domenica 17 febbraio 2013

Sa Pala Larga: What now?

In the following we report the last paragraph of  a recent paperSeeking, Finding and Hiding: A Recent Neolithic Burial-ritual Rock Art Discovery in Northern Sardinia, Paola Arosio, Diego Meozzi, and George Nash, Time and Mind (2011), vol. 4, p. 31-42. Readers unfamiliar to the topic, may refer to this web page and to a commentary written by Gianfranco Pintore MP

[..]What Now?

As a national heritage body, to behave in this manner is unethical and restrictive and as a result we urge the Sardinian Soprintendenza to read, digest, and acknowledge international protocol such as the Valetta Convention (1992), of which Italy is a signatory. The Treaty of 1992 aims to protect: 

The European archaeological heritage as a source of European collective memory and as an instrument for historical and scientific study. All remains and objects and any other traces of humankind from past times are considered elements of the archaeological heritage. The notion of archaeological heritage includes structures, constructions, groups of buildings, developed sites, moveable objects, monuments of other kinds as well as their context, whether situated on land or under water.

Within the Treaty are specific details concerning procedures, protocols, and the dissemination of information to academic, professional, and public audiences in order to facilitate a common understanding of the past. By excavating the Tomba della scacchiera site and then covering it over in such way as to deny access for research and education contravenes Articles 7, 8, and 9 of the Valetta Convention (see Appendix 1) Despite
the lack of funding to properly conserve, preserve, and display this outstanding monument and its artistic repertoire, there is a clear need to address the issues of long-term conservation and protection.
In our view the monument is of immense importance to the local, national, and international academic community as well as the local population. (Indeed, as suggested earlier, the painted motifs themselves are equal to those within the Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni, Malta.) There are numerous other ways of protecting this most important heritage asset; uppermost is education, education, education.
It is imperative to point out to Sardinia’s Soprintendenza (and any other national governmental heritage body) that no one has an exclusive right to the past.

To the archaeologist George Nash, and to the science journalists Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi, I can only say: welcome in the club! Also I could say "Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch´entrate": the tomb is and will remain covered with concrete that is even spoiling. With the excuse that it is too expensive to protect because it is big, the pictures are fragile etc. You can consider yourself already lucky if they´ll give you any answer. 

Smaller objects, that would be very easy to protect,  date,  expose to the public and investigate, have flipped to another Universe or simply kept in a dark side of a Museum, with no label, although they are officially in the hands of the Superintendance. Just some examples, that ANY  other country would be happy to study and expose simply because they are epigrapic: the small boat from Teti, the disc of nuraghe Palmavera, the document from nuraghe Alvu of Pozzomaggiore, the sherds of Orani. In Sardinia  for archaeology they are NOTHING, trash, unimportant (at the best, when not falsified by myself-via some unknown power of the mind). 

But let's go back to your question: What now? easy answer: NOTHING, as always nothing. You may think that the Superintendance is not the owner of ahcaeological finds, but this is not what the feeling is. You'll find an example right here, on the top right side of the page. There is a poll running: it is showing very clearly which are the desires of people about the Sculptures of Monte Prama: they wish to see them all together exposed in a Museum in Cabras, their findspot. Do you think that this will matter? Marco Minoja, the chief  Superintendant, has already decided: he will follow his own golden dream of the diffused Museum. After having neglected the statues for more than 30 years, now they are holding them tightly with their teeth and they will fully neglect the desires of people.