Impact of the Nara Document of Authenticity on Asian Archaeological Heritage Management

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1800 Words
Date:  2022-05-06

Asian heritage is one of the thriving testimonies that speak volumes about thousands of years of history.It reflects various contributions of the diverse cultures and peoples and the assortment of believes found in Asia. The present Asian population is a true depiction of the several historic influences and transformation that took part in this part of the world.The conservation of every deep-rooted identity found among the Asian population has thus been the aim of various international bodies such as UNESCO.Through the use of charters and conventions, international efforts have been made to conserve Asian archeological sites. One of the most focal areas of cultural heritage conservation is the concept of authenticity. This concept is a central area of focus of various international charter that has been aimed at defining various practices of preservation of cultural heritage since the 1930s.It was mainly instrumental in the establishment of the new concept of "intangible cultural heritage" which was the centerpiece of the Nara document in 199The Nara document is a very important guideline that gives a wide understanding of cultural heritage and diversity in the light of conservation. This document is as a result of the Venice Charter which expanded the scope of the cultural heritage concerns. Some of the keynote principles of the document include its emphasis on the fact that the cultural heritage and also the social values that are unique to every society must be considered. It gives several reasons for why other cultures must be respected. It also emphasizes the fact that all the value whether tangible or intangible, all the expressions forming part of the heritage of each culture must be held in high esteem. It also goes on to shed light on the fact that each cultural value must be determined and evaluated within the scope of the culture to which it is part of. The culture that produced a specific heritage has the responsibility to care and to manage it. However, the Nara document directs all the cultures to adhere to principles and limits and duties as directed by the international charters. The Nara document has tremendously influenced the archeological conservation sites in Asia ever since it came into effect in 1994.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The document laid to rest many long-standing technical challenges which had employed the concept of authenticity in a very limited manner. The Nara document introduced practical ways that would use authenticity in the conservation and management of cultural heritage sites in Asia. One of the most prominent pre-Nara delusion amended by the Nara document is the assertion that authenticity was a value in its own right. The Nara document expressly gave guidelines that authenticity of archeological sites was no value in its self. It argued that archeological sites should not just be inscribed on the World Heritage list just because they expressed great authentic value but rather because they have an innate ability to demonstrate that they contain an outstanding universal value. These archeological sites must in themselves then demonstrate an authentic nature which was defined as being real, credible and truthful. This new definition of authenticity was instrumental in determining unique archeological sites that have been inscribed into the world heritage list to date. Examples of these important archeological sites include the ruins of Otrar in southern Kazhakstan which took the true definition of the concept of authenticity as described by the Nara document. The preceding technical distinction made by the Nara document can be understood as a reflective distinction which indicated the value of those choosing the archeological sites to be listed under the World heritage umbrella. This amendment saw many archeological sites that had been previously not been recognized being listed under the world heritage sites. The Nara document, therefore, was very instrumental in ensuring that more archeological sites in Asia were recognized as being authentic.

The Nara document also succeeded in refuting the fact that authenticity of archeological sites could be understood in an absolute way. Today, the absolute approach is still widely held by some bodies such as the current National Register of Historic places which employ it to evaluate integrity. This concept of absolute authenticity was grafted into the World Heritage conservation practices before the Nara document. Authenticity is a relative quantifier as per the Nara document. It is not to be used absolutely on archeological sites. Therefore, according to the Nara document, it was useless to state that an archeological site was absolutely authentic. It was to be a relative determiner, and its application was to be in line with the ability of specific attributes to openly express the nature of critical recognizable values. Considering this revolutionary definition of authenticity, more freedom was given to determine authentic archeological sites as per the Nara document. The components of archeological sites have since been individually studied. It was always different when the elements of archeological sites were absolutely evaluated as this approach never yielded accurate results of the extent of the authenticity of each document. Studying elements of archeological sites simultaneously always accommodated a partial loss of authenticity in each of them.

