(Text ratified by the 11th ICOMOS General Assembly, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 5 to 9 October 1996)
As the cultural heritage is a unique expression of human achievement; and as this cultural heritage is continuously at risk; and as recording is one of the principal ways available to give meaning, understanding, definition and recognition of the values of the cultural heritage; and as the responsibility for conserving and maintaining the cultural heritage rests not only with the owners but also with conservation specialists and the professionals, managers, politicians and administrators working at all levels of government, and with the public; and as article 16 of the Charter of Venice requires, it is essential that responsible organisations and individuals record the nature of the cultural heritage.
The purpose of this document is therefore to set out the principal reasons, responsibilities, planning measures, contents, management and sharing considerations for the recording of the cultural heritage.
Definitions of words used in this document:
Cultural Heritage refers to monuments, groups of buildings and sites of heritage value, constituting the historic or built environment.
Recording is the capture of information which describes the physical configuration, condition and use of monuments, groups of buildings and sites, at points in time, and it is an essential part of the conservation process.
Records of monuments, groups of buildings and sites may include tangible as well as intangible evidence, and constitute a part of the documentation that can contribute to an understanding of the heritage and its related values.
THE REASONS FOR RECORDING
1. The recording of the cultural heritage is essential:
a) to acquire knowledge in order to advance the understanding of cultural heritage, its values and its evolution;
b) to promote the interest and involvement of the people in the preservation of the heritage through the dissemination of recorded information;
c) to permit informed management and control of construction works and of all change to the cultural heritage;
d) to ensure that the maintenance and conservation of the heritage is sensitive to its physical form, its materials, construction, and its historical and cultural significance.
2. Recording should be undertaken to an appropriate level of detail in order to:
a) provide information for the process of identification, understanding, interpretation and pre-sentation of the heritage, and to promote the involvement of the public;
b) provide a permanent record of all monuments, groups of buildings and sites that are to be destroyed or altered in any way, or where at risk from natural events or human activities;
c) provide information for administrators and planners at national, regional or local levels to make sensitive planning and development control policies and decisions;
d) provide information upon which appropriate and sustainable use may be identified, and the effective research, management, maintenance programmes and construction works may be planned.
3. Recording of the cultural heritage should be seen as a priority, and should be undertaken especially:
a) when compiling a national, regional, or local inventory;
b) as a fully integrated part of research and conservation activity;
c) before, during and after any works of repair, alteration, or other intervention, and when evidence of its history is revealed during such works;
d) when total or partial demolition, destruction, abandonment or relocation is contemplated, or where the heritage is at risk of damage from human or natural external forces;
e) during or following accidental or unforeseen disturbance which damages the cultural heritage;
f) when change of use or responsibility for management or control occurs.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR RECORDING
1. The commitment at the national level to conserve the heritage requires an equal commitment towards the recording process.
2. The complexity of the recording and interpretation processes requires the deployment of individuals with adequate skill, knowledge and awareness for the associated tasks. It may be necessary to initiate training programmes to achieve this.
3. Typically the recording process may involve skilled individuals working in collaboration, such as specialist heritage recorders, surveyors, conservators, architects, engineers, researchers, architectural historians, archaeologists above and below ground, and other specialist advisors.
4. All managers of cultural heritage are responsible for ensuring the adequate recording, quality and updating of the records.
PLANNING FOR RECORDING
1. Before new records are prepared, existing sources of information should be found and examined for their adequacy.
a) The type of records containing such information should be searched for in surveys, drawings, photographs, published and unpublished accounts and descriptions, and related documents pertaining to the origins and history of the building, group of buildings or site.It is important to search out recent as well as old records;
b) Existing records should be searched for in locations such as national and local public archives, in professional, institutional or private archives, inventories and collections, in libraries or museums;
c) Records should be searched for through consultation with individuals and organisations who have owned, occupied, recorded, constructed, conserved, or carried out research into or who have knowledge of the building, group of buildings or site.
