Archeological sites have become an important defining feature of a nation state; no nationalist agenda is complete without a World Heritage site. Rapidly globalizing postcolonial countries appear on the map symbolized by flags, national anthems, state flowers, and ancient monuments (Barkan and Bush 2003; Kohl 1998). But when heritage and national identity become synonymous with prominent cultural resources, politically motivated destructive impulses are given an effective target (Abu el-Haj 1998; Kohl and Fawcett 1995; Meskell 1998). The most famous recent example of this was the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2002 by the Taliban in an effort to seize control of the global identity of Afghanistan. Other examples are less widely televised or have their significance blurred, as when US and Polish troops’ use of the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq as a military depot causing irreparable damage is reported as “a good and decent impulse, to protect the ancient site of Babylon” (McCarthy and Kennedy 2005) that somehow went innocently awry. Often when there is conflict over heritage, sites suffer destruction simply through the inattention of government officials who disregard looting, vandalism, and the recycling of archeological materials. In Babylon, “Vast amounts of sand and earth, visibly mixed with archeological fragments, were gouged from the site to fill thousands of sandbags and metal mesh baskets” (Deblauwe 2005).


Archeological Site Participatory Action Research Kitchen Garden Heritage Management Cultural Resource Management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Anne Pyburn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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