Prof. Dr Todor Krestev, Université d'Architecture, de Génie civil et de Géodésie, Sofia
Prof. Dr Elka Bakalova, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, Sofia

Table des matières

I   Introduction - définitions
II Histoire des monastères orthodoxes dans les Balkans
II.1     Période Paléochrétienne et période Protobyzantine (jusqu'au Xe siècle)
II.2 Période Méso-byzantine (Xe-XIIe siècle)
II.3 Basse période byzantine (XIIIe-XVe siècle)
II.4 Période Post-byzantine (XVe-XVIIe siècle)
II.5 Période XVIIIe-XIXe siècle
III     Typologie des monastères orthodoxes dans les Balkans
III.1     En fonction de la place représentative du monastère au cours des différentes étapes de l'évolution historique
III.2 En fonction du site
III.3 En fonction de la structure spatiale et fonctionnelle
III.4 En fonction de la stratification historique
III.5 En fonction de la forme de l'organisation territoriale
III.6 En fonction de l'attitude à l'égard de la nature
III.7 En fonction de la typologie du catholicon
IV Critères proposés pour le classement des monastères orthodoxes dans les Balkans
V Bibliographie générale


Itinéraires culturels du Sud-Est Européen - monastères et centres religieux dans la région. Projet multinational dans le cadre de la Campagne du Conseil de l'Europe « Europe, un patrimoine commun » ; PRIX JEP 2000, Grand prix 2002 de la Délégation de l'Union Européenne en Bulgarie ; Promoteur et coordinateur du projet : ICOMOS/Bulgarie ; Sponsors : La Fondation Roi Baudouin, Programme PHARE BG 9606, La Fondation Société Ouverte.

Version PDF du rapport

A Joint publication with TICCIH

By Stephen Hughes
(Head of Survey, Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales - RCAHMW)


The definition of a colliery
Possible categories of World Heritage colliery
General introduction to coal-mining history
Evaluation criteria for the study 
Areas and values of significance within the colliery heritage criteria
     Definition of the functional elements of a colliery and their evolution
Technical transfer or indigenous development
The criteria applied to major sites and monuments
The originators of the International Collieries List
Notes and references

PDF version of Report


THIS IS THE MOST recent in a series of industry studies prepared for the World Heritage Secretariat of ICOMOS on behalf of TICCIH as part of the Global Strategy for the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention, examining areas of the international heritage considered to be under-represented on the World Heritage List. It is not a list of the international collieries deemed to be most worthy of inscription on the World Heritage List: such examples are chosen by national governments that are States Party to the Convention and approved for inscription by the World Heritage Committee. Its primary aim is to define criteria of especial relevance for the selection of colliery monuments for nomination to the List and to provide international examples to which the criteria could be applied. These examples have not been confined to Europe, where so many historically significant collieries with fine buildings continue to exist, but include an internationally diverse range of examples.

The study originated with Stephen Hughes, Head of Survey at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales at Aberystwyth, and Professor Dr. Rainer Slotta, Director of the German Mining Museum, Bochum. Both were involved in the preparation of nomination documents for the inscription of collieries on the World Heritage List and with published studies of the context of each. Big Pit Colliery at Blaenavon (United Kingdom) and Zollverein XII Colliery at Essen (Germany) were inscribed on the World Heritage List in December 2000 and December 2001, respectively at the meetings of the World Heritage Committee in Cairns (Australia) and Helsinki (Finland).

The draft structure of the study was discussed at the intermediate TICCIH conference on the Industrial Heritage of Mining and Iron Metallurgy held in Miskolc (Hungary) on 26 September 1999. The draft study document was discussed at a meeting of the Collieries Special Interest Group of TICCIH at Cardiff (United Kingdom) on 4 September 2000 with representatives of nine nationalities present. In October 2000 the study was also posted on a mining history discussion group (mining-history@jiscmail>), with over 360 international members from twenty countries, for further comment. The completed study was approved by the TICCIH Board in the autumn of 2001 and forwarded to the World Heritage Secretariat of ICOMOS.

The evaluation criteria devised for the study are based on criteria i-iv in paragraph 24 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage ConventionWHC/2/Revised July 2002: UNESCO). They could equally be used for any forthcoming study of non-ferrous metals mines for the Global Strategy. They classify mines for inscription on the World Heritage List as: a unique achievement; a masterpiece of the creative genius; to have exerted great influence on developments of technological importance; an outstanding example of a type of structure or feature which illustrates a significant stage of history or directly associated with economic or social developments of outstanding universal significance. Areas of significance within these criteria include technology, economy, social factors, landscapes, and documentation. The renewal of parts of functional structures over a period of time is accepted as part of the evolution of a working monument and does not exclude the monument from consideration for inscription on grounds of authenticity.

Stephen Hughes


A COLLIERY 1 is a human-engineered mine for the extraction of coal. It may be of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history or technology, either intrinsically or as an exceptional example representative of this category of cultural property. It may be a monumental, or an integral component of a complex cultural landscape.


INTERNATIONALLY SIGNIFICANT collieries might be considered for World Heritage Status by conforming to one of four types:

  • Individual or groups of significant structures or monuments on colliery sites and adjoining colliery settlements;
  • Large colliery complexes and adjoining coal-miners' settlements;
  • Integrated industrial areas, either manufacturing or extractive, which contain collieries as an essential part of the industrial landscape. The existing World Heritage sites of the Ironbridge Gorge and Blaenavon, both in the United Kingdom, fall into this category.
  • Colliery landscapes, some with associated by-product processing and colliery housing and worker settlement institutions.