2. Arising out of the analysis above, selection of the appropriate scope, level and methods of recording requires that:
a) The methods of recording and type of documentation produced should be appropriate to the nature of the heritage, the purposes of the record, the cultural context, and the funding or other resources available. Limitations of such resources may require a phased approach to recording. Such methods might include written descriptions and analyses, photographs (aerial or terrestrial), rectified photography, photo-grammetry, geophysical survey, maps, measured plans, drawings and sketches, replicas or other traditional and modern technologies;
b) Recording methodologies should, wherever possible, use non- intrusive techniques, and should not cause damage to the object being recorded;
c) The rational for the intended scope and the recording method should be clearly stated;
d) The materials used for compiling the finished record must be archivally stable.
CONTENT OF RECORDS
1. Any record should be identified by:
a) the name of the building, group of buildings or site;
b) a unique reference number;
c) the date of compilation of the record;
d) the name of the recording organisation;
e) cross-references to related building records and reports, photographic, graphic, textual or biblio-graphic documentation, archaeological and environmental records.
2. The location and extent of the monument, group of buildings or site must be given accurately; this may be achieved by description, maps, plans or aerial photographs. In rural areas a map reference or triangulation to known points may be the only methods available. In urban areas an address or street reference may be sufficient.
3. New records should note the sources of all information not obtained directly from the monument, group of buildings or site itself.
4. Records should include some or all of the following information:
a) the type, form and dimensions of the building, monument or site;
b) the interior and exterior characteristics, as appropriate, of the monument, group of buildings or site;
c) the nature, quality, cultural, artistic and scientific significance of the heritage and its components and the cultural, artistic and scientific significance of:
- the materials, constituent parts and construction, decoration,ornament or inscriptions,
- services, fittings and machinery,
- ancillary structures, the gardens, landscape and the cultural,topographical and natural features of the site;
d) the traditional and modern technology and skills used in construction and maintenance;
e) evidence to establish the date of origin, authorship, ownership, the original design, extent, use and decoration;
f) evidence to establish the subsequent history of its uses, associated events, structural or decorative alterations, and the impact of human or natural external forces;
g) the history of management, maintenance and repairs;
h) representative elements or samples of construction or site materials;
i) an assessment of the current condition of the heritage;
j) an assessment of the visual and functional relationship between the heritage and its setting;
k) an assessment of the conflicts and risks from human or natural causes, and from environmental pollution or adjacent land uses.
5. In considering the different reasons for recording (see Section 1.2 above) different levels of detail will be required. All the above information, even if briefly stated, provides important data for local planning and building control and management. Information in greater detail is generally required for the site or building owner’s, manager’s or user’s purposes for conservation, maintenance and use.
MANAGEMENT, DISSEMINATION AND SHARING OF RECORDS
1. The original records should be preserved in a safe archive, and the archive’s environment must ensure permanence of the information and freedom from decay to recognised international standards.
2. A complete back-up copy of such records should be stored in a separate safe location.
3. Copies of such records should be accessible to the statutory authorities, to concerned professionals and to the public, where appropriate, for the purposes of research, development controls and other administrative and legal processes.
4. Up-dated records should be readily available, if possible on the site, for the purposes of research on the heritage, management, maintenance and disaster relief.
5. The format of the records should be standardised, and records should be indexed wherever possible to facilitate the exchange and retrieval of information at a local, national or international level.
6. The effective assembly, management and distribution of recorded information requires, wherever possible, the understanding and the appropriate use of up- to-date information technology.
7. The location of the records should be made public.
8. A report of the main results of any recording should be disseminated and published, when appropriate.
1. We, the experts assembled in Nara (Japan), wish to acknowledge the generous spirit and intellectual courage of the Japanese authorities in providing a timely forum in which we could challenge conventional thinking in the conservation field, and debate ways and means of broadening our horizons to bring greater respect for cultural and heritage diversity to conservation practice.
2. We also wish to acknowledge the value of the framework for discussion provided by the World Heritage Committee's desire to apply the test of authenticity in ways which accord full respect to the social and cultural values of all societies, in examining the outstanding universal value of cultural properties proposed for the World Heritage List.
