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Managing our past into the future: Archaeological heritage management in the Dutch Caribbean

Caribbean archaeological heritage is threatened by natural impacts but also increasingly by economic developments, often resulting from the tourist industry. The continuous construction of specific projects for tourists, accompanied by illegal practices such as looting and sand mining, have major impacts on the region's archaeological heritage. The geopolitical and cultural diversity of the Caribbean, the general lack of awareness of island histories and multiple stakeholders involved in the preservation process, have in many cases slowed down the effective enforcement of regulations and heritage legislation.

Corinne L. Hofman & Jay B. Haviser
01 January 2015

The development of archaeological heritage management ( AHM) in the Dutch Caribbean islands started slowly in the early years of their semi-autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1954 onwards. With the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, CuraƧao and St. Martin obtained a more autonomous status within the Kingdom, similar to Aruba has since 1986. Simultaneously, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius became special overseas municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Consequently, these islands now fall under Dutch regulations for cultural resource management. Irrespective of these geopolitical changes, AHM has been developing on the six islands over the past 25 years, partly because of the active role of localized island-specific archaeological institutions.

This volume provides a background to the history of archaeological research in the Dutch Caribbean and compiles a number of compliance archaeology projects that have been carried out under and in the spirit of the Valetta Treaty. In addition, with its discussion of the successful creation of localized community-based archaeological heritage associations serving as an excellent model for other island communities in the Caribbean, this volume represents a unique contribution to AHM in a wider regional perspective.

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This book can be ordered at the website of  Sidestone.

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