COAL WAS WORKED in the Roman period but to what extent is a matter for further study. Many major European coalfields were in small-scale use again by the 13th and 14th centuries. Until the mid-16th century most manufacturing processes still used charcoal as a fuel and the demand for coal working remained on a modest scale.

By 1700 the world's first Industrial Revolution was gaining momentum in Great Britain, using coal as a basic fuel. Coal production there may have been the largest globally by 1550, when 200,000 tonnes were produced annually, and this had risen to about 3 million tonnes by 1700.2 As the effects of the Industrial Revolution spread to the European continental homeland between 1785 and 1850 there was a great expansion in the coalfields of Saint-Etienne (France), Silesia (Prussia: now Poland), Wallonia (Belgium), and the Saarland and Ruhrgebiet (both in Germany). Despite this spread Britain remained the international centre of coal mining until 1900: by 1850 Britain was producing over 50 million tonnes annually, the USA 8 million, Germany 6 million, and France 5 million.

In 1900 93% of total global energy consumption was supplied by coal and international production had reached some 740 million tonnes. By the early 20th century there was a fundamental re- adjustment in comparative national and regional outputs. From 1900 the United States of America overtook Britain consistently as the world's largest producer of coal, so that by 1912 it was producing some 485 million tonnes of coal annually; this was almost twice the production of Britain, which was producing some 264 million tonnes. Germany was catching up with British output and producing 172 million tonnes annually, while France was fourth with 39 million tonnes. Not far behind came Russia with 26 million tonnes and Belgium with 26 million tonnes. Asia was beginning to emerge as a significant producer in the 20th century, with Japanese coal production reaching 17 million tonnes in 1912.

In terms of the global influence of the coal trade Britain remained the key player in the early 20th century. It exported by sea no less than 68 million tonnes of coal, compared to the much lesser total of 28 million tonnes of sea-borne coal produced by the rest of the world. The balance of production between coalfields in Britain was also changing. The Great Northern Coalfield of the north-east of England had been the largest in Britain from before 1700 until 1912, sustained by the great demand for sea-borne coal from the empire metropolis of London. However, by 1913 British coal production had peaked; the vast demand for coal from the hugely increasing steamship fleets of the world and the rapidly industrializing Mediterranean area resulted in South Wales becoming the largest coalfield in Britain between 1913 and 1926 and the world's largest coal-exporting coalfield.

The World Energy Conference survey of energy resources (1974) showed that in the pre-1925 period three nations - the United States of America, Germany, and the United Kingdom - accounted for 80% of all coal and lignite (soft brown coal) mined up to that date.3 In that year those three countries accounted for 76% of world production and were the only countries producing over 100 million tonnes of coal a year. An additional fourteen countries, half of them outside Europe, were producing more than 10 million tonnes a year.

By the later 20th century the situation had changed completely. An additional four countries were producing over 100 million tonnes of coal a year by 1971. In 1976 the Soviet Union was the largest producer in the world, producing over 630 million tonnes annually, China had an output of 415 million tonnes, Poland 185 million tonnes, and Czechoslovakia 113 million tonnes.

In the last quarter of the 20th century Australia, South Africa, and India have become major producers.

In simplistic terms representative sites and landscapes of the most important international coal-mining industries might be expected to be found in Britain between 1700 and the early 20th century and in the USA, Germany, and Russia within the first half of the 20th century. However, the survival of coal monuments and landscapes of international importance is obviously partly dependent on the vagaries of permanence of initial building, the chance factors of survival, and the possible re-use of structures.


IT IS PROPOSED that a colliery site should be considered to be of outstanding international importance in relation to the following criteria (slightly adapted from criteria i-iv in paragraph 24 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, WHC/2/Revised July 2002: UNESCO).

1      A unique achievement; a masterpiece of the creative genius

There are certain colliery complexes which are magnificent ensembles of buildings and machinery. Some collieries are outstanding examples of functional architecture and design.


2 To have exerted great influence on developments of technological importance

The first time a new technology is applied to civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or architecture is of particular significance to the history of mankind, depending upon how widely applicable and useful that particular innovation is. Collieries have historically been very important as the means of providing a basic fuel, allowing the evolution of developed societies with a high degree of economic and commercial interchange. The application of existing, or new, technologies to the evolution in sophistication of collieries' infrastructure is particularly significant in that process. Also significant is the process of technology transfer between countries and continents, particularly with regard to the ways in which this has significantly progressed the economic well-being of mankind and facilitated the development of sophisticated societies. Such arguments can be applied equally to individual colliery structures, to whole collieries, to large coal-mining landscapes with mining settlements and their institutions; and to integrated industrial areas such as the mining fields of metal-smelting works. However, the present condition of sites, structures, and buildings are obvious weighting factors in assessing the significance of such types of structure. It may well be that the present condition of the most significant sites as built does not warrant their designation as sites of world importance whereas sites nearby, or even at a distance, now represent more adequately an important stage in the evolution of world collieries.


3 An outstanding example of a type of a type of structure or feature which illustrates a significant stage of history

This can include colliery structures or complexes representative of the world's first Industrial Revolution as it spread from Britain to Belgium and the rest of the European continent at the end of the 18th and during the 19th century. Coal mines and their workers' settlements illustrating the spread of ideas and technology across the rest of the world are also significant: they illustrate how earlier concepts and engineering were adapted to suit local conditions and cultures.


