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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds The management of heritage, in the UK and internationally, has changed, dramatically, over the last 40 years or so. 40 years ago, a site like Hadrian’s Wall was managed by archaeologists for archaeologists, essentially. And visitors were welcome, but only just; they were a bit of a nuisance. Now, sites like Hadrian’s Wall– and Hadrian’s Wall, itself– are managed in a much more holistic way, with many more interests involved in the management of the Wall. The Wall became a World Heritage site in 1987– one of the first UK World Heritage sites.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds And Hadrian’s Wall was the first World Heritage site, actually, to have a full management structure and what we call a management plan that outlines the process of management for the next five years. What are the aims of management, into the future? And that was a unique document. It was, probably, the first management plan for a World Heritage site, actually, in the world. But that first World Heritage site management plan– the ‘96 one– actually reflected that original idea of management. It was, really, an archaeological conservation plan, to look after the archaeology. And it was written by an archaeologist for other archaeologists. There were small paragraphs on tourism, but not very much.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds The third iteration of the management plan– and the fourth one, that we’re coming to– are totally different documents. Archaeology and archaeologists are only one small part of six– what we call– different interest groups. So people interested in planning, in access, in visitor management, in education, all get together and work out the holistic management of that World Heritage site. So it’s become not just an archaeological monument, but it’s become a vibrant contributor to the local economy, to the local population, in terms of their identity and their use of the space and their management of the space, and what that part of the space– the Wall, and its other features– can actually do to help that economy and that population.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 seconds In 2005, that became even more complex, because Hadrian’s Wall became not a World Heritage site, on its own, but part of a much broader World Heritage site– the Frontiers of the Roman Empire, which, we hope, at some stage in the future, will incorporate elements of the original Roman Empire in 20-odd countries around the Mediterranean basin. That has brought in all sorts of different issues. Do the Germans and do the Dutch manage in the same way as the British? Probably not, in every detail. But the one detail that is the same is that broader understanding– that holistic understanding– of management. It is not just an archaeological monument, anymore.

Skip to 3 minutes and 18 seconds It’s a monument being used for the present and being conserved for the future. Countries all over the world queue up to have sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. And the reasons for that are relatively obvious. It brings profile; it brings credibility; it brings tourism revenue. The other question, though, that is very rarely asked, is, actually, not what UNESCO can do for the World Heritage sites, but what the World Heritage sites can do for UNESCO.

Challenges of protecting the World Heritage Site

Professor Peter Stone asks ‘What does it mean to be a World Heritage Site’?

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Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

Newcastle University

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