3. The Nara Document on Authenticity is conceived in the spirit of the Charter of Venice, 1964, and builds on it and extends it in response to the expanding scope of cultural heritage concerns and interests in our contemporary world.
4. In a world that is increasingly subject to the forces of globalization and homogenization, and in a world in which the search for cultural identity is sometimes pursued through aggressive nationalism and the suppression of the cultures of minorities, the essential contribution made by the consideration of authenticity in conservation practice is to clarify and illuminate the collective memory of humanity.
Cultural Diversity and Heritage Diversity
5. The diversity of cultures and heritage in our world is an irreplaceable source of spiritual and intellectual richness for all humankind. The protection and enhancement of cultural and heritage diversity in our world should be actively promoted as an essential aspect of human development.
6. Cultural heritage diversity exists in time and space, and demands respect for other cultures and all aspects of their belief systems. In cases where cultural values appear to be in conflict, respect for cultural diversity demands acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the cultural values of all parties.
7. All cultures and societies are rooted in the particular forms and means of tangible and intangible expression which constitute their heritage, and these should be respected.
8. It is important to underline a fundamental principle of UNESCO, to the effect that the cultural heritage of each is the cultural heritage of all. Responsibility for cultural heritage and the management of it belongs, in the first place, to the cultural community that has generated it, and subsequently to that which cares for it. However, in addition to these responsibilities, adherence to the international charters and conventions developed for conservation of cultural heritage also obliges consideration of the principles and responsibilities flowing from them. Balancing their own requirements with those of other cultural communities is, for each community, highly desirable, provided achieving this balance does not undermine their fundamental cultural values.
Values and authenticity
9. Conservation of cultural heritage in all its forms and historical periods is rooted in the values attributed to the heritage. Our ability to understand these values depends, in part, on the degree to which information sources about these values may be understood as credible or truthful. Knowledge and understanding of these sources of information, in relation to original and subsequent characteristics of the cultural heritage, and their meaning, is a requisite basis for assessing all aspects of authenticity.
10. Authenticity, considered in this way and affirmed in the Charter of Venice, appears as the essential qualifying factor concerning values. The understanding of authenticity plays a fundamental role in all scientific studies of the cultural heritage, in conservation and restoration planning, as well as within the inscription procedures used for the World Heritage Convention and other cultural heritage inventories.
11. All judgements about values attributed to cultural properties as well as the credibility of related information sources may differ from culture to culture, and even within the same culture. It is thus not possible to base judgements of values and authenticity within fixed criteria. On the contrary, the respect due to all cultures requires that heritage properties must considered and judged within the cultural contexts to which they belong.
12. Therefore, it is of the highest importance and urgency that, within each culture, recognition be accorded to the specific nature of its heritage values and the credibility and truthfulness of related information sources.
13. Depending on the nature of the cultural heritage, its cultural context, and its evolution through time, authenticity judgements may be linked to the worth of a great variety of sources of information. Aspects of the sources may include form and design, materials and substance, use and function, traditions and techniques, location and setting, and spirit and feeling, and other internal and external factors. The use of these sources permits elaboration of the specific artistic, historic, social, and scientific dimensions of the cultural heritage being examined.
Suggestions for follow-up (proposed by H. Stovel)
1. Respect for cultural and heritage diversity requires conscious efforts to avoid imposing mechanistic formulae or standardized procedures in attempting to define or determine authenticity of particular monuments and sites.
2. Efforts to determine authenticity in a manner respectful of cultures and heritage diversity requires approaches which encourage cultures to develop analytical processes and tools specific to their nature and needs. Such approaches may have several aspects in common:
- efforts to ensure assessment of authenticity involve multidisciplinary collaboration and the appropriate utilisation of all available expertise and knowledge;
- efforts to ensure attributed values are truly representative of a culture and the diversity of its interests, in particular monuments and sites;
- efforts to document clearly the particular nature of authenticity for monuments and sites as a practical guide to future treatment and monitoring;
- efforts to update authenticity assessments in light of changing values and circumstances.