4 Directly associated with economic or social developments of outstanding universal significance

The economic developments associated with the Industrial Revolution have already been discussed. Industrial communities, among which those associated with coal mining were prominent, led to many innovatory ideas in social engineering and evolution. Better housing, social clubs and institutions, and wider educational provision were all fostered in these new concentrations of population and led to the foundation of modern society.


5 Authenticity in functional structures

Like many other types of industrial archaeological feature, collieries are important because of their functional use. However, this functional use itself will mean that parts of a mechanism or infrastructure have to be maintained, modified, or renewed in order to maintain the primary function of an operational colliery. That this concept of renewal will not result in the automatic rejection of a site as being of world importance has already been accepted by the World Heritage Committee at its meeting on authenticity in Nara (Japan). It was also recognised in the 1994 and 1996 International Canal Heritage study that a significant element of the heritage of an industrial monument is its evolution over the course of time.

6 The level of existing legal protection and management

Mechanisms are not considered of great importance in this advisory study as States Parties can introduce such mechanisms prior to any formal intended application for World Heritage status. It is, moreover, explicitly stated in the Operational Guidelinesthat 'Nominations of immovable property which are likely to become movable will not be considered' (paragraph 25).



6.1 Technology

The following are the areas of technology which may be of significance:

  • The engineering structures of the colliery with reference to comparative structural features in other areas of architecture and technology;
  • The development of the sophistication of constructional methods;
  • The transfer of technologies.

6.2 Economy

The production of coal as a basic fuel has been fundamental to global economic development. Collieries are of continuing economic use despite the growing importance of alternative fuels such as oil, gas, nuclear power, and solar, wind, and water power. The following factors are important:

  • Nation building;
  • Industrial development;
  • Generation of wealth;
  • Development of engineering skills applied to other areas and industries.

6.3 Social factors

The building of collieries had social consequences:

  • The redistribution of wealth with social and cultural results;
  • The movement of people and the interaction of cultural groups.

6.4 Landscapes

Such large-scale works had an impact on the natural landscape. There was also the generation of new industrial settlement patterns from rural dispersed populations to the creation of urban nuclei.

Note: There are potentially some additional areas of significance associated with classifications of historic towns and natural criteria.

6.5 Documentation

The understanding of a monument's significance can often only come from an adequately preserved corpus of contemporary documentation. This includes design drawings, plans, and photographs as well as documentary textual references.

Modern documentation enhancing the value of the monument, complex, or landscape can arise from modern survey and archaeological and architectural analysis. Oral history can help to foster the understanding of the social architecture and institutions of worker communities.


7.1 The planning and design of collieries

TO AN EXTENT the form and scope for design was determined by the number of constituent parts of a colliery in any one period. With time collieries became larger, with more sophisticated and diverse constituent parts. It was inevitable that long-established collieries should assume a rather random plan as they became somewhat disparate assemblages of structures from a range of different periods.

Already in 18th century Britain collieries were beginning to be fairly large and were producing coal either for export or for use in the growing manufacturing and smelting sectors. The prime function of a colliery was to produce coal in the cheapest and most efficient manner. Those colliery proprietors who were landowners or metal-works proprietors had sufficient capital to run collieries but were most concerned to fund their considerable functional infrastructure. However, newly built collieries could be designed and arranged symmetrically. Thus one British colliery erected in 1767 by a copper-smelting concern had a circular walled horse-engine walk interrupted at equidistant intervals by attached stores ('a warehouse'), a colliers' lodge, and stables. To the north of it in 1768 were designed a formal layout of five houses for 'head colliers.'

As already discussed, the emergence of steam and subsequently of electrical power gave first permanency and then a new common focus to the planning of collieries on a much larger scale than hitherto.


7.2 Collieries underground

Underground mining was the predominant type of coal production until the huge mechanical and capital resources of the later 20th century made it feasible to lift deep areas of overburden and to work coal by opencast methods on a very extensive scale which in many regions is supplanting underground mining.

An actual underground mine is the extractive part of any colliery, and obviously the surface installations only exist to aid the production and processing of the mineral produced.

Recent excavation of early mine sites has shown the extent of their sophistication. In the 15th century in the English Midlands mines had developed gallery systems and rudimentary systems of ventilation. By the early 19th century the largest coal-mines had many miles of galleries.

Substantial lined shafts and galleries existed in all mines and increased in scale and complexity with period. Vaulted shaft- bottom galleries led into an ever-expanding network of main haulage ways equipped with haulage engines.

There are, of course, much greater difficulties of preservation with underground remains and with water-pumping unless gravity drainage is possible.

7.3 Winding coal

Horse- and waterwheel-powered winding apparatus was pioneered in non-ferrous mines, particularly the large developed installations in German-speaking central Europe. Waterwheel winding spread to the Great Northern Coalfield of Britain in the 17th century and horse engines of varying sophistication were common by the 18th century. The abundance of water in upland Wales also encouraged the use of water-balance apparatus. The spread of steam and then electric winding is discussed elsewhere in this document.

7.4 Colliery shafthead frames and towers

The growing scale of these features, so much a popular icon of coal mining, is largely due to the depth of the shaft and the type and form of motive-power employed.

