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Author Solivagant
#46 | Posted: 9 Aug 2011 09:24 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I don't think I would go as late as 13th.
Wiki "In 1135 and 1137, Pisa sacked the city and the glory of Amalfi was past."
But its political decline seems to have predated the Pisan sacking - "in 1073 it fell to the Norman countship of Apulia, but was granted many rights. A prey to the Normans who encamped in the south of Italy, it became one of their principal posts. However, in 1131, it was reduced by King Roger II of Sicily, who had been refused the keys to its citadel"

Even 11th seems a bit towards the end of its "golden period"? The AB says "This political autonomy enabled Amalfi to become a maritime trading power between the early 9th and late llth centuries" . OK Ravello Cathedral is given at 1087.

What about its growth trajectory?- "An independent republic from the 7th century until 1075, Amalfi extracted itself from Byzantine vassalage and first elected a duke in 958; it rivalled Pisa and Genoa in its domestic prosperity and maritime importance, before the rise of Venice. In spite of some devastating setbacks it had a population of some 70,000, reaching a peak about the turn of the millennium, during the reign of Duke Manso (9661004)" (Wiki)

So 10C saw it at its peak? Among the Churches mentioned in the AB is the Church of San Salvatore de' Bireto (10th century).

So I think it is a toss-up between 9C and 10C. But I think I would go for 9C - the Cathedral seems to be based on the 9C "Basilica of the Crucifix" - although it was being built/extended throughout the Amalfitano period.
And clearly by 9C it was already a siginificant player.
"Merchants of Amalfi were using gold coins to purchase land in the 9th century, while most of Italy worked in a barter economy. In the 8th and 9th century, when Mediterranean trade revived it shared with Gaeta the Italian trade with the East, while Venice was in its infancy, and in 848 its fleet went to the assistance of Pope Leo IV against the Saracens." (Wiki)

Author elsslots
#47 | Posted: 10 Aug 2011 10:39 
An interesting one to look at also is Toledo. Its justification mentions no less than 5 important era's, and in the criteria 8 different centuries are named.

Author Solivagant
#48 | Posted: 10 Aug 2011 11:46 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I think I would start by eliminating those with the least claim based on the sort of "rules" we have developed - OUV/Extant etc
a. Roman 2C - ok it has the Aqueduct(s) and some other remains (together with an often rebuilt bridge) - but loads of European cities have some Roman remains which we haven't seen as "central" to their OUV. Naturally they get a mention but don't make a place a "roman city" as seen from today. My "Insight Guide to Spain" states "Little is left of the Roman occupation
b. Visigothic. 6C OK there were the important "councils" and they had it as Capital and helped form the Toledo we see today. But as far as I can find out there are no significant Visigothic remains in Toledo - there is a museum in the de-consecrated Iglesia San Roman but that building is Mudejar. There are some fine Visigothic churches in the Province nearby but not in today's Toledo. Please put me right if I am wrong
c. Moorish 8C- 11C. there are the 10C Mesquita Cristo de la Luz, the 11C Mesquita de la Tornerias and a few other remains of Hammans etc. Well - possibly - but my feeling is that Toledo's main extant OUV commences after its Castilian conquest in 1085. Clearly what went before is important and "unique" but not enough to lead one to call Toledo an "XX Century city" where XX is 11th or before??

I would think that the energy released by the reconquest as evidenced from the 12C and its role within the developing "Spain" means that the answer is to be found thereafter. But I would need to think more about those remaining periods -does anyone know Toledo well enough to do this?

Author elsslots
#49 | Posted: 10 Aug 2011 12:24 
I also had ruled out a and b.

Significant buildings include:
- The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered to be the pinnacle of the Gothic style in Spain.
- The Alcazar (11th century) and (16th century , Under emperor Charles V, it is rebuilt once more, this time by architect Alonso de Covarrubias)

A lot "evolved" and altered during the course of time. What we now see might be 16th century mostly:
"the temporary seat of the supreme power under Charles V, who endowed it with the status of imperial and crowned city. The irreversible economic and political decadence of Toledo after 1561, when Phillip II chose Madrid as his capital once and for all, miraculously spared this museum-city"

Author Solivagant
#50 | Posted: 10 Aug 2011 14:32 
I note the 18C entry currently recorded for Toledo. I wouldn't have thought anything after 16C with the move of the capital would be justified - ok there are buildings from after but not really a part of the "Spirit of Toledo?

