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Author winterkjm
#16 | Posted: 25 Jul 2011 15:52 
As far as Denfeng, I am all for dating a site to what can actually still be found at the site. This one makes Denfeng particulary tough.

"Evidence for human occupation around the mountain dates back to Palaeolithic times with rich finds in, for instance, the Zhiji cave. During the Neolithic period, the mountain had one of the most advanced cultures in China, as demonstrated by finds related to the Longshan culture at Wangchenggang in Dengfeng."

- Nomination File

From this excerpt you can easily connect the site to Paleolithic and Mesolithic, and Neolithic. Particularly because there is tangible evidence. However, I agree with Els it is probably more accurate to date the site from the Han dynasty. We might have to review some of the other ancient mountain sites in China, because we should keep the dating relatively compatable. I have noticed some other Chinese mountain sites are dated from ancient evidence of human habitation, while what remains is from later Chinese dynasties.

Perhaps there could be a rule: a WHS can only be dated to one specific century, however if there is ancient evidence in a certain period like Neolithic, Paleolithic, etc. than it would be appropriate to date the site twice?

Author winterkjm
#17 | Posted: 25 Jul 2011 16:08 
This is another tough site to date.

Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu

"Built to commemorate him in 478 B.C., the temple has been destroyed and reconstructed over the centuries."

This is when the complex was constructed, however there may be nothing left that is from the 5th century BC (perhaps some tombs, maybe? I saw many of the tombs when I visited the site in 2008 and many were indeed ancient) The site was rebuilt numerous times during the Han, Tang, Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The latest reconstruction being around 1895! There are some signifigant stone remains from the Han dynasty. (Han stone reliefs)

From the nomination file the general layout of the complex seemed to be developed during the Tang dynasty. Numerous fires consumed the complex multiple times however. So I am perplexed on which date should best match this site.

Author Solivagant
#18 | Posted: 26 Jul 2011 05:56 | Edited by: Solivagant 
A principle I have tried to use when something has been rebuilt is what design/style was chosen. A complete redesign even on the original site should, I suggest, be dated as at the date of the redesign. A reconstruction to an earlier design (even if inaccurate or incorporating later features) should be dated at the period whose design has been replicated.

Thus I would suggest that the Temple of Confuciius should be regarded as Ming (16C) . Wiki states" "Because the last major redesign following the fire in 1499 took place shortly after the building of the Forbidden City in the Ming Dynasty, the architecture of the Temple of Confucius resembles that of the Forbidden City in many ways." That seems to me to be significant and puts the Ming dating ahead of any contending claims.

I would probably decide the same for the Kong Mansion as it seems to have reached its greatest extent under their redesign/expansion
"During a rebuilding in 1377 directed by the first Ming dynasty Emperor, it was moved a short distance away from the temple. In 1503, it was expanded into three rows of buildings with 560 rooms and - like the Confucius Temple - 9 courtyards. The mansion underwent a complete renovation in 1838 only to perish in a fire 47 years later in 1887. It was rebuilt two years later; the cost of both 19th century renovations was covered by the Emperor"

As for the Cemetery? There is no clear single period and so many are represented that it probably isn't worth choosing any date.

The text could identify the very first date involved and some of the intervening ones!

Author winterkjm
#19 | Posted: 26 Jul 2011 21:35 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I would agree concerning the buildings. The design is from the Ming dynasty. However, the cemetery is an important part of the nomination and some of the oldest tombs have been dated to the Zhou dynasty following the death of Confucius. Shouldn't that be considered? The WHS is called the Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu. Tough call.

After some thought, I decided to connect the site to the 16th century, and just mention some tombs in the cemetery date back to the Zhou dynasty.

Author Solivagant
#20 | Posted: 30 Jul 2011 04:30 
I note that Vienna has 2 Time line entries - "Built in the" 19th and 20th centuries. It also has an entry for "Contains significant structures from the 2Oth Century".

I wonder if the 20th century Time Line entry is justified in addition to the "significant buildings" entry? I feel that consecutive "Time Line Centuries" are normally not justified unless perhaps at opposite ends of the respective centuries and rperesenting a signficant aspect of the site's "spirit" - a double entry should really relate to 2 quite different "golden periods" which are "on show". Thus Bath, in my view, has a distinct dual heritage separated by many centuries - that of 1st C AD Rome and 18th C Georgian.

