VI. INVENTORY, PRESERVATION AND CULTURAL USES
A. Inventory and Study
One of the major problems being faced today in the inventory and study of rock art is caused by the variation in data available from one area to another. In order to facilitate the compilation and dissemination of information and knowledge, we should develop and adhere to a universal terminology and method of recording and analysis. Research teams operating in different parts of the world are compiling an inventory which will benefit archaeologists immensely and contribute to a new cultural approach to early human history. However, as a result of the lack of a universals stern, some researchers actually failed to accurately record the location of sites under their investigation. In addition, there is a lack of graphic documentation such as photographs and tracings, which leads to the already-mentioned difficulties in the exchange of knowledge and cooperation.
B. Preservation and Coservation
Preservation and conservation efforts are being undertaken both by governmental and non-governmental agencies in a number of countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Lesotho, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Despite the differences in environment, ecology and climate, similar causes of deterioration have been detected everywhere. Natural deterioration results from geophysical, chemical and bio-chemical causes, as well as from those produced far the greatest harm, however, is done by man. It can be involuntary, as the consequence of development or other re-use of the sites, or it can be the result of neglect and vandalism. The negative effects of man should and can be stopped, both by educational methods and by local and international activities aimed at preserving a common patrimony. Preservation being a common problem to many countries, the proposals for a solution should be elaborated at an international level. For this purpose it is important that every nation which has rock art in its territory develop a serious concern for its protection and a willingness for international cooperation.
The preservation and conservation of documentation is no less important. Records, photographs, tracings and topographic maps made by expeditions, individual researchers and government agencies should be used for research and for culture. Copies should be made available for present study, and also preserved for future generations. In fact, it must be kept in min t at every kind of documentation is vulnerable to deterioration. The most efficient way to preserve documentation is to have it published and disseminated. In this view, the functions of archives, which tend to be used solely as storage places, should be amplified. By elaborating as well as collecting data for publication, archives can serve to disseminate information more efficiently an(I to protect documentation in a more endurable way for the future.
The opening of rock art sites to the public is being considered in many countries. Parks have already been created in Italy, Sweden, Algeria, Canada and the USA. They are currently being planned in Tanzania, Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, the USSR, India and Australia. It is vital, however, that certain initial steps be taken. Study, inventory and rigorous graphic documentation, followed by conservation and preservation must be conducted before the sites can be made accessible to the public. Unfortunately, this sequence of priorities is not always maintained. Parks are planned and opened to the public without the necessary preliminary studies which would ensure that the legacy of rock art cannot be harmed by the public. At sites such as Valcamonica, in Italy, there are over 300,000 annual visitors, while in Tanum, Bohuslaan, Sweden and at Mount Bego in the French Maritime Alps, tens of thousands of people visit the rocks annually. Because of this natural curiosity on the part of the public, proper actions for preventing damage should be seriously considered.
Exhibitions on rock art have been planned for display in various countries. Two large exhibitions have been recently organized by the CCSP. One is on the rock art of the Negev and Sinai. Over 300,000 people came to the exhibition, which was first displayed for three months, in the National Museum of Jerusalem (Israel), and then in the National Library of Rome (Italy) for another two months. The second exhibition, on Camunian rock art, was displayed at the Triennale in Milan (Italy), and in seven months attracted over one million visitors. Some years ago an exhibition on rock art from Tassili'n'Ajjer (Algeria) was extremely successful in Paris (France). Other exhibitions have been organized and displayed at the Musée de l'Homme, Paris, in Canada at the Victoria Provincial Museum, B.C., and in Oman, at the National Museum, as well as in Australia, Libya, and Sweden. In other countries rock art is occasionally displayed in archaeological exhibitions. Such displays are most valuable in disseminating information, and do not cause any harm to the sites. Efforts to circulate such exhibitions and to stimulate new ones should be encouraged.
C. Cultural promotion
Two main aspects are considered here: 1. the training of specialists, and 2. educational promotion both at schools and in the public at large. Undoubtedly it is o little use to study rock art if research does not contribute to knowledge as part of general culture. By allowing the public to benefit from the actual investigations, a broader dialogue can develop between scholars and laymen. In addition to the above-mentioned parks and exhibitions, television and radio programmes have been produced by various museums and research bodies in Italy, France and Spain. Monographs have been published in several countries as well as international organizations such as UN ESCO and ICOMOS are beginning to take an active part in the dissemination of this special form of cultural information.
Still, not enough has been done so far. The constant demand for training courses and seminars should be satisfied. First of all, the training of specialists should be aimed at the formation of the necessary staff for the inventory, study, and preservation of rock art, and for the promotion of public awareness. Specialists should be informed and kept up to date on the progress of rock art research within a broad, international perspective. Thus, while countries and regional organizations should promote local courses and seminars, international organizations should instead be primarily concerned with the training of specialists at the international level.
Special cultural programmes for schools and for the general public should be organized, particularly in those areas where rock art is resent and is in danger of destruction or vandalism. Public awareness would inspire a feeling of identity for the local populations and can be the best way to safeguard the rock art sites.
For countries that lack the technical and financial means to develop parks, careful planning is necessary and international support should be favoured when requested. The results of scientific research at the service of culture must take into account the social, psychological and spiritual needs of each particular population, and develop means by which to convey meanings and messages to t e greatest number of people. One way to achieve this goal is to prepare displays used for travelling exhibitions, documentary films, radio and TV programmes, and, of course, to produce and disseminate publications.