First of all manual power was used for winding on well-head type windlasses, and such two-man windlasses were in common use by the 18th century

More sophisticated apparatus had to be elevated to a higher level and kept clear of the shafthead. Some of the types of high supports for winding pulleys are discussed in the relevant sections.

7.5 Water pumping

Water- and steam-powered pumps and their housing have already been mentioned.

7.6 Mine ventilation

Coal and oil-shale workings require even more ventilation than mines for other ores or minerals because inflammable gases such as methane are often present. In shallow mines carbon dioxide occurs naturally and can cause an oxygen deficiency. The largest coal production in the 17th century was in British mines and effective ways of circulating the air were developed here. Two air paths were essential for each working place: one for air entry and one for it to leave. Two shafts were often used, and to aid the process buckets containing fire were often suspended in one of the shafts.

In the 19th century fire buckets were often replaced by permanent furnaces. On the surface these took the form of distinctive chimneys, and some continued in use until about 1950.

In the 19th century Britain was still the largest coal producer in the world, and in the early part of the century mechanical wind pumps were developed by engineers such as John Buddle. From the 1830s large-diameter steam-driven fans with distinctive housings were adopted in the larger mines.

By 1900 the USA had overtaken Britain as the largest coal producer, and Germany and France were also becoming large-scale producers. New types of smaller-diameter electrically driven centrifugal and axial-flow fans were developed.

7.7 The use of compressed air

There were problems in using steam underground and so compressed air was developed as an alternative. It was first used successfully in France in 1845 when it was transmitted a distance of 228.45m (750ft) in a coal mine. Its use internationally was rapid and in 1849 the pneumatic rock-drill was invented in the USA.

7.8 Preparation of coal for sale

Prior to the early 19th century little surface treatment was necessary as quality was maintained by selective working by hand in the mine itself. Simple timber-built screens were built on the surface and hand-picking was practised.

After 1880 more elaborate and mechanized jigging screens and picking belts were introduced and coal washers were constructed to clean coal. Coal washeries were introduced at about the same time to clean coal. To facilitate the most effective flow of materials, screens and washing facilities were usually built on stilts so that railway wagons or road vehicles could be loaded below.

Rather different in form and purpose were the huge coal breakers developed in the United States for the processing of hard anthracite coal. These were developed in the period of the late 19th century as that country became the largest coal producer in the world. They somewhat resembled non-ferrous mines processing floors but were much higher and extended from the tops of headframes down to discharge points over railroad tracks. The cladding of these huge buildings tended to be of timber.

Figure A     Early architecturally sophisticated centralized colliery workshops at Le Grand-Hornu (1820-52) in Wallonia (Belgium) 

7.9 Workshops and stores

Stores and workshops would have been required from the days of the earliest collieries, and certainly by the 18th century storehouses are shown on colliery plans. By the early 19th century even quite small collieries had one or two smithies with a carpenter's shop. As the size and sophistication of collieries increased in the 19th and 20th centuries so did the number of functional buildings designed to serve specialist purposes (see Figure A). Subsidiary buildings often included stables, fitting shops, sawmills, electricians' shops, lamp rooms, explosives' magazines, and locomotive sheds.

7.10 Colliery offices

By the early 19th century colliery managers had offices, often in their on-site houses. As 19th century collieries became larger so did their administrative organization, and by the early 20th century substantial office blocks were being built on colliery sites. For a sizeable workforce of 3000 there might at least be a general manager, an engineer, and a surveyor assisted by draughtsmen and clerks.4

7.11 Pithead baths

Some pithead baths were available to miners in Germany, France, and Belgium from 1880 and were in common use there from the beginning of the 20th century, when legislation in Germany ensured their use. Legislation in Britain followed in 1911. Early British baths were copied from mainland European practice, and from the 1930s bath buildings in the modernist style were based on the work of the Dutch architect W M Dudok. Other welfare buildings such as medical facilities and canteens were based in bath buildings.


THE IDEA OF A STRUCTURE having an international, or indeed global, influence is obviously central to it being viewed as of relevance to the heritage of a large part of mankind. However, initially, and before the end of the 18th century, such a process of diffusion of knowledge is difficult to document. A single very large coal industry was confined to one country in that period (the United Kingdom) and many fundamental innovations in the industry were made there. Archaeological excavation has now revealed the existence of developed mines with galleries in 15th century England, but how widespread such features were internationally in this period is unknown.5 By the end of the 18th century British collieries often had many miles of underground galleries.

Large-scale water-powered non-ferrous mining technology with long watercourses and reversible waterwheels had been developed by German-speaking miners in central Europe by the 16th century and widely publicized internationally by the publication of Georgius Agricola's De Re Metallica.6 The precise metamorphosis of the examples of the machinery illustrated there into the numerous 'coal mills' found on the 17th century Great Northern Coalfield of (north-eastern) England or in the many 18th century waterwheels used in other British coalfields is impossible to establish. The lighter duty of winding on the extensive central European non-ferrous mines was carried out by elaborate horse-powered winding apparatus with roofed circular horse-walks. Edward I of England had imported German mining expertise to Wales in the 13th century, and from the 16th century German-speaking miners were brought in in large numbers to many non-ferrous mines. There must have been some transfer of skills into the rather different practices of coal mining in Britain but these are difficult to quantify. Rather interestingly, horse- engine ('horse-gin') construction in Britain was generally less elaborate than in Germany and the machinery and their human and animal operatives were not given the shelter of a roof. This emphasis on the functionality of British practice without elaboration of architecture, later followed in North American practice, seems to be a key difference from German mining cultural practice right into the 20th century.