If Vienna were to justify an additional second Time Line should it not relate to its mediaeval past? Perhaps 13th C for the basic street layout, early parts of Hofburg, much of St Stephens and Michaelerkirche etc?

I guess a case could be made out for a Time Line entry for the (mainly early) 18th Century too when the city had another "building boom" (the phrase used in the Nom File!) up to the death of Maria Theresa creating its Baroque aspects - but tihs period could be said to be "represented" by the separate inscription of Schönbrunn Palace?


Author Assif
#21 | Posted: 30 Jul 2011 09:50 
I think the 19th Century Ring is also a significant part of the OUV.

Author Solivagant
#22 | Posted: 30 Jul 2011 10:59 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Sorry Assif - perhaps I didn't make it clear but I regard the 19th C Time line as "definite" and therefore didn't "argue" in favour of it - a very large part of the city is undoubtedly 19th C in spirit and architecture. My question relates to whether it is also 20th C enough in spirit and architecture to justify that link as well - and what other periods, if any, should it be linked to. I personally don't think it justifies a 20th c link other than via the "contains significant structures" Connection (not something we do for every century but it seems worthwhile to do so for 20th/21st centuries to highlight where there are "modern" buildings within an inscribed area).
I was suggesting the 13th C as a definite and querying whether an 18th C time line link was justified.
We know that "continuity cities" can be linked to many centuries if all that is required is that there should be some buildings from the century - but a connection which links to many centuries loses value and says nothing special about the place!
"Vienna is at heart a "nth" century city" - answer with no more than 2 centuries (well 3 if absolutely necessary!). What would you say!

Author Assif
#23 | Posted: 30 Jul 2011 15:42 
Now that I understand you correctly I completely agree. First, despite the significant buildings from the 20th Century which as you say are already connected with ´significant buildings´ the city´s OUV is certainly not derived from them. I think Vienna could be a good precedence for three centuries corresponding to the three main sections of the inscribed area: Medievil (many churches and residences), Baroque (Hofburg and Belveder) and 19th Century (Ring). Now it to determine which of the medievil centuries is the most significant one. I think Solivagant's argument in favour of the 13th Century is a good one.

Author Assif
#24 | Posted: 1 Aug 2011 06:42 
I tried to evaluate the appropriate time period for most prehistoric sites. I found myself confronting problems regarding the dating of Ngorongoro. Anyone wishing to help?

Author Solivagant
#25 | Posted: 1 Aug 2011 07:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The Nom file of course emphasises the completeness of the period covered
"NCA contains numerous palaeontological, archaeological and anthropological sites of exceptional quality significantly contributing knowledge on the biological evolution of early hominids to anatomically modern humans (from Australopithecus afarensis to Paranthropus (Zinjanthropus) boisei, and the Homo lineage that include Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens) and the associated technological evolution with time from about 4m.y.a to the present. The living culture of the Maasai communities identified with the nominated property is of an outstanding significance for effective conservation."

I personally would have thought that its real OUV relates to Olduvai and Laetoli rather than to more "recent" stone age and on through to "present".

So I would say "Pliocene" (5.332 to 2.58 mya) and Pleistocene (2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP - does anyone know the origins of these 2 sets of period dates by the way?)
Laetoli is c 3.6mya
Oldowan toolmaking possibly started into the Pliocene but its remains are generally more "modern"

And a question from me .
What century would you assign to Dubrovnik - you have done a review so you know it (and I have spent a day there)?
I have identified the period(s) involved
"After the Crusades "Ragusa" came under the sovereignty of Venice but achieved independence in 1358 and ran itself as a semi independent state until the early 19th century, first as a vassal of Hungary, and, from 1440, paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire. "The Republic reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries, when its thalassocracy rivalled that of Venice and other Italian maritime republics." (Wiki)
It significant buildings cross the centuries but a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 levelled much of the city".

But I can't really identify a single century which is well represented above others by extant buildings.

