ICON, Spring 2007
For more than a millennium, the Maya civilization flourished in southern Mexico and Central America, building great cities with extraordinary architecture. Today, vestiges of this ancient civilization are evident in the thousands of archaeological sites that dot the region, testament to the engineering skill and artistry of a people whose descendants continue to live in the shadow of these impressive monuments. For WMF, preserving what remains as each site differs in its urban design, method of construction, and natural setting.
This issue we journey to the land of the Maya where WM F has been supporting efforts to save these ancient cities and devise a comprehensive strategy to address such pressing issues as regular maintenance, public interpretation, and tourism management. Halfway around the world, we catch up with British archaeologist Andrew Wallace-Hadrill to look in on the complex preservation and management problems that continue to plague the 2,000-yearold Roman city of Pompeii. Under excavation for more than two centuries, this cultural treasure, included on WMF's inaugural Watch List in 1996, has become in his estimation "a conspicuous example of a conservation crisis," continuing to deteriorate along with other sites in the shadow of Vesuvius as a result of neglect and inappropriate restoration (see page 22). Reflecting on his years of field experience, particularly at Herculaneum, Wallace-Hadrill examines the international efforts to arrest decay at the site and guarantee its preservation for future generations.