Figure B     One of the large early collieries in the Great Northern Coalfield of England, c 1839. Church Pit, Wallsend, Newcastle (United Kingdom) 

New steam-powered water-pumping technology was evolved at the end of the 17th century and in the early 18th century, to be followed by steam-powered winding technology at the end of the 18th century. Pumping engines were integral with their large masonry housing and pivoted on a thick wall, but others of the growing number of elements in a colliery could be executed in much more temporary materials. Colliery surface layouts up to the mid 19th century in Britain, even on the biggest mines of the Great Northern Coalfield (see Figure B), were dominated by simply designed tall masonry beam-engine houses with elevated winding gear on spindly timber supports leading to irregularly profiled timber-clad shaftheads. The layouts were completed by timber-framed and clad screen buildings elevated over colliery railways and stone ventilation chimneys capped by timber wind-vanes.7 Smaller stone-built sheds huddled around these might include boiler houses, offices, workshops, and, often in larger collieries, coking ovens.8 Once again the prime design motive was effective production enhancement in any one period and not aesthetic considerations. In the later 19th century many individual colliery buildings and some colliery layouts were given a more permanent form in both in Britain and on mainland Europe. In Britain and in the United States of America this still often meant the simple and functional 'industrial vernacular style' with round-headed windows and rock-faced masonry in stone- building areas. In continental Europe a long cultural tradition of the ornamentation of large buildings that transferred to the industrial sector was much in evidence in elaborate buildings and layouts using Classical and Gothic Revival styles.

Figure C    Formal layout including twin Malakoff towers at Zollverein I/II Colliery (1847-50), Essen, Ruhrgebiet (Germany) 

The most striking example of a great expansion in elaborate colliery architecture was in the sinking of the many deep coal mines between 1855 and 1880 in the Ruhrgebiet area of Germany, leading to its becoming Europe's largest and most intensively developed industrial. area. The pulley wheels (sheaves) over the shaft were not supported by timber or iron headframes but by high brickwork Malakoff Towers (see Figure C) which lent themselves to elaboration better than their flimsier predecessors and the high costs of construction of which were met by banking capital from the wealthy bankers of Cologne.9 The Malakoff Tower became associated with the innovative Koepe winding system which was developed by the Krupp Company in the surviving Malakoff Tower at the Hannover Pit in Bochum. This used continuous winding-cables held by narrow pulleys positioned at the top of the tower and foot of the shaft, dispensing with the wide twin-cable drums that had characterized earlier practice. The use of both Malakoff Towers and of Koepe winding spread widely in mainland Europe.

In some of the British coalfields, such as the South Wales coalfield (then serving the needs of the largest copper- and iron-smelting works in the world), there was a separate and earlier development of masonry shafthead towers, but these were smaller and constructed of unadorned rubble masonry.10 Later 19th-century stone and brick shafthead towers were built at No 3 shaft at Seaham Colliery (Great Northern Coalfield) and at the Winstanley Shaft (extant) at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery in Midlands England. Both were exceptionally plain but the latter is seen as being of 'German' type; it is, however, much plainer and has obliquely sloping side-buttresses of a type not seen on the much more elaborate Malakoff Towers in Germany. The Koepe winding with narrow friction pulleys was hardly used in Britain before nationalization in 1947, when it was widely adopted: the surviving Koepe winder of 1923, set on top of a plain tapering concrete tower, at the former Murton Colliery, was only the second built in the Great Northern Coalfield.11

Colliery surface layouts had originally been given substantial permanence by the need to give steam engines considerable holding structures. In the 19th century there was a growth in the number of ancillary structures, but it was the switch from steam to electrical technology that provided a spur for the reorganization and regularization of new colliery planning. In Britain most large collieries had been established for a very long time and were being continually modernized and altered as the need arose. By 1900 the dominant area in the growth of the coal industry in Europe was the Ruhr, and it was here that a new concept in the surface planning of a mine was evolved.

Figure D     Early 20th century engine halls at Waltrop 1/2 Colliery in the Ruhrgebiet (Germany) 

Construction of the colliery yard of Zollern 2-4 at Dortmund began in 1900-2 using a regular layout on a new site and employing Historicist architecture. By 1902 it had been decided to build the first common engine hall, or machine house (see Figure D), into which all the generators, compressors, and winders were inserted by completion of the housing in 1904 (its 1904 electric winder is the oldest in the world).12 It was also one of the first colliery buildings to be elaborately ornamented in a new style of architecture (in this case Art Nouveau) rather than being finished in decoration derived from Classical or Gothic Revival sources. Its design concepts seem to have been influential internationally almost immediately.

Figure E     Cross-section of the Penallta Colliery Engine-hall (1906-09), South Wales (United-Kingdom) 

At this time there was a great boom in the South Wales coalfield, prompted by the large increase in demand for coal for steamships, which made the coalfield Britain's largest in 1913 (the year of maximum production for British coal). The coalfield also became the largest coal-exporting area in the world. Completely new colliery layouts were being laid out to meet this boom. Only two years after the completion of the engine hall at Dortmund one was being built by the colliery engineer and architect George Hann at Penallta (1906-9) in South Wales (Hann may have been of German extraction).13 However, one difference between the two sites was that Hann considered the relative merits of steam and electrical power and decided to adopt the former: the very long Penallta engine hall (see Figure E) included steam engines, winders, compressors, and a ventilating fan. In 1910-14 the new Britannia Colliery nearby was given a similar engine hall and was all-electric, with much of the electricity generated by waste gases from the engines at Penallta. Other engine halls of the same type followed in quick succession in this fast-expanding coalfield. Most are in very utilitarian style in local rubble- stone with some Classical Revival detailing.