3. Particularly important are efforts to ensure that attributed values are respected, and that their determination included efforts to build, ad far as possible, a multidisciplinary and community consensus concerning these values.
4. Approaches should also build on and facilitate international co-operation among all those with an interest in conservation of cultural heritage, in order to improve global respect and understanding for the diverse expressions and values of each culture.
5. Continuation and extension of this dialogue to the various regions and cultures of the world is a prerequisite to increasing the practical value of consideration of authenticity in the conservation of the common heritage of humankind.
6. Increasing awareness within the public of this fundamental dimension of heritage is an absolute necessity in order to arrive at concrete measures for safeguarding the vestiges of the past. This means developing greater understanding of the values represented by the cultural properties themselves, as well as respecting the role such monuments and sites play in contemporary society.
Conservation: all efforts designed to understand cultural heritage, know its history and meaning, ensure its material safeguard and, as required, its presentation, restoration and enhancement. (Cultural heritage is understood to include monuments, groups of buildings and sites of cultural value as defined in article one of the World Heritage Convention).
Information sources: all material, written, oral and figurative sources which make it possible to know the nature, specifications, meaning and history of the cultural heritage.
The Nara Document on Authenticity was drafted by the 45 participants at the Nara Conference on Authenticity in Relation to the World Heritage Convention, held at Nara, Japan, from 1-6 November 1994, at the invitation of the Agency for Cultural Affairs (Government of Japan) and the Nara Prefecture. The Agency organized the Nara Conference in cooperation with UNESCO, ICCROM and ICOMOS. This final version of the Nara Document has been edited by the general rapporteurs of the Nara Conference, Mr. Raymond Lemaire and Mr. Herb Stovel.
The participants attending the third Inter-American Symposium on the Conservation of the Building Heritage devoted to the subject of "The Revitalization of Small Settlements", organized by the Mexican National Committee of ICOMOS and held in Trinidad, Tlaxcala, from 25 to 28 October 1982, wish to express their gratitude to the representatives of Mexico and the organizing committee for the very kind way they have been received and express their satisfaction at the high standard of the proceedings and at the results achieved.
They wish most particularly to thank the government of the state of Tlaxcala for its hospitality and are happy to observe the efforts it is making to preserve the architectural and urban heritage entrusted to its keeping by history, which is of extreme interest to all the peoples of America.
The delegates, after examining the situation now prevailing in America from the point of view of the dangers which threaten the architectural and environmental inheritance of the small settlements, decide to adopt the following conclusions:
1a. They reassert that the small settlements are repositories of ways of living which bear witness to our cultures, retain the scale appropriate to them and at the same time personify the community relations which give inhabitants an identity.
2a. They reaffirm that the conservation and rehabilitation of small settlements is a moral obligation and a responsibility for the government of each state and for the local authorities and that their communities have a right to share in the making of decisions on the conservation of their town or village and to take part directly in the work of carrying them out.
3a. As established by the Charter of Chapultepec, and as reflected in the concern expressed at the Morelia Symposium and at other meetings of American practical conservationists, the environmental and architectural heritage of small settlements is a non-renewable resource and their conservation calls for carefully developed procedures which will ensure that they run no risk of being impaired or distorted for reasons of political expediency.
4a. They agree that initiatives for the purpose of securing the well-being of the communities living in small settlements must have their basis in strict respect for the traditions of the places concerned and their specific ways of life. They also agree that the situation of economic crisis at present affecting the continent must not restrict efforts to preserve the identity of the small settlements; on the contrary, if such difficult circumstances are to be overcome, reliance must be placed in the cultural achievements of the past and in the material forms of expression of our collective memory.
5a. They further observe that the introduction of patterns of consumption and behaviour foreign to our traditions, which make their way in via the multiple communications media, assist the destruction of the cultural heritage by encouraging contempt for our own values, especially in the small settlements; they therefore urge governments, institutes of higher education and public or private bodies interested in the Preservation of the heritage to use the media at their disposal for the countering of the effects of this process.
