Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

2008 World Monuments Watch List Of 100 Most Endangered Sites

Date:
June 11, 2007
Source:
World Monuments Fund
Summary:
Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites was recently announcedby the World Monuments Fund This year's list highlights three critical man-made threats: political conflict, unchecked urban and industrial development, and, for the first time, global climate change.

ATA Scott's Hut is endangered by climate change.
Credit: Image courtesy of World Monuments Fund

Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites was recently announced by Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund (WMF), the nonprofit organization that, for more than 40 years, has helped save hundreds of endangered architectural and cultural sites around the world. This year’s list highlights three critical man-made threats: political conflict, unchecked urban and industrial development, and, for the first time, global climate change.

Announced every two years, the WMF Watch List acts as a call to action, drawing international public attention to threatened cultural heritage sites across the globe. The Watch List is assembled by an international panel of experts in archaeology, architecture, art history, and preservation. For many historic sites, inclusion on the List is the best, and sometimes the only, hope for survival.

The 2008 Watch List clearly shows that human activity has become the greatest threat of all to the world’s cultural heritage, causing irreparable harm to many of the important places in the world that provide unique access to shared human history. Pollution eats away at ancient stones. The rapid rise in global tourism is bringing more and more people to fragile and often unprotected places. Cities and suburbs are spreading unchecked, at the expense of historic landscapes and buildings.

Political discord and armed conflict are not only wreaking havoc on sites directly—with modern weapons more destructive than ever—but are destroying communities, leaving the world’s cultural heritage open to neglect, vandalism, and looting. And,
perhaps most daunting of all, the destructive effects of global climate change are already clearly apparent. The 2008 Watch List includes several sites that are threatened right now by flooding, encroaching desert, and changing weather patterns. Sadly, future lists will bring many more.

“The World Monuments Watch List is our best indicator of the pressures that face the field of heritage preservation,” said World Monuments Fund President Bonnie Burnham. “On this list, man is indeed the real enemy. But, just as we caused the damage in the first place, we have the power to repair it, by taking our responsibility as caretakers of the world’s cultural heritage seriously. So today we are sounding the alarm, using the World Monuments Watch List
to demonstrate, through the vivid examples of beloved places around the world, the importance of working together to meet these challenges and join forces to protect our world’s shared architectural heritage.”

Global Climate Change

The 2008 Watch List includes a number of sites threatened by global warming.

Among them are:

  • Herschel Island, Canada, home to ancient Inuit sites and a historic whaling town at the edge of the Yukon that are being lost to the rising sea and melting permafrost in this fastest-warming part of the world.
  • Scott’s Hut, Antarctica, a time-capsule of early twentieth-century exploration.

(Ironically, it is being engulfed by vastly increased snowfall thought to be a result of changes in the weather, changes the station was built to monitor.)

  • Chinguetti Mosque, Mauritania, located in one of Islam’s seven holy cities and one of many sites in West Africa endangered by the encroaching desert.
  • Sonargaon-Panam City, Bangladesh, a former medieval trading hub and crossroads of culture, whose long-neglected and deteriorating architecture is increasingly threatened by flooding in this low-lying country, one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.
  • Leh Old Town, Ladakh, India, a rare intact medieval city in the Himalayan region, now trying to balance development and modernization with sustainability as its traditional architecture faces changing weather patterns, including heavy rains, that it was not built to withstand.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, whose historic neighborhoods, already pummeled by Hurricane Katrina, are now struggling to restore homes while also preparing for future challenges posed by rising sea levels and the likelihood of stronger storms.

Conflict

  • Whether past, ongoing, or imminent, conflict has become one of the most severe threats to cultural heritage. Among the sites at grave risk on the 2008 Watch List are:
  • Cultural Heritage Sites of Iraq, where ongoing conflict has led to catastrophic loss at the world’s oldest and most important cultural sites, and where the damage continues.
  • Bamiyan Buddhas, Afghanistan, tragic illustrations of the importance of cultural heritage and the consequences of its destruction, the leftover fragments and historic context remain endangered, and their future in question.
  • Church of the Holy Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories, the site of one of Christianity’s oldest churches, now deteriorating as a result of modern political tensions.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Monuments Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Monuments Fund. "2008 World Monuments Watch List Of 100 Most Endangered Sites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070609135332.htm>.
World Monuments Fund. (2007, June 11). 2008 World Monuments Watch List Of 100 Most Endangered Sites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070609135332.htm
World Monuments Fund. "2008 World Monuments Watch List Of 100 Most Endangered Sites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070609135332.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins