Classics Heritage Management
Ricardo Elia, Marta E. Ostovich
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 September 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 September 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0119


Heritage management is a growing field that is concerned with the identification, protection, and stewardship of cultural heritage in the public interest. It is part of a burgeoning interest in heritage generally and the subject of increasing discussion, debate, and controversy among both specialists (including archaeologists, anthropologists, legal scholars, collectors, curators, historians, political scientists, economists, conservators, dealers, and looters) and the public. “Heritage” is a rather open-ended and fungible term that embraces a huge range of meaning and potential disagreement; it comprises the cultural expressions of humanity and may be tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, old or new, and owned privately, corporately, or not at all (e.g., submerged archaeological remains in the high seas). Heritage is known by many names, including antiquities, art, artifacts, cultural objects, treasure, loot, sacred objects, cultural resources, and cultural property, depending on the background and interests of the stakeholder. Here the term “heritage” is preferred because of its inherent sense of transmission, legacy, and inheritance. In this article we focus on issues relating to the preservation, ownership, control, and uses of the material remains of past cultures, with particular reference to the classical world; in practical terms, this means the archaeological objects, documents, sites, monuments, and landscapes that have survived from the ancient world. This cultural heritage is finite, nonrenewable, vulnerable to damage or destruction, and frequently contested.

General Overviews

As a young field that is still being defined and shaped, heritage management suffers from a lack of the broad overviews that are common in more mature disciplines. With one exception (Skeates 2000), the works listed in this section are edited volumes containing collections of articles by multiple authors. Even these volumes reflect particular areas within the broad rubric of heritage studies. Three books focus on archaeological heritage: Cleere 1984 established international archaeological heritage management as a new field, McManamon and Hatton 2000 expanded on its coverage, and Skeates 2000 focused on the relationship between archaeologists and stakeholders. Hoffman 2006 looks at laws and policies relating to art and cultural heritage, while Nafziger and Nicgorski 2010 focuses on how heritage has been shaped by the history of conquest, colonization, and commerce. The papers in Amoêda, et al. 2008 are by authors in multiple disciplines and focus on the notion of world heritage and sustainable development. Together these books afford a good sense of the contemporary discipline of heritage management.

  • Amoêda, Rogério, Sérgio Lira, Cristina Pinhero, Filipe Pinheiro, and Joâo Pinheiro, eds. 2008. World heritage and sustainable development: Heritage 2008 International Conference. 2 vols. Barcelos, Portugal: Green Lines Institute.

    Two volumes of ninety-plus papers divided into three themes: heritage and human development, the natural environment, and building preservation. An international perspective on the relationship between World Heritage sites and sustainable development with many case studies.

  • Cleere, Henry, ed. 1984. Approaches to the archaeological heritage: A comparative study of world cultural resource management systems. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Seminal book that helped define the field of archaeological heritage management. Comparative, global approach with summaries of heritage laws, infrastructure, and practice in Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and the United States. Needs updating but still useful.

  • Hoffman, Barbara T., ed. 2006. Art and cultural heritage: Law, policy, and practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Specialists in several fields explore legal, social, and management aspects of art and cultural heritage in contemporary society. The book’s sixty-five articles cover wide-ranging topics, including values, legislation, museums, natural and cultural conservation, and underwater heritage. Ample use of case studies and an international perspective make this book a valuable resource.

  • McManamon, Francis P., and Alf Hatton, eds. 2000. Cultural resource management in contemporary society: Perspectives on managing and presenting the past. One World Archaeology 33. London: Routledge.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203208779

    The book’s twenty-four articles deal with various aspects and case studies of heritage management worldwide, including protection, conservation, ethics, museums, and education. Seven articles dealing with US topics and two on Latin America give this volume a decidedly Americanist perspective.

  • Nafziger, James A. R., and Ann M. Nicgorski, eds. 2010. Cultural heritage issues: The legacy of conquest, colonization, and commerce. Papers presented at a conference held at Willamette Univ. on 12–14 October 2006. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004160361.i-466

    Edited papers from a 2006 conference held at Willamette University offer legal, archaeological, museological, and native perspectives on the legacy of conquest and colonization, heritage protection, commerce and international law, the role of governments, heritage disputes, and museums. Indigenous rights, repatriation, and cultural aspects of the war in Iraq are featured topics.

  • Skeates, Robin. 2000. Debating the archaeological heritage. London: Duckworth.

    Skeates explores a full range of topics relating to archaeological heritage, including definitions, ownership, protection, management, interpretation, and experience. He discusses the many groups that have a stake in heritage and the debates surrounding claims to and control of heritage, urging greater cooperation among archaeologists, interest groups, and local communities.

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