biblical Tells - on the cusp of "Historic" - should be "Near Eastern"?

Author elsslots
Admin
#25 | Posted: 27 Feb 2018 00:07 | Edited by: elsslots 
As a working hypothesis, I for now have split them into:
Paleontology - Human evolution (all before homo sapiens)
and
Paleontology - Non-hominid fossils

Additional WHS to be considered
- Ibiza is Phoenician indeed, I had already changed that this weekend I believe
- Gorham: Paleontology - Human evolution
- Wilandra: into Archaeological prehistoric AND Paleontology - Non-hominid (fossils of giant marsupials)
- Lake Turkana: this may even be both Paleontology - Human evolution AND Non-hominid
- Caves of Ice Age Art: Prehistoric (first modern humans)
- Lenggong Valley: Prehistoric (modern humans, text incorrectly says fossils where it should be skeleton)
- Canadian Rockies: add to Non-hominid (for Burgess Shale)

Connections reconsidered
We even have a connection Fossils: https://www.worldheritagesite.org/connection/Fossils (WHS where fossils are part of the OUV.)
What do we lose when we delete this?

And for the connection Early Hominid Remains we can keep it because of remains found that are not named in OUV. It now also includes early modern humans (such as cro magnon). If we provide a description about the range included in this connection we can keep it I think.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#26 | Posted: 27 Feb 2018 05:17 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
As a working hypothesis, I for now have split them into

Yes -Thanks. An improvement I feel.

On another "Category matter"!
This Web site has 3 different sources for details of inscribed "Cultural Landscapes" (CLs)
a. UNESCO's "official list" - accessed via a search on "Cultural Landscapes" on its Web site
b. On this Web site itself
i. under the "Category" for "Cultural Landscape"
ii. via the "Connections" for "Intentionally designed" (called "clearly defined" by us), "Organically Evolved (which is further subdivided into "Relict" and, "Continuing"), " and "Associative". These being the 4 different types" of CL as defined in the UNESCO Operational Guidelines

Now, ideally, one would hope that our data would be fully consistent across these different "views" of CLs – but that is not the case!!

a. UNESCO lists 102 different currently inscribed CLs (beware multi country sites and Dresden which still gets returned!)
b. We have 105 in our "Category List" (Els – there seems to be an arithmetic error here as the Category list states 106 whilst the Category detail page states, correctly, 105)
c. We have 104 under the 4 "Connections" ("Clearly defined" = 12, "Relict" = 25, "Continuing" = 39, and "Associative" = 32). These "add up" to 108 rather than 104 because 4 have Connections for more than 1 type of CL!

And, because of the various "pluses and minuses", the total number of different WHS which are identified as a CL in at least 1 of the 3 "sources" is actually 118!!!

The difference between the UNESCO and our Category List mainly occurs because UNESCO doesn't "recognise" some WHS as CLs even though all the documentation at the time of inscription stated that they were! How much of this is a "mistake" and how much because the exact details of the WHC/ICOMOS conclusions are not available isn't clear across all examples. Our Category list also misses a few WHS which UNESCO does recognise as CLs.

The differences between our "Connection" and "Category" lists occur because we recognise some WHS as being CLs on 1 list but not the other (in both directions!!). Some of those on "Connection" but not "Category" ARE on the UNESCO list and some are not. Also because we haven't assigned a "CL Type" to every CL we do recognise!

Before we dive in and start making changes I think we need to determine a few principles
a. Do we want to bother to sort out these discrepancies?
b. What should determine a CL's place on the "Category" List? Do we make it coincide with the UNESCO list and (e.g) identify other "potential" CL WHS via a "Connection" for "Described as CL at inscription but not on UNESCO list". The alternative is to add all the others - but my preference would be to maintain this hard link to the UNESCO list and deal with other matters "inside" the Web site
c. Do we make guesses ("Informed" of course!) for the missing CL Types? There is no other source of info so it is either that or leave them "untyped"!

It is somewhat unfortunate that the Category List of CLs is as big as it is – the 2nd largest just behind "Religious Structures - Christian". I wondered whether it might be worth considering moving it up a "level". We have "Urban Landscape" and "Natural Landcape" each with sub categories. We could have "Cultural Landscape" with the 5 sub categories being "Relict" etc and take them out of "Connections" (they are just a sub-division of Category after all).

The discrepancies are rather complex to list. If we do decide to attack them it would probably be best if I sent you the spreadsheet identifying them Els.

Author elsslots
Admin
#27 | Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:12 
Solivagant:
We have 105 in our "Category List" (Els – there seems to be an arithmetic error here as the Category list states 106 whilst the Category detail page states, correctly, 105)

This was also due to Dresden! I've corrected it

Solivagant:
It is somewhat unfortunate that the Category List of CLs is as big as it is – the 2nd largest just behind "Religious Structures - Christian". I wondered whether it might be worth considering moving it up a "level". We have "Urban Landscape" and "Natural Landcape" each with sub categories. We could have "Cultural Landscape" with the 5 sub categories being "Relict" etc and take them out of "Connections" (they are just a sub-division of Category after all).

Yes I do think this is a good idea. I do remember however that finding out whether it is really a CL (and what kind) took some educated guesses from our side. Disadvantage of moving them to a category is that there is no room for additional explanation there (I think it should be self-explaining when one looks at the Unesco source). Those that need additional info (because it is an educated guess) should remain in a connection.

Solivagant:
b. What should determine a CL's place on the "Category" List? Do we make it coincide with the UNESCO list and (e.g) identify other "potential" CL WHS via a "Connection" for "Described as CL at inscription but not on UNESCO list". The alternative is to add all the others - but my preference would be to maintain this hard link to the UNESCO list and deal with other matters "inside" the Web site

Mine too.

If you have the spreadsheet already, I'd love to receive it by e-mail.

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