The Conference

16th BIANNUAL COLLOQUIUM, WEST AFRICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (W.A.A.A/A.O.A.A)

THEME: ARCHAEOLOGY AND WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN WEST AFRICA

9-13 July 2019
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies
University of Ghana, Legon-Ghana

 

THIRD CIRCULAR: CALL FOR PAPERS

The need to integrate world heritage curriculum in the academic programmes of African educational institutions has become the clarion call of UNESCO and the African World Heritage Fund to African institutions. According to UNESCO, Africa boasts of a heritage of unrivalled natural and cultural diversity that constitutes the very essence of its identity. Yet, sub-Saharan Africa is under represented on the World Heritage List. With 93 properties (51 cultural sites, 37 natural sites, 8 mixed sites), Africa is the most under-represented region on the List. Despite the adoption of the Global Strategy for a representative balanced and credible World Heritage List, the continent hosts only 9 per cent of all World Heritage sites, while the European and North American Regions account for 47 per cent of properties inscribed on the List. Thus, the call for African educational institutions to implement the World Heritage Convention is an undeniable expectation that we have to champion as a credible regional body in Africa. This conference among other things offers the platform for us to brainstorm and dialogue on how to facilitate our contributions to the existing curricula related to research, conservation and management of world heritage sites in West Africa. The low inscription rate has been adduced to factors such as; i) the poor quality of the nomination dossiers, which often results from the lack of close collaboration between academic institutions, specialized institutions in World Heritage and the governments of African member states; ii) the limited budget allocated to the national heritage sector in many African countries, especially concerning the process of archaeological research and inscription on the Tentative and World Heritage Lists; iii) the limited number of experts specialized in the field of heritage management and conservation of Africa's heritage as well as insufficient academic guidance and lack of sufficient integration of world heritage studies into the existing programmes of academic institutions in Africa.  How do we convince government institutions to support academic institutions in the creation or strengthening of curricula oriented towards increasing heritage professionals and with a view to expanding job prospects and supporting Africans in taking ownership of their unique heritage? It is in this context that this conference would like to complement the efforts of our international partners. We are soliciting for sessions and papers to cover, but not limited, to issues and case studies on the role of archaeology in world heritage research, documentation and inventory of sites, site management and conservation practices, the preparation of tentative lists and nomination files, innovation and job creation with archaeological and heritage resources as well as the creation of home-grown academic theories and practices to enhance this discourse.

PROPOSED SESSIONS

a.  GRABBING TODAY, LOSING TOMORROW; CHALLENGES OF CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN WEST AFRICA

As the second decade of the twenty-first century gradually moves to a close, Africa still grapples with the problem of the conservation and preservation of her cultural heritage. In many parts of the continent, particularly West Africa, the issue of heritage conservation comes last on the agenda as African leaders inadvertently believed that economic progress is central in moving the region/sub-region out of the grips of poverty and underdevelopment. Focusing on both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, this session aims to bring together participants across fields to discuss the challenges confronting the management of cultural heritage in Africa.

b. EDUCATION, COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICIZING AFRICAN WORLD HERITAGE SITES.

This session proposal is based on the conviction of the initiators that education is pivotal in the process of building the capacities of the African people to face the huge challenges of the third millennium. There is a dire need for knowledge on heritage resources (natural and cultural), including the African sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Under the aegis of the African World Heritage Funds, two workshops were held; one was in in Great Zimbabwe (April 2018) for the English-speaking heritage management experts, academic trainers and museum officers; and in Saint-Louis (Senegal, November 2018) for the Francophone experts on the same theme. This session will not duplicate the study at these meetings, however, it will integrate the expected outputs of the former which is characterized by recommendations and that of the output of this session which will be characterized by an action plan. We hope to be in a position to use such an integrated approach as input for the development of an educational action plan to suit the educational systems at the formal and informal levels in West Africa.

c. HERITAGE SITES AS SOURCES OF PALAEOENVIRONMENTAL AND HUMAN-ECOLOGICAL HISTORIES

Heritage Sites are no doubt of immense importance to the economic and cultural values of nations, particularly those in West Africa. Over the years, because of the strategies adopted by nations in West Africa, the cultural values of Heritage sites have not been well promoted and are not on the front burner of issues relating to heritage and conservation. We welcome abstracts of research which employ a suite of proxies ranging from archaeology, archaeobotany, geoarchaeology and geochemistry, GIS and models, palynology to sedimentology, in addressing the central theme of this proposed session.

d. HERITAGE SITES MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA; ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

Heritage sites contain the repository for the understanding of the material culture of the past generations. This is against the aptness and reliability it has over other sources of information gathering on the past. Quite a few of such sites exist in south-eastern Nigeria. The session invites papers that are based on data derived from primary and secondary sources and whose contents are thoroughly analysed and are focused on revealing the declining interest in the management of heritage sites. Varied strategies that could be galvanized to secure and manage such sites are also welcomed. Furthermore, how academics and heritage experts can increase the interest of concerned bodies and eliminate the activities of interlopers to restore the academic value and tourism potentials of these sites are also a focus of this session.