6a. They reassert the importance of regional planning as a means of combating the process of desertion of the small settlements and progressive overpopulation of medium-sized and large towns - a phenomenon which strikes at the very existence of the said settlements. And they point out that any action designed to preserve the urban setting and the architectural qualities of a place must essentially be a fight for the improvement of its population's socio-economic conditions and of the quality of life in its urban centres. They therefore appeal to governments and to competent bodies to provide a suitably integrated infrastructure together with the practical equipment for the arresting of the depopulation of small settlements.
7a. They consider that if the traditional environment of the rural settlements and small towns is to be preserved, and if there is to be continuity of expression in contemporary vernacular architecture, traditional materials and techniques must remain available, and they propose that, where these cannot be found, substitutes be used which do not involve any marked impairment of the visual effects and which meet the requirements both of the local physical and geographical conditions and of the way of life of the population.
Those attending the Symposium reassert the principles which inspire the work of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, as laid down in miscellaneous international texts, including the recommendations made at the meetings held previously in America, at Quito, Chapultepec and Morelia, concerning the conservation of small settlements, and adopt in their turn the following recommendations for circulation by the ICOMOS Committees in America and by any other specialists and for submission to the authorities, the professional associations, the institutes competent in the field concerned and the universities, schools of architecture and other bodies.
It is recommended:
1. That any initiative with a view to the conservation and revitalization of small settlements must be designed as a part of a programme embracing the historical, anthropological, social and economic aspects of the area and the possibilities for its revitalization, failing which it would be fated to be superficial and ineffectual.
2. That encouragement be given to interdisciplinary participation as an essential prerequisite of any effort in favour of the conservation, restoration and revitalization of small settlements.
3. That the public services administrations concerned with such things as communication, health, education, electrification, etc., should be duly conscious of the fact that their activities undertaken with the best of intentions can on the contrary cause harm to small communities if they are ignorant of, or fail to appreciate, the values of the cultural heritage and the benefits deriving from the conservation of that heritage for the community as a whole.
4. That if better results are to be achieved both in national policies and in specific legislation and in technical progress, the sharing of experience in a variety of areas is essential. Information, whether of an international nature or specifically relating to the American world, is most important. Emphasis is laid once again on the utility of publications designed for the purpose, and it is proposed that American working groups be set up on the various individual subjects involved.
5. That the use of regional materials and the preservation of the local traditional building techniques are essential to satisfactory conservation of small settlements and do not conflict with the general principle that any new work should bear the mark of our age. It is urgent that an effort be made to recognize and enhance the prestige and value inherent in the use of such materials and techniques where they exist, and to keep them alive with increasing forcefulness in the minds of the communities concerned. It is recommended that encouragement be given to proficiency in the skilled building trades in the form of awards and prizes.
6. That the governments of the Latin American countries consider as in the public interest the granting of funds for the acquisition, maintenance, conservation and restoration of dwellings in small settlements and the lesser towns, as a practical means of keeping alive the building heritage and the housing possibilities it affords. For this purpose there must be amendment of the norms governing the allocation of funds to enable buildings for which vernacular techniques and materials have been used to be eligible for mortgage loans.
7. That schools of architecture should institute and maintain M. A. degrees in restoration and doctorates of restoration and assign due importance in their basic training syllabuses to appreciation of the architectural and town-planning heritage, conservation and restoration problems, and knowledge both of vernacular architecture and of traditional building techniques, to enable their graduates to fit usefully in their professional capacity into the communities requiring their services.
8. That the recognized colleges and societies of architects should set up commissions for the preservation of architectural heritage capable of promoting improved awareness of the responsibility devolving on them for the maintenance of the small settlements, of compiling and circulating information on this problem and of recommending programmes and operations to this end.
9. That the representatives of the countries in the region make every effort to have their governments, if they have not yet done so, approve the Protocol to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (16 November 1972), so as to be eligible for the support and technical assistance of the international bodies.
The undersigned certify the authenticity of the present text, to be known as the "Declaration of Tlaxcala", which contains the conclusions and recommendations approved at la Trinidad, on 28 October 1982, by the plenary session of the third Inter-American Symposium on the Conservation of the Building Heritage.