The same steam-coal boom in Wales produced a noteworthy attempt at systematic colliery planning in a colliery grouped on two hillside terraces with matching twin engine houses flanking twin headframes and culminating in a tall central chimney. This Crumlin Navigation Colliery (1907-11) now unfortunately lacks its headframes but retains buildings designed in a basic Classical style executed in rich polychrome brickwork. The design concept of a colliery vista terminated by a tall chimney was one taken up in the design of the Zollverein XII shafthead at Essen in the Ruhr.

Figure F     Interior of former compressor house built in the International Modernist style at the Zollverein XII Colliery (1928-32) at Essen in the Ruhrgebiet (Germany). A turbo-compressor has been retained as part of an adaptive re-use scheme for the building 

Zollverein XII (1928-32) is remarkable for the quality of its buildings designed in strict International Modernist style (see Figure F) set amongst lawns and laid out on a grid with two axes, one culminating in a giant A-frame headframe straddling a shafthead tower and the second axis culminating in the boiler-house tower with its central chimney. Functionally it was designed to rationalize the infrastructure of the existing Zollverein Colliery, which already had eleven dispersed shafts, and to concentrate coal winding at this new central installation. The colliery was built as Germany became the largest coal producer in Europe and was greatly influential in terms of design and operation. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2001.

The influence of Zollverein XII is clear in the large mining complex at Faulquemont (near St Avold) in France which was constructed in a similar Modernist style between 1933 and 1935. Neat square blocks were set amongst lawns flanked a central avenue aligned on the power-house chimney (the complex has mostly been demolished). Somewhat diluted versions of the symmetrically planned mine, but spaced out and lacking visual foci, were built in England at about the same time at Coventry (demolished) and Houghton Main Collieries.14 Nationalization in Britain later freed resources for combined mine rationalization projects such as Zollverein. One of the first built in Britain (1948-53) was Maerdy (Mardy) Colliery in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which was laid out in closely grouped functional blocks on a grid-plan but lacking the visual focus planned at Zollverein. Rather similar were the new mines of the 1950s built on the South Wales anthracite coalfield at Abernant and Cynheidre.

What is more difficult to establish is any connection in planning through to the American coal industry, which was the world's largest by 1900. German and other European miners did emigrate there but the nearest European precedents to the giant anthracite breakers of north-eastern Pennsylvania are probably non-ferrous mine processing floors.

Some aspects of the design of colliers' housing can also be seen to have an international spread. The 'cluster house' was a group of four houses set in each corner of a single block, of approximately square plan and set in a spacious garden. Such houses were usually provided for supervisory or skilled workers within a textile factory. The type originated in the England of the 1790s, with surviving examples in the Derwent Valley of Derbyshire at Belper and Darley Abbey (both inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2001). It was later used in the Cité Ouvrière in Mulhouse (France) in the 1850s and from there spread to the Ruhrgebiet. Examples can be seen in the housing estates surrounding the Zollverein Colliery.15


9.1 Individually significant structures or monuments on colliery sites

Case 1: Worsley Canal Mines, United Kingdom

With the contiguous Bridgewater Canal this was considered by contemporaries to be (and indeed is) a founding monument of the world's first Industrial Revolution. The mines supplied the affordable coal that allowed the steam-powered textile mills of Manchester to make it the cotton-spinning capital of the world, using cotton from North America, Egypt, and the rest of the world.

The building of James Brindley's economically very successful Bridgewater Canal in 1759-61 had a profound influence on nine decades of canal building in Europe and North America. The 11.7km (7.27 miles) long canal was merely an extension of what were eventually 67.5km (42 miles) of navigable coal-mining tunnels on four different levels. This use of mine drainage to provide a means of underground and surface transport was widely copied in both Britain and in mainland Europe, where the published work of 'industrial spies' describing their visits underground made the Worsley Mines world famous.

Figure G     Entrance to the main canalized colliery tunnels (1759) at Worsley, Manchester, England (United Kingdom) 

The earliest mention of coal mining at Worsley was in 1376, and in the mid 17th century construction was begun of the first of three fairly shallow colliery-drainage tunnels that were between 1000 and 1700 yards (915-1554m) long.16 The much deeper twin navigable (still watered) entrances to the coal mines of 1759-61 (see Figure G) are set in the base of a high quarried sandstone cliff with a conserved canal basin at the entrance. Nearby are several rows of 18th century brick-built workers houses which surround the former workshops of the colliery and canal complex.

The tunnels continued to be maintained for mine drainage purposes until 1968; the entrance is designated an Ancient Monument and has been conserved. One of the most striking monuments inside is the inclined plane of 1795-96, which links canals at two levels and was drawn by a French 'industrial spy' soon after construction. The main mining level canal ran parallel to a fault and the many coal seams it intersected were each served by two branch waterways following the seam outcrop at that level. The main level had an elliptical arched top and half its depth was flooded as a canal. Spoil from the colliery helped to build the embankments on the Bridgwater Canal and was also taken by a special canal branch to start the reclamation of the nearby bog of Chat Moss. The beginning of complicated junctions, many vaulted in brick, was started in 1771 when a second parallel entrance tunnel was built that converges with the first some 500 yards (460m) inside. An upper canal was created from 1773 by widening the old 'Massey Sough' drainage tunnel that had been begun in 1729 and which was eventually 2.8km (1� miles) long.

