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Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

China
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • Quarrying
  • Other Threats:

    Lack of maintenance ; Industrial pollution

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Unstable archaeological strata and cave roof
  • Need to prepare the master plan of the site giving priority to the remodelling of the museum facilities
  • Complete halt of site excavations
  • Lack of research funds
  • Lack of adequate maintenance of the site
  • Site museum needs to be refurbished
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 1 (from 1993-1993)
Total amount approved : 26,000 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-third session of the World Heritage Bureau - (paragraph number IV.52).
Twenty-third session of the World Heritage Committee - (paragraph number X.34)
Twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the World Heritage Bureau - (paragraph number I.44)

Main issues:        

  • Physical conditions with potential or ascertained effects:
  1. Seismic activity / Earthquakes: Due to the geological structure and the excavations, a number of the fossiliferous sites are potentially unstable and vulnerable to collapse. Earthquakes could trigger collapse.
  2. Vegetation growth on the excavated sections and ground surfaces: If allowed to continue, can potentially break up the archaeological deposits through root action and removal. While controlled growth of smaller, shallow rooted plants could stabilize vertical sections, the presence of plant growth diminishes the visibility of the archaeological section and increase the fire risk.
  3. Surface water and direct precipitation of rain and occasional snow: Growth of vegetation depends on water flow, which can contribute to physical erosion of the deposits, particularly the exposed vertical sections and cave floors at the drip line.

  • Lack of a regular monitoring system: There is no systematic monitoring system, which provides information for quantitatively analyzing the rates of change in relation to key factors such as vegetation growth, erosion of exposed sections and visitor impacts. Result of monitoring is necessary to assess the needs for conservation and planning measures such as the construction of shelters over various localities.
  • Lack of an overall conservation and management plan:
  1. Tourism development: Uncontrolled visitor movement contributing to deterioration of archaeological deposits and small scale vandalism. In an effort to enhance visitors’ experiences, protective grilles at localities are left open, increasing the vulnerability of the archaeological deposits.
  2. Mining and quarrying activity: Due to the geological structure and the excavations, a number of the fossiliferous sites are potentially unstable and vulnerable to collapse. These could be triggered by mining or quarrying activities outside the protected area.
  3. Industrial pollution: caused by coal mining, lime burning, and other industrial and domestic emissions is visible as deposits on the site, and contributes to diminished visible distinction between the archaeological strata in the exposed sections.

New information:

  1. In 1999, a Joint ICOMOS-ICCROM Reactive Monitoring Mission was undertaken to the site. This mission recommended both short and long term actions to be taken to address all the issues relevant to sustainable conservation and development of the site. The State Party informed the Committee at its twenty-third session (1999) on its intentions to seriously examine the recommendations of the Joint Mission.
  2. Numerous independent reports expressing alarm over the state of conservation of the site were received by the Secretariat. Locality 1 and other excavated caves continue to be exposed and suffer erosion and plant growth.
  3. Information was received concerning the closure of the site-museum due to financial constraints.
Action Required

The Bureau requests the State Party to inform the Committee on the results of action taken on the recommendations of the 1999 ICOMOS-ICCROM Joint Mission. It requests the authorities to provide information concerning the measures taken to address the conservation and management challenges facing the site, especially with regard to the establishment of a systematic low-cost monitoring system for the entire site. The Bureau encourages the State Party to elaborate an international assistance request for the development of a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the site.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

The Secretariat continued to receive numerous independent reports expressing alarm over the state of conservation of the site since the twenty-fifth session of the Bureau, especially concerning Locality 1 and other excavated caves which continue to be exposed and suffer from erosion and plant growth.

At the request of the Government of China, the World Heritage Centre and the Division of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO continued to explore possible extrabudgetary resources to address the priority conservation concerns.

The World Heritage Centre is organizing, in co-operation with the State Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia and the UNESCO Jakarta Office, an “International Training Course on the Preservation, Conservation and Management of Zhoukoudian and Sangiran Prehistoric World Heritage Sites” (22 - 27 October 2001, Solo, Indonesia). The objective is for experts and managers of the two prehistoric Asian World Heritage sites to exchange experiences in addressing the managerial and conservation problems.

The Centre continued to encourage the Chinese authorities to submit an international assistance request for providing international expertise and support for the elaboration of an overall management plan.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
25 BUR V.223-226
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (China)

V.223     The Bureau, recalling the recommendations of the Joint ICOMOS-ICCROM Reactive Monitoring Mission undertaken in September 1999, adopted by the Bureau at its twenty-third extraordinary session, noted that the State Party had not transmitted information concerning the implementation of the short and long-term actions for the sustainable conservation and development of the site. The Centre has since received numerous independent reports expressing alarm over the state of conservation of the site, particularly in Locality 1 and other excavated caves. Recently, the Centre was informed that the site-museum had been temporarily closed due to financial constraints.

V.224     The Delegate of Morocco underscored the importance of recognizing both the natural and cultural heritage values of the site and suggested that further scientific examination of the human remains and geological strata be undertaken. The site represented important quartenary periods and so it was important to look at the human remains in relation to the geomorphology of the site.  The Delegate of Australia, emphasizing the cultural significance of the property, expressed his Government’s willingness to strengthen regional co-operation through joint efforts within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Focal Point to enhance conservation of the site.

V.225     ICOMOS reported on an e-mail message just received from the State Party.  This reported on a recent appeal launched by the Chinese Academy of Sciences that has resulted in a private-donor contribution of approximately US$122,000 for the conservation and development of this site. Moreover, ICOMOS was informed that the State Administration of Cultural Heritage has announced its commitment to make available financial resources for the conservation and management of this World Heritage site.

V.226     In light of the information just received by ICOMOS, the Bureau commended the State Party for taking efforts to safeguard the site.

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision:

“The Bureau requests the State Party to inform the Committee on the results of actions taken since the 1999 ICOMOS-ICCROM Joint Mission and the twenty-third session of the Committee, whereby the authorities informed the Committee of its intentions to seriously examine the recommendations of the Joint Mission. The Bureau requests the authorities to provide information concerning the measures taken to address the conservation and management challenges facing the site, especially with regard to the establishment of a systematic low-cost monitoring system for the entire site. The Bureau also encourages the State Party to elaborate in co-operation with the Centre, an international assistance request for the development of a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the site. Finally, the Bureau requests the Centre to assist the State Party in submitting a state of conservation report for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-sixth session.”

Report year: 2001
China
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(vi)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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