Hi Els, Have just been looking at our email exchanges on this subject from way back in Sept 2005 when we first started trying to put together a "Category List" - all the same old issues arise now as were tossed around then!! But I guess we have 16 years of experience and the system has stood up pretty well and, IMO, doesn't need major surgery! But I am not sure that "Burials" is the "only" place with a problem - however there is undoubtedly one there and I think we can best solve it by allowing 2 categories in the circumstances you identify. The problem then becomes - in what other circumstances are 2 categories justified.
A couple of principles
a. We continue to try to achieve our objectives within 1 category per site
b. We only move to 2 categories in cases where, after discussion, you agree that to do so adds insight and value.
Could we settle about a distinction between two kinds of categories, a "qualitative" and a "factual" one, which can get combined? So, we might regard a category assigned to a WHS as actually comprised of two such elements, not necessarily both, but at least one.
An interesting, and useful distinction, but, as Els replies, (and without going into the detailed examples you provide and whether they are all valid) we are already managing, in many cases, to cover the 2 types within the current list. The "Factual" often gets subdivided into the "Qualitative" - but only as long as there are not too many subdivisions - and that raises the issue of which subdivisions and how many are "too many" (and what to do with the odds and ends which don't fit into a subdivision)! The problem" with Burial places is the intersection of 2 "value adding" factual aspects (what it was built for and what it is used for)- at least one of which has its own qualitative subdivisions (which religion)!
I am not in favor of mixing the natural categories with the cultural ones. So no Spas within volcanic/thermal.
Here I believe that an elegant and effcient solution would be to apply the United Nations geoscheme of subregions. So yes, we would have Central Asian, and rightly so!
I note that the UN list has 22 subdivisions. Do we really want to get involved in subdividing "Europe" into N, E , S and W? And any individual site might, because of history and being close to a current frontier, actually exhibit the characteristics from a different part of Europe - we don't want blindly to follow a subdivision created for different purposes. On the whole we want no more geographic subdivisions than are necessary in order to avoid mixing sites from very different cultural traditions within a large list. I think we all agree that the distinction between our current geographical split of "Arabic/Middle Eastern" and "Asian" for Urban Landscape isn't very good/useful. I note also that it doesn't coincide with our geographic subdivision of Archaeological sites - "Near Easterm", "Far Eastern", "South (East) Asian". That may be justified but is worth looking at??
Using the UN division they cover Western, Southern, Central, Eastern and S Eastern. It is "interesting" that, what with our "European viewpoint" we categorise as "Middle Eastern", gets called "Western Asian"!! My own personal view is that we should have 3 geographic subdivisions rather than UN's 5 (and our existing 2) - Middle East/Arab (which, for us includes "Arab N Africa" unlike the UN definition), Asian (to include the UN Central and Southern Asia) and East Asia (comprising UN's East and S East). A compromise between having too many and too few and recognising the close affinities between India and Central Asia on one hand and China/S East Asia on the other. But, I wouldn't object to having 5 - Just having "Asia" is certainly too big.
In all cases with Categories the aim is mainly to produce a logical subset which isn't too big or too small but provides a "population" valid in its own right and capable of being further subdivided as required by each of us - I would be happy to look at an Asian category of up to c50 WHS and mentally see how many of them were "Central Asian"....or any other subgrouping I might find interesting.