Case 2: Le Grand-Hornu, Belgium

Le Grand-Hornu is important for retaining an early planned layout of the elements of a colliery complex. It is situated in the Borinage area of Wallonia, Belgium, the first area of the European mainland to be industrialized as the Industrial Revolution spread across the globe from Britain. Coal from the area was widely used in northern France as well as Belgium. The French coal merchant Henri de Gorge married into the rich wholesale merchant family of Eugénie Legrand of Lille.17 He acquired Hornu Colliery in 1810 and combined with the socially idealistic architect Bruno Renard in planning a complete coal- mining township between 1816 and 1835.18 By 1870-1921 there were some 2300 workers and 250,000t of coal were produced annually.

The Neo-Classical central complex comprises two grand courtyards which have now been mostly conserved. The pedimented triple-arched portal leads through the 100m long entrance façade with its hipped-roof corner pavilions into the entrance court, which housed stables, vehicle sheds, and hay and straw stores. A second gateway led through to a large arcaded elliptical central court which has high-vaulted engineering workshops for constructing steam engines (1831) facing a pedimented office block with cupola. The cathedral-like three-aisled seven-bay workshops included a foundry and an assembly shop. The two semicircular ends of this great enclosure are terminated by continuous curved arcades that once fronted other small workshops, for garaging a fire-engine, and iron, oil, and pattern stores.19

Figure H     Part of the large colliers' town at Le Grand-Hornu (1820-52) in Wallonia (Belgium) 

Surrounding these former workshops and offices are some 425 workers' houses, providing homes for some 2500 people (see Figure H) which were exceptionally comfortable for the period and were set in a rectilinear layout of paved roads flanked by pavements. Each collier's house had a communal room, a kitchen, and a bedroom on the ground floor with three bedrooms upstairs. In the rear garden were a shed and toilet. A well and oven were provided communally for every ten houses. The settlement is ornamented by two squares: the Place Verte, which formerly had a bandstand where the town band gave concerts twice a year in the summer, and the Place Saint-Henri facing the original de Gorge family residence. A school, library, baths, a ballroom, and eventually a hospital (the latter now demolished) were also added to this colliery settlement, which had been created on enlightened social lines.

The Grand-Hornu Colliery itself closed in 1954 and most of the functional surface elements of the shaftheads have been demolished. However, the workshops, stables, and offices together with the workers' settlement still form a complex of international importance.

Case 3: Ruhr Malakoff Towers, Germany

Thirteen tall masonry shafthead Malakoff towers, built to contain colliery winding gear in the second half of the 19th century, survive in the Ruhr and were influential internationally both as types of structures and as housings for the innovative Koepe system of winding. They formed the central elements of the well planned large complexes of substantial well designed buildings that were the vehicle for the rapid rise of the Ruhr as one of the most productive deep mining coalfields in the world. These impressive towers are up to 30m (100ft) in height with wall thicknesses up to 2.5m (8ft). Adjacent buildings contained winding and pumping engines at right-angles to or in line with the towers. The heights of the towers increased as coal pits became deeper and their appearance became more decorative, with the application of castellated architecture. Corner towers with separate staircases were added as fire escapes and steel headframes were often erected in, or on top of, Malakoff Towers. The towers were built in some numbers in the Saarland (where none remain) and in Upper Silesia.20

The oldest of the Malakoff Towers is that at the Carl Pit in Essen-Altenessen of 1856-61. The influential Koepe system of winding with a continuous cable was developed at the Hannover Pit in Bochum, where the tower over Shaft 1 is preserved with a steam winding-engine of 1893 still preserved in the engine-house alongside.21

9.2 Large colliery complexes

Case 4: Chatterley-Whitfield Colliery, United Kingdom

This colliery is important for being the only large 19th century colliery surface layout to remain intact in England and as a representative of the collieries that were the world's largest at that time. It achieved fame as one of the first mines to produce over 1 million tonnes annually. The multi-shaft layout and the incremental growth of the surface buildings and buildings are characteristic of 19th century collieries in Britain.

The Platt Shaft, the first of an eventual six, was sunk in 1843. Latterly electrical power was used in the colliery, but the horizontal twin-cylinder steam winding-engine of 1914 at the Hesketh Shaft remains intact with 914.4mm (36in) diameter cylinders and a 6.096m (20ft) diameter winding-drum in a large engine house.22 Elsewhere on the site are the Institute, Middle, Engine, and Winstanley shafts: the steel headframes over the Hesketh, Institute, and Platt shafts are the standard type of British headframe evolved in the late 19th century.23

By contrast, the headgear of the Winstanley Pit is carried on a tall masonry tower which has been described as of German type: it is seen as a plainer version of the elaborate Malakoff Towers but without Koepe continuous winding-gear.

Case 5: Zollern 2-4 Colliery, Germany

This complex at Dortmund in Germany is particularly important for representing a complete rethink in the planning and rationalization of collieries. In a deliberate act Emil Kirdorf, the then director-general of Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks AG, created a model colliery layout merging the disparate engine houses into one common engine hall. That process was facilitated by the new energy source of electricity that was provided to replace the earlier universal use of coal.

