Deakin Cultural Heritage Seminar in association with Blue Shield Australia: Heritage and spatial knowledge in the Second World War: How the ‘Monuments Men’ documented cultural property.

Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016. Deakin Melbourne Corporate Centre, 3rd Floor, Deloitte Building, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Theatre room – 2:00-3:30pm

RSVP: antonio.g@deakin.edu.au

The Anglo-US Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (the ‘Monuments Men’ organisation) was set up within the military government structures of the Allied armed forces in 1943. Part of its remit was ‘to preserve historic buildings, works of art and historical records…. by [furnishing] the ground and air forces with information as to the location of such monuments’ and to those ends the organisation, supported by largely American civilian agencies, produced a range of what might now be called ‘no-strike’ lists. This paper examines the production and evolution of this documentation by considering themes that are still issues in the production of modern cultural resource inventories. These include:

Production: Who undertook the research for these lists, and how? What were the relative roles of civilian and military personnel in this process?
Formatting: What formats and media were employed, and in what contexts?  These include typescript lists, printed booklets, and annotated maps and aerial photographs.
Data selection: What information was presented in the lists?
Magnitude: How comprehensive were the lists as inventories of cultural property, and how were decisions made over incorporation in, or exclusion from them?
Prioritisation: To what extent were priorities assigned to cultural property within the lists? Who made these decisions and how?
Dissemination: How and to whom within the Allied military structures were the lists distributed?
Reception: How useful and practical did military personnel find the lists?
All of these questions are relevant to the production of comparable lists today, and the experience of the Second World War provides us with valuable lessons in establishing such lists.

 

Biography: Nigel Pollard is Associate Professor of History and Classics at Swansea University, UK. PhD Classical Archaeology, University of Michigan 1993, with a thesis on Roman Syria, which became his 2000 University of Michigan Press monograph, Soldiers, Cities and Civilians in Roman Syria. He has done archaeological fieldwork in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy and the UK, but his main research focus now is on cultural property protection in conflict zones, both historical and contemporary. He is currently working on a monograph on the 1943 Allied bombing of Pompeii in the context of the development of cultural property protection in the Second World War, a board member of the UK National Committee of Blue Shield, ICOMOS UK member, and a member of the UK Military Cultural Property Protection Working Group.
 
 

One thought on “Deakin Cultural Heritage Seminar in association with Blue Shield Australia: Heritage and spatial knowledge in the Second World War: How the ‘Monuments Men’ documented cultural property.

  1. Veronica Bullock September 7, 2016 / 11:37 am

    For people living in and around Canberra please note that Dr Pollard is presenting the same lecture at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies in Canberra at ANU next Friday 16 September 2016. Please click on the link to our news item about the lecture to obtain details.

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