e. ARCHAEOTOURISM AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE IN IGBOLAND

Archaeological inquiry into Igbo land began with Thurstan Shaw’s excavation in Igbo-Ukwu, Anambra State, this was followed by other excavations of both foreign and indigenous archaeologists. Archaeological inquiries in the study area have been slow, and few archaeological sites are well conserved. Thus, the unattractive nature of these sites is due to poor fund/sponsorship and little government attention for promoting and protecting archaeological heritage in Igboland. Given this background, exploring alternative means of enhancing archaeological site development and management to draw relevant attention to make them eligible for listing on the World Heritage List is a focus of this session. The session is also meant to bring together relevant archaeological scholars, heritage officers, and related government agencies to discuss substantive methods, benefits, and challenges of harnessing the archaeotourism potential of archaeological sites in Igbo land to ensure a native-oriented approach as against government-oriented means to surmount these challenges.

f. INTEGRATING ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GHANA

UNESCO has recently pointed out that in today’s interconnected world, culture’s power to transform societies is clear. As a source of identity and cohesion for communities, UNESCO is convinced that heritage and creativity are the substratum for vibrant, innovative and prosperous knowledge societies. Intricately interweaving heritage into sustainable development, UNESCO argues that no development can be sustainable without strong cultural components. For this reason, UNESCO is ensuring that the role of culture is recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s); particularly those focusing on quality education, sustainable cities, the environment, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production pattern, peaceful as well as inclusive societies, gender quality and food security. In this regard, this session brings together Ghanaian archaeologists and heritage scholars to brainstorm on how to give priority to the implementation of all the seven UNESCO Cultural Conventions; particularly the World Heritage Convention, which Ghana has ratified.

g. EFFECTS OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE, POLITICAL CONFLICTS/INSURGENTS AND EPIDEMICS ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN WEST AFRICA.

There is nothing more devastating to the sustainability of world heritage sites than the disastrous effects of sectarian violence, political insurgency and spread of epidemic diseases. These scourges on cultural development have been experienced in varying forms in West African with their intended and unintendent consequences. With this background, this session examines the role of sectarian and political conflicts like Boko Haram and the impact of lethal epidemics like Ebola and their devastating effect on world heritage sites in West Africa. The papers in this session should also evaluate strategies to combat their negative impacts and the possible restoration efforts that can be undertaken at such sites.

h. ENQUIRING INTO ISSUES OF RESTITUTION AND REPATRIATION OF EXPORTED WEST AFRICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS MEANT FOR SCIENTIFIC STUDY IN EUROPE, AMERICA AND FOREIGN LOCATIONS’

Over the course of a couple of centuries up until now, some archaeological remains excavated from varied sites in West Africa have been exported abroad for scientific studies. Though most of the exported materials left with permits from issuing antiquities agencies and museums and monuments boards in West Africa, their scientific sojourn in Euro-Western Institutions and foreign locations have outlived their intended return date. In most cases, West Africanist scholars genuinely excavated archaeological assemblages and sent objects (e.g., pottery, figurines, beads, glass, faunal/skeletons, jewelleries, metal/brass remains etc) for deep scientific studies. However, they have not kept faith with archaeology departments, research sites and the permit issuing agencies in West Africa. Such breach of faith and trust are becoming akin to how colonizers, explorers and missionaries expropriated and looted African art works and antiquities. Papers are being elicited in this session to interrogate these issues with concrete case studies in order to recommend best standards and practices to guide future undertakings of this nature and ways and means to pursue for their restitution and repatriation back to their source areas in West Africa.

INSTRUCTION:

Deadline for Paper and Poster Abstracts: 30th January 2019

Late submission of sessions will be permissible if those proposing a session are able to confirm four speakers and their paper/poster abstracts for that session: Deadline: 30th January 2019

All participants will be notified of the status of their abstracts by 28th February 2019. Information on conference registration process & fee, visa, accommodation & tours and transport will be communicated to you by the end of March 2019.

All abstracts must be submitted in both English and French languages

NOTE: Participants can submit abstracts of as many posters as they like but must submit only one session abstract and only one paper abstract as the first/sole author. However, such a participant can be a second author on many papers but can only present one paper as a second author if the first author is not available. Abstracts must not be more than 300 words

All correspondence must be sent to the following address: waaaghana@gmail.com
Postal: WAAA/AOAA XVIth Colloquium 2019 Secretariat
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies
P. O. Box LG 3
University of Ghana, Legon-Ghana
Tel: +233-207888875

Website:  www.http://aoaa-waaa.org (still under construction; please bear with us)