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By Marta de la Torre

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Extra resources for Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage

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Both studies began by determining the range of architectural variation in the local community, investigating the local meanings attributed to the variation, and then verifying those meanings through an ethnosemantic method. Pavlides and Hesser photographed architectural details of Greek village houses that they suspected were symbolic of a family’s social standing based on their previous interviewing and house survey (Pavlides and Hesser ). They then presented these photographs to the community and asked people to tell them what each architectural detail meant.

An archaeological site could be part of a highly valued coastal environment or watershed. As such, these ecological values could fall into both sociocultural and economic value categories—but they relate to different sets of stakeholders. Because these values and stakeholders can play a significant role in decisions about a site, ecological values may in some instances warrant classification as a separate category of heritage value. A deeper exploration of the ecological values of heritage sites is beyond the scope of this paper’s argument.

These two versions of sustainability parallel the notion of distinguishing “sacred” versus “tradable” heritage27 and the a priori privileging of cultural values over economic values by preservationists (or vice versa by investors or policy makers). Whereas it is easy to insist on the total protection of things deemed sacred, in light of practical considerations, this is not possible and becomes mere rhetoric. A more pragmatic strategy recognizes the need for trade-offs and recognizes that some heritage is in fact tradable or convertible to other forms of capital.

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