13C seems pretty firm with the Cathedral/El Transito/Santiago del Arrabal - but I can't decide between 15C and 16C - buildings from both and also straddling them. El Greco operating in late 16C ... But how to choose? or even not to have either?

Author elsslots
#51 | Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:17 
I'll leave it at 13th for now.
I earlier had 18th, because that was the first of the many centuries I encountered in the AB evaluation (but that's too late and not significant enough)

Author elsslots
#52 | Posted: 12 Aug 2011 00:49 
I've finished them all, and plotted them on a proper Timeline.

Any thoughts?

Author Solivagant
#53 | Posted: 12 Aug 2011 03:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Well done.
When I look at them I am trying not to "nit pick" about the assignment of particular sites - - we can argue over many of them til the cows come home - perhaps some will need/justify later adjustment but the current assignments are good enough at the moment and we should avoid too many adjustments at the detail level for the time being. The more interesting aspects at the moment are to identify/highlight patterns , trends, surprises etc

What patterns are we likely to be interested in and what presentation would be best to bring them out and illustrate them? But also how best to do so without requiring a major programming effort by you Els!!

A few thoughts occur to me - but not yet definite or thought through
a. Might the text be better as "mouse-over" so as to get all the sites of a century on a single screen - perhaps keep the current full version as well since you have already done it
b. That would leave a lot of space to the right of the site titles - how many columns could you get across if you wrapped titles - it would be nice to have a column for each major region of the world to highlight what was "going on" in each century in each (and across) region. UN regions aren't always the most helpful however - and do you have an attribute for region on your dB? Also by having more than one column each full century (and more) would fit on a screen at a time.
c. What sequence would be best within each century - I can't work out what the current one is - at times it seems alpha but then not! Ideally those known to be early would appear first and vv - but for many sites we had a hard enough time just deciding on a century let alone a sequence within!! But many do have a patricular date which is significant

Author winterkjm
#54 | Posted: 12 Aug 2011 04:58 
Looking over the complete timeline, it seems there should be much more sites from the 7th and 8th centuries. Considering this is the "golden age" of the Silk Road. There is certainly a small bump in sites in the 8th century. Particularly with the spread of Buddhism to Korea and Japan in the 7th and 8th century. Nevertheless, with the Silk Road transnational nominations going ahead soon, this seminal event in world history should be better represented.

Author Khuft
#55 | Posted: 12 Aug 2011 13:37 | Edited by: Khuft 
Just one question re Schokland: is it really 20th century? As I understood it, the OUV of Schokland is the fight of its former inhabitants against the Zuiderzee, and not the creation of the Noordoostpolder in the 20th century (which itself is still on the tentative list for exactly that reason). Wouldn't 19th century fit better (i.e. the time when the inhabitants finally gave up and deserted Schokland)?

(BTW: Great work! Must have been very time-consuming to sort out all those sites!)

Author elsslots
#56 | Posted: 13 Aug 2011 01:15 
re Schokland: is it really 20th century?

Very good one.

criterion iii and v say: "one of the greatest and most visionary human achievements of the
twentieth century" - it is obviously referring to the Noordoostpolder

If we would have 19th century, the struggle against water would have been lost if not for the 20th century reclamation of land. Proposed criterion vi by the Netherlands (which was not awarded by ICOMOS): "the grim battle against the rising water that seemed lost in 1859 when the island was finally evacuated. This battle was eventually won when new land around the island was reclaimed by the Zuyder zee works"

I checked the proposed Noordoostpolder OUV. It has the (different) focus on rural planning and social construction, not on water management.

Author Solivagant
#57 | Posted: 13 Aug 2011 03:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
This "Timeline exercise" has highlighted for me the many "problems" with Criteria and OUV across a number of sites. I am still "reeling" from the realisation the "Historic City of Warsaw" isn't inscribed for being "historic" but because it represents "the inner strength and determination of the nation" etc in reconstructing it!!