The document also influenced the perception that authenticity had to be present in all attributed areas defined by World Heritage. This pre-Nara idea meant that authenticity has to be related to all possible attributes that expressed heritage values regarded by the World Heritage conservation and management processes. These included form, design and the setting of the site. Prior practices employed in the nominating sites to the National Register of Historic Places were contrary to the Nara document. However, the Nara document asserted that the retention of specific aspect of integrity in archeological sites was paramount for property to show the significance of retaining integrity. Therefore, evaluating the importance of all aspects bearing the integrity of the archeological site called for a knowledge of why, where and when the site was significant.

Another influence asserted on the Asian archeological heritage management by the Nara document of authenticity was an improvement of the understanding of the importance of authenticity of archeological cultural heritage. The focus on why heritage sites were important by the Nara document helped to give a better understanding of individual archeological heritage sites. There was a precise understanding of why the archeological heritage sites needed to be conserved. The UNESCO defines the importance of conserving the archeological heritage of different cultures and believes worldwide. However, the advent of the Nara document has ever since influenced the motive of conservation of archeological heritage sites in Asia. It gave a new dimension to efforts of the management of archeological heritage by giving vital knowledge and purpose to conservation practices in Asia. The predecessor of the Nara document, the Venice Charter did not give a strong reason as to why monuments, for example, were to be conserved in their authentic nature, only stating that they were to be kept in the full richness of their authenticity. However, the Nara document was more precise. It devoted its articles 4,9 and 10 in answering the question on the importance of conserving archeological heritage in Asia.The article 4 of the Nara document pointed out the fact that our word has always been working against the care and management of archeological heritage sites due to its strong forces of globalization and homogenization. It highlighted the fact the search for cultural identity in our word today has always been expressed in means such aggressive nationalism and also the suppression of minority cultures in the world.It thus set the pace on why considering authenticity is a conservation practice that aims at shedding light on individual cultures. Therefore, it can be argued that the Nara document reinforced the concept of authenticity in a bid to ensure the conservation of distinct archeological heritage values of various cultures in Asia.

As regarding individual cultural efforts in the management of archeological heritage in Asia, the Nara document pointed out that conservations of all dimensions of cultural heritage are rooted in the values attributed to the heritage. It argued that our ability to understand all the historical periods and forms of cultural heritage depends on the quantity of information about these values and the scope in which they are considered credible and truthful. Therefore, the knowledge and understanding of these sources of cultural heritage information about the general perception and the meaning of the individual archeological heritage are required for accessing their authenticity. This has improved the management efforts of cultural heritage in Asia since it is a very inclusive document. The Nara document calls on all people to participate in the management of archeological heritage. As a result, management efforts have tremendously improved in Asia. People of a particular culture have always been encouraging to give relevant archeological information that is required for authentication of the archeological heritage information and believes held by people in each culture.

The Nara document also reinforced some crucial principles laid out by the Venice charter, therefore, improving archeological heritage conservation efforts in Asia ever since it came into effect. These include the argument that a better understanding of authenticity leads to better scientific studies and discoveries about archeological heritage. Thousands of scientific studies on archeological heritage sites have been conducted to ensure proper care and management of these sites. These studies have also been aimed at giving important management and conservation information. The scientific studies, backed by the Nara document have also been important in the restoration planning of archeological heritage sites within the inscription procedures used for the World Heritage conventions and even in other cultural inventories. It can, therefore, be pointed out that the Nara document of authenticity has supported scientific studies on archeological heritage in a bid to ensure that proper management and conservation efforts are achieved. Several Asian archeological heritage information that was previously unsubstantiated have been proofed using the scientific studies on authenticity as encouraged by the Nara document.

Another important influence of the Nara document of authenticity was in reinforcing integrity in the management of archeological heritage. The concept of integrity was not wholly integrated into the Venice charter, and as a result, there was the ineffective management of archeological heritage. However, the advent of the Nara document ushered in a new era of quality management of archaeological heritage. This document stated that the historic monuments of generations are imbued with vital information for the current generations and that they are living witnesses of age-old historical traditions that belonged to the individual cultural communities. As a result, it pointed out towards the fact that archeological heritage sites had a unifying value in them since all people would like to be associated with them. Collective management adopted by the people of Asia who view archeological heritage as being vital for every human being. This has therefore improved the care and management of archeological heritage in Asia...

Cite this page

Impact of the Nara Document of Authenticity on Asian Archaeological Heritage Management. (2022, May 06). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism