Archaeological Resources and the Protection of Cultural Services
This chapter outlines the exceptional potential of wetland environments to preserve organic archaeological remains and associated evidence of past environments (the palaeoenvironmental record) that rarely, if ever, survives in terrestrial contexts. The future preservation of these records are closely tied to the fate of wetlands environments and processes such as erosion, development, drainage and pollution that impact negatively on these ecosystems represent a threat to the long term survival of the resource. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that our knowledge of the archaeological potential of wetlands across the world tends to be focussed on areas that are already threatened by processes that have exposed archaeological sites, for example by peat cutting. Organic archaeological remains and deposits tend to be very fragile and vulnerable, and further research is necessary to understand the prospects for the long term preservation and protection of different sites. Whilst there are examples of efforts to protect threatened sites and landscapes, significant challenges remain in terms of ensuring that wetland management, policies and conservation strategies take account of the particular value as well as the specific threats to the archaeological resource in different wetland environments the world over.
KeywordsArchaeology Palaeoecology Ecosystem services Heritage management
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