Plain of Jars could receive World Heritage status in July

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via Vientiane Times, 04 Feb 2019: Laos expects that the Plain of Jars will be listed in the the World Heritage list later this year.

Good news is expected for Laos’ Plain of Jars (Thong Hai Hin) in July when UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meets to make a decision on the site’s status, a government official said last week.

Director General of the Heritage Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Thongbay Phothisan, said that after a lot of hard work to process the necessary paperwork, he hopes the Plain of Jars will soon be listed by UNESCO as Laos’ third World Heritage Site.

Source: Vientiane Times

Towering success: scientists work on My Son relics

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Restoration of My Son Sanctuary. Source: Vietnam Net, 20190202
Restoration of My Son Sanctuary. Source: Vietnam Net, 20190202

via Vietnam Net, 02 Feb 2019: An update of the restoration work on the My Son Towers by the Italian conservation team.

The current restoration process is regarded as a transition in the application of research on the construction materials as well as archaeological methods in restoring the Cham towers in My Son, members of the team said at a workshop held recently in the central province of Quang Nam.

The workshop focused on highlighting the effectiveness of the technical process used on tower E7 and tower group G. This is regarded as evidence of the efficient co-operation between the UN culture agency UNESCO, Vietnam and Italy.

Phan Ho, director of the My Son relic management board, confirmed the effectiveness of technical solutions that have been used to restore Cham towers in Vietnam, particularly those in My Son, saying that thanks to the restoration process, the relics were stable and had avoided further deterioration, and the towers should withstand the impacts of both humans and the elements.

Source: Towering success: scientists work on My Son relics – News VietNamNet

Sarawak to re-submit bid to make Niah Caves Unesco heritage site

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Source: Sarawak Forestry Corporation, via Malay Mail 20190122
Source: Sarawak Forestry Corporation, via Malay Mail 20190122

via Malay Mail, 22 January 2019: The Sarawak Government expresses renewed interest to nominate the Niah Caves as a World Heritage Site due to recent findings of Pleistocene occupation of the cave dating 65,000 years.

The Sarawak government will re-submit nomination for the Niah Caves National Park in Miri Division to be a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.

He said an archaeological works carried out by researchers from University of New South Wales, Australia, showed evidence of human settlements at the caves dated back to about 65,000 years ago.

“On record, human settlements in other parts of the world is about 40,000 years ago, but the Niah caves have evidence to show that the settlement was much more earlier,” he said at the opening of the stakeholders consultation on the proposed forestry policies here.

Source: Sarawak to re-submit bid to make Niah Caves Unesco heritage site | Malaysia | Malay Mail

Bagan ready for heritage listing experts

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Source: Myanmar Times 20190125
Source: Myanmar Times 20190125

via Myanmar Times, 25 January 2019:

The Department of Archaeology and National Museums is ready to answer questions on the Bagan heritage area from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), says the department’s director. Richard Mackay, an expert from the council, conducted a survey last September for a report that will be submitted to UNESCO regarding Myanmar’s application to list the ancient city as a World Heritage Site. “We are preparing to answer the questions of the ICOMOS expert, who wants more information before su

Source: Bagan ready for heritage listing experts | The Myanmar Times

Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny

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via Bangkok Post, 15 December 2018: A friend from Unesco Bangkok pens this opinion piece about the inscription of the masked Khon dances from Cambodia and Thailand into the Intagible Cultural Heritage list.

That said, what is most interesting in the value of masked dance about Ramayana is not how beautiful they are as art forms, or how they are made prize possessions of countries in the nomination process. Instead, they are most interesting as local traditions that are still viable to many different communities across the region, so all of them practise and pass on the skills and passion to the next generation. These masked dance variations have survived until today, thanks to the stewardship of local community

Source: Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny | Bangkok Post: opinion

Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December

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via Pattaya Mail, 01 December 2018:

Ayutthaya – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to celebrate Ayutthaya World Heritage from 7-16 December 2018 at the Ayutthaya historical park. Deputy TAT Governor for Domestic Marketing Noppadon Pakprot said the agency has joined hands with Ayutthaya province, government agencies, and private companies to organize the event, which will be held for the […]

Source: Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December – Pattaya Mail

UNESCO’s World Heritage program has lost its way

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A new book by Lynn Meskel discusses how the original mission of the Unesco World Heritage list has its focus distorted from conservation and preservation to tourism and economic benefits. The book is called A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace

Created in 1946 to help establish peace through international cooperation in a world ravaged by two colossal wars, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hoped to change the “minds of men and women,” as its constitution says.

The agency aimed to achieve that mission through education, cultural exchange and conservation of heritage sites.

But that utopian ambition has gotten lost, according to Stanford anthropology Professor Lynn Meskell, who has spent the last eight years researching the history of the organization and its World Heritage program.

Today, most countries seem to care more about getting their historic sites onto the World Heritage List in order to benefit from UNESCO’s brand rather than discuss conservation and preservation, Meskell said.

Source: UNESCO’s World Heritage program has lost its way | Stanford News

Vendors evicted as temple readies for heritage site status

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Wat Phra That Phanom. Source: Bangkok Post 20181107

via Bangkok Post, 07 November 2018:

Wat Phra That Phanom. Source: Bangkok Post 20181107

Wat Phra That Phanom. Source: Bangkok Post 20181107

Disgruntled vendors gathered outside historical Wat Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom on Wednesday in protest against their eviction from the grounds to pave the way for registration of the temple as a Unesco World Heritage site.

About 100 vendors converged on the area in front of Wat Phra That Phanom Voramahaviharn, widely known as Wat Phra That Phanom, in That Phanom district to air their grievance.

Source: Vendors evicted as temple readies for heritage site status | Bangkok Post: news

Songkhla town closes in on World Heritage status

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via Bangkok Post, 28 October 2018:

Ban Bon Mosque. Source: Bangkok Post 20181028

Ban Bon Mosque. Source: Bangkok Post 20181028

Estimated at over 200 years old, this small town is famous for blending the architectural heritage of the Islamic religion with a Sino-Portuguese style, a genre of Southeast Asia architecture.

Muang Songkhla is included among seven cities that the Thai government wishes to propose to Unesco to list as a World Heritage site.

The other six are Muang Chiang Mai, Muang Lampang, Muang Kamphaeng Phet, Muang Lop Buri, Muang Phimai and Muang Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Source: Songkhla town closes in on World Heritage status | Bangkok Post: news

Sigiriya frescoes to be scanned and digitised

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via FT Online, 20 October 2018: The frescoes of the Sigiriya World Heritage site are to be scanned and digitised.

Sigiriya Frescoes. Source: FT Online, 20181020

Sigiriya Frescoes. Source: FT Online, 20181020

The news that the Sigiriya frescoes and graffiti are being copied using laser technology is indeed a welcome move. The frescoes dating back to the 5th century are accepted as the oldest examples of mediaeval paintings in Sri Lanka. The need to preserve them for posterity has been discussed on and off and finally it has been made possible due to modern technology.

Source: Preserving for posterity | FT Online