Author elsslots
#26 | Posted: 2 Aug 2011 13:34 | Edited by: elsslots 
Hoi An
"By the 15th century Hoi An was already the most important port of the powerful Champa Kingdom..... , becoming one of the most important centres ... in South-East Asia... especially during its most flourishing period from the late 16th century to the early 18th century...Most of the buildings in Hoi An are in the traditional architectural style of the 18th to 20th centuries.... (A) survey of important historic buildings .. shows that, in their present form most of these date to the 19th century, but a considerable proportion have earlier features going back to the 17th and 18th centuries.(The)wooden bridge...has existed from at least the early 18th century...but it has been reconstructed many times." (AB)

>> A pretty difficult one too. From having been there, I would say that the old merchant's houses are its main feature. These date mainly from the 19th century. But somehow that century feels "too late" to represent the site as a whole. Hoi An started to prosper from the maritime trade between Europe and Asia from the 15th century on. And that's very characteristic too ("outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international commercial port. " is one of the reasons for inclusion) .

Solivagant, you brought it forward. What do you think? You were in doubt between the 18th and 19th, but it could even be earlier.

Author elsslots
#27 | Posted: 2 Aug 2011 14:03 
Regarding Dubrovnik: I would go for 15th century:

- Rector's palace (1436 rebuilt in gothic style)
- Onofrio fountain (1438)
- City walls (The present shape of the walls was defined in the 14th century after the city gained its full independence from Venetian suzerainty, but the peak of its construction lasted from the beginning of the 15th century until the latter half of the 16th century)
- reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries, when its thalassocracy rivalled that of Venice and other Italian maritime republics

Author Solivagant
#28 | Posted: 3 Aug 2011 03:06 | Edited by: Solivagant 
When we started on the "Built in.." timelines I guess we didn't fully know the sort of issues we would hit and have had to develop "case law" as we have gone on. As a result, I expect we haven't been fully consistent either over the time we have been doing the "exercise" or between those of us who have been contributing to it!

So the "hard case" of Hoi An perhaps provides a useful opportunity to review where we are – in fact it could be a help to think through and "write down" a few more guidelines now that we have done so many of the sites

What options do we have with Hoi An
a. Accept that most of the buildings on which its OUV is based are 19C – it may be "surprising" and not fit our (possibly "romantic" and at least partially "uneducated") picture of what Hoi An is but there we are.
b. Push it back to 18C on the basis that the original bridge was probably built then and many of the OUV buildings have some 18C "features".
c. Push it back to 17C because that was the central point of Hoi An's "golden period ("its most flourishing period from the late 16th century to the early 18th century") –even though we know of no extant buildings from that period. Presumably (?) much of the lay-out of the town (and hence its "feel") dates back to then.
d. Push it back to 16C on the basis that its most flourishing period started then and we are better off taking the "starting" rather than the "central" point of that era.
e. Push it back to 15C on the basis that "By the 15th century Hoi An was already the most important port of the powerful Champa Kingdom" even though we know of no structures from that period.

We have earlier (Sgang Gwaay) discussed the issue of using "physical remains" when dating WHS – and concluded then that we should home in on these in preference to less tangible (subjective?) aspects such as "feel". This creates problems however in some cultural landscapes where what is in situ today might well be largely a collection of 20C mud huts with corrugated iron roofs! We seem to have decided that, in such cases we should home in on the period when that culture first took possession of the area and started to develop its landscape "culturally"

We have also discussed the issue of sites where rebuilding has taken place over the centuries (Qufu) and concluded that we should take the style used for the rebuild as the prime factor. So Qufu provides a "Ming" style and this overtakes the claims of both earlier buildings which have been replaced in part or in whole and later buildings/reconstructions which have maintained that style. Warsaw provides a case in point – we haven't dated it yet but will we call it 20C because it was rebuilt then or choose the period whose "style" has been maintained?

We have also developed the "policy" of looking at the OUV arguments and using these to help choose a period from among several which may be represented in the site. Gobustan contains petroglyphs right up to the middle ages and all have been catalogued and included in the site boundaries but its OUV is based on the significance of the early periods when the Caspian coastal topography and climate was very different.

We have looked at the issue of using "multiple periods" for a single WHS and concluded that this could be done where really justified by significant extant remains which are recognised in the OUV (E.g Vienna should have 3?) but that we should guard against having consecutive centuries since these tend to merge into each other unless they relate to stylistic conventions from opposite "ends" of those centuries (E.g Early 18C and mid 19C for Vienna). We should also avoid using it just to handle "hard cases?

