Stanford University

Heritage

Over recent decades the literature dealing with heritage has greatly expanded, dealing with a vast array of topics from the rise of cultural tourism to the involvement of the past in claims to land and identity. Across the globe archaeologists have been confronted by indigenous claims to manage their own pasts, while at the same time nation states have developed their own legal frameworks, and international bodies such as UNESCO have promoted the notion of the universal value of World Heritage. Tensions thus emerge between local, national and international claims on the past. Local communities often look to archaeology to sustain identities and to gain economic benefit. Nation states often erase local community links to the past in favor of national concerns. Global archaeological interests can undermine local claims to the past. There is an increased need to discuss ways in which heritage can be seen to be a human right, and to explore the ways in which heritage can play an important role in post-conflict healing and reconciliation.