Preparatory assistance for the inscription of Stone Circles of Senegambia
Africa is underrepresented on the World Heritage List, particularly concerning archaeological sites. This is why it is important to assist countries in the preparation of nominations.
In a territory approximately 350 km long and 100 km wide, on either side of the border separating Gambia and Senegal, there is a series of megalithic sites characterised by four major types of stone monuments. These monuments are called necropolises. The protection of these sites within such a complex environment required special technical and sociocultural efforts to determine the Outstanding Universal Value of the sites and the threats to each.
The World Heritage Centre called on CRAterre-ENSAG (center for the research and application of earth architecture - Grenoble National School of Architecture) to assist authorities from both countries with the coordination of their management plan (i.e. coordination of the management plan already under way, translation and presentation of texts, final bilingual document, assistance with production of site maps and readings, assistance with the final presentation of the nomination proposal). Technical expertise was provided to Senegal and Gambia enabling an evaluation of the proposed site’s value, an examination of elements assembled for inscription (i.e. historical bibliography, texts relating to protective legislation, site maps) and to develop the main outline for the management plan and for protection of the site. The transnational nomination file was inscribed in 2006 on the occasion of the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee (Vilnius, 2006).Following the site’s nomination, the World Heritage Centre, under the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, provided assistance for research programmes on the Stone Circles of Senegambia in support of African scientific research in the field of advanced archaeology about which too little is known.