The QuarryScapes project was built on the background that
“The spectacular monuments and cities of the ancient Near East are testament to an industrial past where large-scale stone procurement remains unsurpassed. Yet, stone quarries are forgotten as key archaeological sites, rich in material remains of crucial significance if we are to understand the social and technological practices of an age when stone was quarried and transported par excellence. Largely invisible, undocumented and unprotected, these ancient quarry landscapes are being destroyed from actions such as modern development and quarrying.”
The inspiration for QuarryScapes project came from the necessity to put these ancient industrial landscapes on the map before it is too late and to raise awareness of their research potential across a broad spectrum of audiences, from archaeological researchers to the interested public. The project has included specific research on eleven quarry landscapes in the region (Turkey, Jordan and Egypt), particularly for developing a general, multidisciplinary methodology of documentation and evaluation of such sites. In addition, the project has carried out one national inventory of quarry landscapes, an inventory of risks and threats and an outline of conservation concepts for a particular quarry landscape.
During the progress of the project, it has became clear that one of the key problems with quarry landscapes is not the lack of such sites (quarries are literally everywhere!), but how to point at the historical importance of them and thus make selection of sites and parts of sites for protection.
This guide is an attempt to collect the experiences from the project and translate them into a guide which hopefully can be applied in a range of cultural and historical contexts. Therefore, it particularly focuses on subjects seen from “an expert” perspective, meaning archaeologists and/or geologists working in the field for providing the input to stakeholders and decision makers in order to build a case of conservation. Although the project has included practical innovation activities for specific sites, it is difficult to address local interests, legislation systems etc. in a general way that can be applied cross-culturally. Thus, the guide will not address “non-expert” values (economic, social, aesthetic, etc.) which we consider to be more culture and place specific and therefore less transferable across cultural and national borders. Furthermore, we do not address legal aspects/national legislations for the same reasons.
The guide only addresses subjects we see as especially relevant to quarry landscapes. We do not intend to make a guide for landscapes or archaeological sites in general, as there are numerous other works on that topic. It is our hope that the guide can provide additional information for cultural heritage authorities and professionals who (hopefully) in the future will have to relate more to such landscapes than in the past.
The guide contains three chapters, addressing the following:
Identification and description of features of ancient quarrying
Interpretation of such features and visualisation of them
How to reach a statement of significance from an expert perspective
In addition, we have included a list of bibliography that we consider particularly important, and a glossary of terms.
The guide pays special attention to the need for multidisciplinary approaches; for instance, the geological characterisation of the stone resources is equally important as the documentation of the archaeology, in order to reach an understanding of not only how quarrying was done but also why. The guide follows a scheme presented in QuarryScape Deliverable No. 10 (Figure 1), starting with the empirical characterisation (identification of features, micro-level analysis and how to construct a quarry landscape), moving to the macro-level interpretation and finally to constructing a statement of significance. Of particular importance is a methodology on how to view quarry landscapes in relation to different key perspectives their place in socially constructed landscapes; the contact between quarry landscapes and others such as the places of consumption; the projection of key historical events in the quarry landscapes; and, quarry landscapes as dynamic landscapes.
Figure 1. A procedure for “building a case of conservation” for quarry landscapes (click to enlarge).
The guide is built around a short main text, but illustrated with fact sheets and example sheets that contain more detailed descriptions or examples from the different case studies in QuarryScapes. The guide largely builds on the report: Identifying heritage values and character-defining elements of ancient quarry landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean: an integrated analysis. But also other other deliverables from the project have been used as a background. Those who look for the baseline of research behind this guide should look closer at the other deliverables. They can all be downloaded from the publication section.
December 2009 New book: a special volume with papers from the QuarryScapes project soon printed.
November 2008 Final workshop: the third QuarryScapes workshop was held in Aswan 12. - 15. October