First aid to Cultural Heritage. Training initiatives on rapid documentation
Keywords: Emergency, conflict, natural disaster, first aid measures, cultural heritage, training, rapid documentation, 3x3 rules
Abstract. Recent dramatic events have brought to the forefront the debate on how to protect, safeguard and document Cultural Heritage in conflict areas. Heritage places have become battlefields, sources of illicit trafficking and even deliberate targets of destruction because of the politicisation to further conflict ideologies as well as misinterpretation of the values they represent. Is it possible to protect Cultural Heritage under such circumstances? If yes, when is the right time to intervene and who can help in this task? How can documentation and training assist?
The International Course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis promoted by ICCROM (The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in collaboration with various partners focuses specifically on ways to help in such difficult and stressful situations. This paper explores the methodological approach and highlights the special circumstances that surround rapid documentation and preliminary condition assessment in conflict areas, and in cases of complex emergencies such as an earthquake striking a conflict area. The paper identifies international actors that might play a special and crucial role in the first steps of such a situation and recognizes the need for training activities to strengthen capacities for disaster response to cultural heritage at national and regional levels.