domingo, 29 de septiembre de 2013

Greek settlement in Ukraine gains world heritage status (Ukraine)

After two decades of research led by Professor Joseph Carter at The University of Texas at Austin, an ancient Greek settlement in southern Ukraine was granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

On the edge of the Greek world

The inscription explains that Tauric Chersonese and its chora (agricultural areas) are the remains of an ancient city, founded in the 5th century BCE as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks, located in south-west Crimea.
Tauric Chersonese forms an outstanding example of an ancient cultural landscape, consisting of a Greek polis and its agricultural hinterland established as part of colonist activities in the 4th and 3rd century BCE.
The significant archaeological ruins of the city retain physical remains constructed between the 5th century BCE and the 13th century CE laid out on an grid system which extends into the wider landscape where fragments of a vast land demarcation system of 400 equal allotments in an area of 10,000 hectares have been preserved.
The ancient city of Tauric Chersonese was an important gateway to the north-eastern parts of the Greek trade influence, including the Crimea and on to the Scythian state. The city maintained its strategic role over almost two millennia and is a unique example for the continuity and longevity of a mercantile outpost connecting the Black Sea trade routes.
In October 2010 a report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, the Global Heritage Fund identified Chersonesus as one of 12 sites worldwide that were on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction, with  insufficient management and increasing development pressures as primary causes. World Heritage status is a testimony to the work done in a short space of time to protect this site.

Conservation, conservation and finally interpretation

Chersonese has been the focus of excavation since 1994 led by Joseph Carter, professor of classical archaeology and the director of the Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICA) at UT Austin.
“Chersonesos commands our respect because of its very important place in world history, as the birthplace of democracy in this part of the world, and of Christianity in the Slavic world,” said Carter. “Few places on Earth have such a long and vital history.”
Carter said the excavation was considered significant by UNESCO because it linked the chora, to the urban area of Chersonesos and provided a rare glimpse of the lives of ordinary people and the exchanges of Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires within the Black Sea region.
Since the early 1970s Carter has studied and continues to study ancient Greek colonial farm life in southern Italy. He expanded his study to the Chersonesos site soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Ukraine in 1991. His team was welcomed, despite the fact that the nearby Sevastopol was a closed city because of its secret naval installations.
Carter’s group has gradually progressed from excavation to preservation, conservation and finally interpretation.
The excavation itself would not have been possible without the support of David Packard and the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), which contributed more than $12 million during a 12-year period to the project.
Work at the site also drew on the expertise of faculty members and staffers from several UT Austin departments, including conservators from the Harry Ransom Center who provided preservation and conservation training to a Ukrainian staff that currently oversees the site as a museum and preserve.

Source: Past Horizons:

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