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Chinese Great Archaeological Site Conservation and Management Field Research

Chinese Great Archaeological Site Conservation and Management Field Research

1. Research background and purpose

    Through reviewing the research literature of Chinese Great Archaeological Site Conservation and Management, many problems have emerged. Such as: Are the local residents proud of the sites in their hometown? What’s the really thought of the archaeologists to the sites which are excavated by themselves under the background of Cultural Heritage Conservation? How do the administrators set protection laws and make protection plans for archaeological sites? All the problems can be classified into five topics: the problems of the organization and innermechanism, the problems of setting and carrying out the law, the problems of the planning and implementation of conservation, the problems of National Archaeological Park site establishment, and World Heritage declaration. These problems originate from two pairs of contradictions that are the contradiction between conservation and development (especially local peoples’ lives), and contradictionbetween conservation and utilization.

   Therefore, in order to research the situation of Chinese Great Archaeological Site Conversation and Management and find out the source of these problems, field research was needed. Three Chinese Great Archaeological Sites are the objects of this field research. The research aims to comprehensively understand the conservation and management systems of these three archaeological sites and summarize the characteristics of Chinese Great Archaeological Site Conversation and Management. Meanwhile, I will find the main problems faced by these three different types of great archaeological sites and further sum up  the general problems faced by Chinese Great Archaeological Sites. At last, I will try to find ways to solve these problems.

2. Research schedule, method and object

    2.1 Research schedule :During this summer holiday, I went to Hanyangling(Shaanxi Province), Yinxu (Henan Province) and Liangzhu (Zhejiang Province) three sites. Each of them took almost 10 days for investigation. In each site, I try to go to both cultural institutions and villages to get the opinions from more people such as: cultural administrators, archeologists and villagers.

 2.2 Research method:I used different methods according to different objects.

 For archaeological site managers and cultural administrators and staff, I interviewed them individually. I made different interview questionnaires for staff in different organizations and different positions, and it took about 2 hours to interview each staff member. By this method, I can listen to their thoughts in more detail.

  For local residents, I sent questionnaires to them and chatted with them in person. By this method, I can get more general opinions from them rapidly and easily.

    Moreover, I followed the rules to get the opinions from the local residents first, and then interview the administrators. I believe it’s better to tell the opinions of local residents to the administrators.

    2.3 Research object : In this field research, I paid attention to 5 groups:

    Local residents: living or working in the ruins for generations. Archaeological site managers: staff in the basic management organization, such as site museum or management.  Cultural administrators and staff: staff in the all levels of governmental Cultural Heritage Bureau. Archaeologists: researchers in archaeological institute and professors in the faculty of archaeology in University. Other cultural related persons: such as persons in civil group or private company.

3.Research content

    Hanyangling site is the Mausoleum of Yang of Han dynasty. The basic management department is “Hanyanglingmuseum” which is a public institution. The Hanyangling national archaeological site park is taking shape. The ground had been bought from the local residents, so this area is now a national conservation ground. The relationship between the conservation effort and the local people is not a major problem. The displays of Hanyangling ruins are very advanced for China, and even the world. The excavated tomb passages are covered by glass to control the temperature and humidity, and visitors can walk on it to see the structure of the tomb. However benefits to the local residents is lacking.

    Yinxu Site is the Palace and Mausoleum of Shang dynasty. The basic management department is called “Yinxu site management” which is a public institution too. Yinxu Site was registered on the world heritage list in 2006, and the establishing work of Yinxu National Archaeological Site Park is in it's fouth year. Before 2006, the conservation and utilization of the protective core is comprehensive, and it advertises the culture of the site and the city to the outside. But in the buffer zone area, where many villages are located, the problems between the conservation effort and the local people are serious since long time ago.

    The Liangzhu Site is a city ruin dating from the Neolithic period. The basic management department is called the Liangzhu Committee, but acts like a local government. The establishing work of Liangzhu national archaeological site park has started, but it is far from complete. Liangzhu Site is preparing to register for World Heritage status in the coming years. So in the protective core, like at the Yinxu site, the relocation and conservation effort, and display of artifacts is quite well done. In addition, the general protective area and the construction control area are also under comprehensive planning. All the achievements are dependent upon the support from all levels of government and its departments. But they are also facing problems, such as the proper technique to protect and display earthen ruins.

4. Research Impression

    During this field research, I interviewed more than 30 people in total, sent almost 100 questionnaires, and got first-hand information from three sites in three provinces.

    I got a lot of advice from people from different backgrounds. Some of the interviewees gave me official answers, but some of them told me their private thoughts. Based on their answers, I know the basic situation of not only each site, but also the general area.

    The next step will be to do more detailed analysis and comparison.

(Wang dongdong)

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