Meeting in Stockholm, ICOMOS wishes to underline the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1998, in particular its recognition of the right of everyone to partake freely in the cultural life of the community.
In addition to the importance of specific conventions or legislation relating to cultural heritage and its preservation, ICOMOS affirms that the right to cultural heritage is an integral part of human rights considering the irreplaceable nature of the tangible and intangible legacy it constitutes, and that it is threatened to in a world which is in constant transformation. This right carries duties and responsibilities for individuals and communities as well as for institutions and states. To protect this right today is to preserve the rights of future generations.
The right to have the authentic testimony of cultural heritage, respected as an expression of one's cultural identity within the human family;
The right to better understand one's heritage and that of others;
The right to wise and appropriate use of heritage;
The right to participate in decisions affecting heritage and the cultural values it embodies;
The right to form associations for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage.
These are rights ICOMOS believes must be respected in order to preserve and enrich World's cultural diversity.
These rights assume the need to recognize, appreciate and maintain heritage, and to improve and respect a framework for action. They assume appropriate development strategies and an equitable partnership between society, the private sector and individuals to harmonize interests affecting cultural heritage, and to reconcile preservation with development. In the spirit that animates such statements, they call for international co-operation in the conventions, legislation and other statutory measures.
These are responsibilities that all -- individually and collectively -- must share just as all share the wealth of the memory, in the search for a sustainable development at the service of Mankind.
Stockholm, September 11th, 1998
ICOMOS Brazilian Committee, Itaipava, July 1987
Urban historical sites may be considered as those spaces where manifold evidences of the city's cultural production concentrate. They are to be circumscribed rather in terms of their operational value as "critical areas" than in opposition to the city's non-historical places, since the city in its totality is a historical entity.
Urban historical sites are part of a wider totality, comprising the natural and the built environment and the everyday living experience of their dwellers as well. Within this wider space, enriched with values of remote or recent origin and permanently undergoing a dynamic process of successive transformations, new urban spaces may be considered as environmental evidences in their formative stages.
As a socially produced cultural expression the city adds rather than subtracts. Built space, thus, is the physical result of a social productive process. Its replacement is not justified unless its socio-cultural potentialities are proven exhausted. Evaluation standards for replacement convenience should take into account the socio-cultural costs of the new environment.
The main purpose of preservation is the maintenance and enhancement of reference patterns needed for the expression and consolidation of citizenship. It is through the outlook of the citizen's political appropriation of urban space that preservation may contribute to improve life quality.
Considering that one of the characteristics of urban historical sites is their manifold functions, their preservation should not take place at the expense of severe use limitations, even when the allowed uses are of the kind referred to as cultural. They should, in fact, necessarily shelter both the universes of work and of everyday life, through which the more authentic expressions of society's heterogeneity and plurality are brought out. Concerning this heterogeneity, and taking into account the evident housing shortage in Brazil, housing should be the main function of built space. Consequently, the permanence of residents and of traditional activities in urban historical sites, when compatible with those sites, deserves special attention.
The preservation of urban historical sites must be one of the basic aims of urban planning, seen as a continuous and permanent process, supported by a proper understanding of those mechanisms that generate and influence the formation of spatial structures.
The preservation of urban historical sites demands the integrated action of federal, state and local entities, and also the participation of the community concerned with planning decisions as part of the full exercise of citizenship. In this sense it is essential to favor and encourage institutional mechanisms assuring a democratic management of the city through a strengthened participation of civilian leadership.
Within the preservation process of urban historical sites and as part of the analysis and evaluation of prevailing conditions, inventories are basic tools leading to a better knowledge of cultural and natural property. The participation of the community in inventorying is revealing as to the value it attaches to the property relevant and stimulates its concern as regards such property.
Legal protection of urban historical sites is to be achieved through different procedures, such as cataloging, inventorying, urbanistic regulations, tax exemptions and incentives, listing as to cultural interest and expropriation.
Accompanying the diversification of protective procedures, it is essential that the social value of urban property be made to prevail over its market value.