Sometimes the difficulties come from inconsistency in the documentation and un-thought through compromises. In the case of Schokland, NL proposed 3 specific Criteria statements under the generic definitions of iii, v and vi. ICOMOS clearly didn't accept vi and concludes its review with the words
"That this property be inscribed on the world Heritage List on the basis of criteria iii and v". It then provides a SINGLE statement including the words quoted by Els ("one of the greatest and most visionary human achievements of 20C"). As far as I can see this phrase doesn't appear anywhere else - but is repeated in the WHC Decision minutes

What is this statement? It isn't a statement of the criteria since it is a single comment covering 2 criteria. Presumably therefore it must be THE statement of "OUV"? But it doesn't reflect what NL asked for in its specific criteria iii and iv. Furthermore the arguments by ICOMOS as recorded in its review don't include anything about a possible "Twentieth Century" dimension let alone alone that this should be regarded as paramount! It just seems to have been picked out of the air. In fact NL seems to have been arguing just the opposite that the "Zuider Zee works" and subsequent "agricultural mechanisation" threaten these "last vestiges" as represented by Schokland!

Els is correct to point to this statement we have nothing else to go on but we should perhaps recognise that a lot of what exists in WHC documentation is inaccurate and illogical. But the Warsaw statement in fact came about, not as the result of a set of words hastily cobbled together at a WHC but after a process of retrospective reconsideration of the "Statements of significance and OUV"

Author Khuft
#58 | Posted: 13 Aug 2011 07:56 
we should perhaps recognise that a lot of what exists in WHC documentation is inaccurate and illogical

Well, I guess that in the eighties and nineties the WHC was less formalistic/thorough than it has become in the meantime...

I think it makes sense to quote the full decision minutes of the WHC in the case of Schokland, as the 20th century aspect is not the only one highlighted:

The Committee decided to inscribe this site on the basis of criteria (iii) and (v), considering that Schokland and its surroundings preserve the last surviving evidence of a prehistoric and early historic society that had adapted to the precarious life of wetland setlements under the constant threat of temporary or permanent incursions by the sea. Schokland is included in the agricultural landscape created by the reclamation of the former Zuyder Zee, part of the never-ceasing struggle of the people of the Netherlands against water, and one of the greatest and most visionary human achievements of the twentieth century.

The "prehistoric and early historic" elements of Schokland are clearly mentioned first (even though no specific century is named). Only thereafter does it state that nowadays Schokland is included within the visionary achievement of the Noordoostpolder - which sounds more like a description of location rather than a description of the site itself (e.g. similar to stating that the Tower of London is located close to the visionary works of 21st century bank architecture of the City of London). Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that Schokland itself - from the descriptions I can find of it - does not really include any 20th century structures (apart from the part of the polder included within the boundaries of the site - but are those parts actually representative of the Noordoostpolder itself?).

On the WHC website, the "Brief Description" and the "Long Description" do highlight much more the ancient (i.e. pre 20th century) aspects of Schokland. (BTW: does anyone know what value these Brief and Long descriptions have? As they're on the WHC website, they have an official stamp of approval, however they do not seem to quote the original decision minutes...).

Sorry to focus so much on this Schokland issue - ultimately I'm indifferent how it is classified, but for me it's a case-study in how/whether to use WHC official documentation for purposes for which it was not originally intended (ie. create a timeline of WHC sites).

In a nutshell, I agree with Solivagant and wonder whether instead of basing our decisions solely on whatever official documents there may be we should also make use - where necessary - of other external sources to make our own judgement of a site's value...

Author elsslots
#59 | Posted: 13 Aug 2011 08:48 | Edited by: elsslots 
the "Brief Description" and the "Long Description

They are on about the same level as Wikipedia - sometimes providing more up-to-date information about a WHS, sometimes inaccurate or non-related to its OUV. I guess they are written by Unesco-scribes/journalists.

If we look at Schokland again (and more freely than pinpointing it to the OUV-statement), it is clear that the struggle of its inhabitants againts the water took place over a long time, at least 15th-19th century. A bit similar to the story of the Curonian Spit. So it's a clear example of continuous evolvement, of which we normally take the start date.

However - I would stick to 20th century, because:
- the Schokland website (in Dutch) also focuses on the symbolic aspect of finally "winning" the battle against the water
- and also "een van de grootste visionaire en technische werken van de twintigste eeuw" - one of the greatest visionary and technical works of the 20th century

>> this seems to prove that the reclamation of land for the Noordoostpolder, bringing to an end the struggle of its former inhabitants that were losing the battle, actually is the OUV of Schokland (the epogee of an era of struggle)

Author Solivagant
#60 | Posted: 13 Aug 2011 12:47 
this seems to prove that the reclamation of land for the Noordoostpolder, bringing to an end the struggle of its former inhabitants that were losing the battle, actually is the OUV of Schokland

Hmm . but which came first? Isn't the Schokland Web site quoting from the UNESCO site which is quoting from the ICOMOS statement ....

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