10. Information and interpretation: changing the way the site is managed

There are many resource management issues at Merv, including conservation, documentation, capacity building and education (Corbishley 2005; Williams 2003; Williams 2004; Williams 2007; Williams and Kurbansakhatov 2003.

The interpretation of archaeological information plays an important role in this: for example, the analysis of the suburban area suggests that the landscape is more complex and extends over a larger area than had previously been suggested. In establishing the boundaries of the Archaeological Park, and the subsequent World Heritage Site, the decision-making process focused upon the visible archaeological remains, and as a result created a buffer zone outside the city walls and around standing buildings, but excluded large areas of the suburban space. Careful analysis of the aerial photographic and satellite imagery suggests that there should be a radical rethink of this boundary.

Audio: Turkmen Archaeological Park guide Jumageldy Pirliew
(Q: What do you think we should do with this area? How should we manage it?)

Furthermore, our changing understanding and ideas of the nature of the landscape around the Kyz Kalas also changes the ways that these monuments can be presented and interpreted to the visitor: as part of a dynamic landscape, not simply as isolated buildings as they now appear. A teachers handbook (Corbishley 2005), designed to help local teachers to use Merv both in the classroom and through site visits, draws upon this research. Detailed resource and activity sheets have been developed to promote interaction with specific monuments (for example, see sheets 2a and 2b for the Kyz Kalas: see full list of the current activity sheets).

There is no doubt of the importance of developing approaches to the management of this complex site, articulated so well by the Turkmen Archaeological Park guide Jumageldy Pirliew when he said 'learn and protect'.


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Last updated: Mon Sept 29 2008