Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gotland and Easter islands struggle to preserve heritage
You might not think that a small island in the Baltic could have much in common with even smaller islands in the Pacific. But when it comes to archaeological heritage, there are plenty of issues to share. Approaches to research and conservation, of course. But also, and increasingly, how to protect landscapes rich in ancient artifacts from the onslaught of tourism.

Landscape was an essential underlying theme at the 7th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific held last month on Gotland, a 4,500-square-kilometer, or 1,740-square-mile, landmass a 3-hour ferry ride from the Swedish coast.

"While every monument is individual, we need to take into account the connections between them. How they came about, and what they signify. That's what we mean by landscape," explained Paul Wallin, associate professor of archaeology at Gotland University.

I doubt Easter Island would have been nearly so mysterious and popular had the Moai statues been presented with their hats on. . . .