Every now and then, I get a little bit melancholic. For various reasons. Yesterday, I got melancholic because of the end of the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Qatar. 26 new World Heritage Sites were inscribed during the last two weeks, among them some truly awesome sites!
Why do I get melancholic? Because it reminds me of my studies and of the field I wanted to work in. I have a background in cultural sciences and World Heritage Studies. It’s a topic that has fascinated me with its numerous aspects, its intercultural opportunities, its stories and histories, its international collaborations, its political decisions and discussions, its implementation. I would love to work in this field. But after I finished my studies, there was no job available in Germany and I had the choice: I could apply overseas and I would have had a good chance that I get a job in the World Heritage field somewhere around the world. But that would have meant a long distance relationship and no time for family for the next years. The other option was to choose family and to somehow find my way in Europe. I chose the latter. I worked in Scotland. Afterwards I worked in the Black Forest. Never really in the field of World Heritage, but at least in the heritage sector which I very much enjoyed. In the meantime, I did another degree, this time in interpretation (a field which is much more appreciated in the UK and the US than in Germany!). At the end of my pregnancy I stopped working as a tour guide in the Black Forest and moved to Switzerland.
Now I am at home with the little one. Which is awesome! Don’t misunderstand me – I am more than happy that I chose family over career! However, I every now and then I am a bit sad that I can’t work in the field I studied. I have put so much time, energy and enthusiasm in this field. And I somehow need a way to keep me up to date!
It so happened that the little one got a bag of building bricks for her birthday. And yesterday, while I was playing with her, I thought about the World Heritage Session and the existing sites, and guess what? I accidentally built the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings! Ha! There you go! Applied World Heritage Knowledge! The little one will curse the day when her mother started to play with the building bricks!!
Brief Scientific Excursion to the Pile Dwellings:
What is it? 111 small sites with the remains of stilt settlements – houses that were built on stilts as they were located in wetlands or at lake shores along the Alps. They were originally built between 5000 to 500 B.C.
Why was it inscribed on the World Heritage List? Because they offer a unique insight into the early agrarian societies in Europe! And despite the fact that they survived thousands of years by being preserved in the water, they are now facing the immediate threat of being destroyed by a 76 cm high gozilla.
What else? It’s a cool listing because the archaeological sites are not only to be found in Germany, but also in Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, France and Austria. It’s a serial nomination. Which means that, ideally, it should enhance intercultural communication as the countries are supposed work together, build a network and share scientific research.