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Conserving our heritage

By Heather-Dawn Herrera

The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago has partnered with The University of Trinidad and Tobago to host a programme featuring some of the world’s leading international archaeology and heritage conservation experts from the USA and Europe.
Project Coordinator Jalaludin Khan of the National Trust highlights the need for international guidelines standards for developing integrated archaeological and management processes.
“The archaeological heritage of Trinidad and Tobago is the oldest and one of the most fragile non renewable resources dating over ten thousand years ago. There is the high risk of this being lost to land use development and the lack of effective management. There is critical need for an integrated protection and conservation management system in order to minimise the destruction of our terrestrial and marine archaeological heritage.
In keeping with the remit of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Act, the National Trust will be co hosting an archaeological heritage panel discussion, seminar and archaeological field training class from today to next Thursday.
“The aim of these programmes is to bring together key national stakeholders and some of the world’s leading international archaeological heritage management experts to share advice in building archaeological management capacity and fostering cooperative partnerships to develop local research, education training, policy and legislative implementation.
The goal of the National Trust in this is to formulate a national archaeological policy, an integrated management system and launch an Archaeological Institute with a central archaeological collection management repository.”
Today’s event at the AV room NALIS Public Library, Port of Spain, is free to the public. There will be a film screening of Buried Treasure directed and produced by Alex de Verteuil between 5-6 p.m. followed by the panel discussion on archaeology and heritage management.
International experts include Dr Willem Willems co-president of the International Scientific Committee on Archeaological Heritage Management (ICAHM – ICOMOS), co-project leader NEXUS 1492 which is a major funded EU 15 million Euro Caribbean Area Archaeology and Contact Heritage Studies Caribbean Cooperation Development project. Dr Willems is also Professor of International Archaeological Resource Management at Leiden University, Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Dr Arie Boomert is the leading specialist in Trinidad and Tobago archaeology, ethno history and linguistics, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Kindom of the Netherlands.
Dr Neal Lopinot is an archaeological researcher on Trinidad Archaeology and the history of the Lopinot Estate at the Centre for Archeaological research, Missouri State University, USA. Dr Lopinot has already done work on three local sites; two in the Lopinot Valley and one in the Caura Valley.
Christopher Pulliam is the assistant Director of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Mandatory Centre of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections.
The opening ceremony and seminar will be tomorrow at the main lecture Hall of the UTT Campus Chaguaramas by invitation. Presentations will include that of Dr Boomert on T&T Archaeology — Lessons from the past; Dr Willems on NEXUS 1492 Project Heritage Management in the Caribbean; Dr Pulliam on US Army Corps of Engineers Archaeologcal Curation Plan and its application to Trinidad and Tobago; and Dr Lopinot on the need for national management policy and a National Archaeological Institute.
For four days, from Monday to Thursday, participants will be taken on archaeological field training methods in archaeology survey in the Lopinot and Caura valleys of the Northern Range.
Climax of the programme will be the honouring of leading Trinidad and Tobago Archaeology experts Dr Arie Boomert and the late Peter Harris.
For more information the National Trust can be contacted at 623-0339.
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