Where developments straddle a century or an event happened at the very beginning or very end we have tried to use the century which is more natural. The founding of a town in xx98 doesn't necessarily make it a site from that century since the building of the town would have gone on well into the next century and the later assignment might therefore be far more appropriate . On the other hand if the site was a single building whose plans were based on the style of that century it would seem better to use it even if construction continued well into the next.

No doubt we have developed other guidelines, policies and approaches when faced with awkward choices – can anyone identify them? I guess it is important always to identify WHY we are doing this! Ok it is a bit of a "game" and an excuse to find out more about some of the sites but it also helps us place sites in time in relation to others, identify where there is possible "over-representation" of a period etc etc and seems a "worthwhile" use of time (to some of us at least!!). But we cannot aim at complete "accuracy" on matters which have a significant judgemental element!

So, what of Hoi An? Based on the "guidelines" I have listed I must admit I am inclined to stick with 19C from among the options above!! (But I wouldn't die in a ditch on it and am happy to receive alternative arguments). It may not fit our idea of what Hoi An is (and, like Els, I have been there) but "facts are facts"! (Regarding Dubrovnik I am happy enough with 14C)

Author elsslots
#29 | Posted: 6 Aug 2011 08:33 | Edited by: elsslots 
I think it's also about the order in which you apply the "rules" stated above:

1. I always start with going to the AB evaluation, and look for the OUV statement (in the newer documents) or the explanation of the Criteria why it was made a WHS. Sometimes this will already give you a year or a time-span. If so, then I stop looking further.

If not, I will go on searching using the hints that are given in the OUV / Criteria: for example: medieval trade town, Phoenician settlement, Bronze Age rock art.

2. I will search the AB evaluation for years or centuries that stand out and are linked to the OUV. So if a medieval trade town also has some Roman ruins, I stick with dating it to the Middle Ages.
Sometimes the OUV will point to two or more flourishing periods, this will result in attribution of multiple periods to a site. (only if they are not consecutive)

3. If there is a longer period, say 12th-16th centuries, I will take the earliest date (12th).

4. When it's still not clear to which period the WHS belongs, I use the dates of the construction of the major monuments (a cathedral, a Roman theatre etc) to determine its age. I then also start looking at other internet sources (wiki and others). But still I am not looking for the oldest structure on site, but the oldest major structure that can be linked to the OUV.

Furthermore, specific rules apply for cultural landscapes (I like to date them to the period when the practice stated in its OUV started, so when they started to grow vineyards on terraces etc). And I agree that the style of any major rebuilding decides if we date it to the original period or to the period of its reconstruction.

Author elsslots
#30 | Posted: 6 Aug 2011 09:18 
If I apply this to Hoi An:

1. Its OUV lies in "fusion of cultures over time" and "traditional Asian trading port" .

2. Under "Qualities" in the same AB evaluation it is mentioned that Hoi An declined in the later 19th century.
The "Description" focuses on the houses (surviving ones are 19th century), pagodas (19th century, but originated in 17th and 18th centuries) and the bridge (early 18th but reconstructed many times). In their present form most of these date to the 19th century, but a considerable proportion have earlier features going back to the 17th and 18th centuries
We learn that the "fusion of cultures" applies to Chinese and some Japanes influences. The "traditional Asian trading port" may apply to its role as "one of the most important centres of mercantile, and hence cultural, exchange in South-East Asia from the late 16th century to the early 18th century."

>> I would conclude from this that our answer lies between the late 16th and late 19th century.

Personally, I would now apply rule number 3: go for the earliest date within a certain time span. So this would be 16th century.

We could also dive in further. Fortunately this WHS has a nomination document available:
- it confirms that the commercial harbour developed from the late 16th century on
- it mentions that there are tombs left from the late 18th century, pagoda stele from the 17th and 18th centuries, the bridge from 1719
- there is a list of all monuments including their century of construction (15-19 centuries), with architecture dating from the 17th-20th centuries

Pff - difficult. I would still go for one of the earlier dates (16th) rather than the 19th century. Mainly reflecting on its OUV - the "traditional asian trading port" belongs to the 16th or maybe an even earlier period. The "fusion of cultures over time" has to have happened over the consecutive centuries (until the 19th century), though it certainly did not start in the 19th century but happened somewhere along the way.

P.S.: (I usually try to ignore the Justification By State Party and the History paragraphs, as they are often either inaccurate or name every period between the Stone age and the 20th century)

Any thoughts on this "logic"?

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