The original machinery installed in the Dortmund engine hall has mostly survived: most importantly the world's oldest electric winding-engine dating from 1904 remains in situ, as do the generators, compressor, and converters. This concentration of a colliery's machines in one engine hall (or machine house) was of international importance and can be demonstrated to have been copied internationally.

The engine hall is of some architectural importance as an outstanding example of the new international Art Nouveau (known as Jugendstil in Germany) architecture. The buildings in the colliery yard area were built by the architect Paul Knobbe between 1900 and 1904 in the Historicist architecture that had been traditional in grander colliery layouts up to that period. The industrialist Paul Knobbe had seen the pavilions built by the structural engineer Reinhold Krohn and the architect Bruno Möhring at the Düsseldorf Exhibition in 1902 and subsequently commissioned them to build an engine hall with a steel framework incorporating glass and brick. Möhring designed the main portal in the form of a shell on the outside and on the inside as a vine arbour. Panes of glass in violet, green, and blue light interior idiosyncratic features such as those in the electrical control centre. A brass clock hangs from the ceiling while the fittings themselves were inset into the marble walls between Egyptian-style Art Nouveau portals and pilasters. Möhring took his inspiration for the bright green external paintwork used on the steel framework of the machine house from the entrances to the Paris Métro designed by the French architect Hector Guimard.24

The original headframes to the two shafts were to the north and south of the engine hall and were demolished following closure, but they have been replaced by contemporary headframes brought in from Gelsenkirchen and Herne Collieries. The demolished shafthead building from the winding shaft has been replaced by a replica. The washery and neighbouring coke works have also been demolished.

All the buildings were laid out on a regular grid. The approach road from the attached colliery workers' settlement was flanked by trees. The colliery entrance was flanked by two brick buildings of 1902: the gatehouse and first-aid station. To the north are the carpenter's shop, blacksmiths' forge, fitting shop, stables, outbuildings, sheds, coachman's rooms, and the fire- fighting equipment. To the south are the former wages room, the workers' baths, magazines, the lamp room, and rooms for the caretaker, shift foreman, and the young miners in one large building.

9.3 Colliery landscapes

Case 6: Zeche Zollverein (Colliery), Germany

This large colliery at Essen in the Ruhr mining district of Germany eventually comprised twelve shafts on five main sites: four shafts and a coke works remain on immediately adjacent sites by Zollverein XII. It is remarkable for the quality of the buildings and the layout of the shafthead of Zollverein XII, which was designed as the central shaft of the complex in 1928-32 at a time when German coal production was becoming the largest in Europe.25

The importance of the complex is enhanced by the survival of parts of the earlier pits of the colliery and by the extensive colliery workers' housing which surrounds the cluster of shaftheads. Zollverein XII is a fine piece of International Modernist functional architecture designed by the specialist colliery and industrial architects Martin Kremmer and Fritz Schupp. The adjacent coke works, which had been intended as part of the original scheme, was completed by Fritz Schupp in 1958-61.

The layout of the Zollverein XII pithead is a grid with the road access based on two axes flanked by buildings and lawns (the 'Westphalian Style') and terminated by two impressive and centrally aligned engineering features. One is the great winding- frame (supported by four symmetrical inclined struts) with Koepe winding over the tall brown-brick tower of the shafthead and the other is the central tower and tall chimney of the boiler house. Most of the machinery of the colliery has been conserved intact among a successful programme of re-use. All surface buildings have been retained including the washery.

The Zollverein complex was producing over 1,000,000t by 1890 and about 2,300,000t by 1890 and the workforce rose from 2000 to 6526 people. By 1914 architects were involved in the design of 543 workers' houses.

In 1926 the Zollverein Pits became part of Europe's largest mining complex as part of the new steel/coal combine Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG. This large group instituted a rationalization programme based on the construction of a small number of pits with high outputs. Zollverein XII was one of these. In 1932 and 1934-49 the production of the Zollverein Colliery was the largest in the Ruhr and in 1937 production peaked at a maximum output of 3,588,000t. In the 1950s there was a change to skip winding at Zollverein XII and in 1957 and 1972 the shaft was deepened to an eventual 1005m. In 1986 the whole of the Zollverein Colliery closed except for pumping at Zeche (Shaft) XII. The coke works closed in 1993.

The re-use of the Zeche XII buildings has retained much of the plant intact, including a low-pressure compressor, a turbo compressor, a boiler, and the washery.

Figure I     Early 20th century miners' housing at Zollverein Colliery, Essen (Germany) 

The industrial cultural landscape of the Zollverein Colliery was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, comprising everything within the boundary of the whole Zollverein colliery as it operated from 1847 to 1986. This included the several estates of extensive colliery housing that were constructed from 1847 onwards, including interesting social experiments such the 'Pestalozzi Villages' built from 1953 for young miners living with married couples who acted as surrogate parents (see Figure I). The predominant housing type on the other extensive estates were buildings subdivided into four, each apartment provided with a generous plot of about 640m2 so that vegetables could be grown.26 In the event only the industrial installations of Zollverein were inscribed on the List, but the surrounding estates were included in the buffer zone within which there are constraints on construction activities that might have an adverse impact on the World Heritage site.

Two of the four earlier shafthead complexes of the Zollverein Mine (two to three shafts each) retain a more eclectic mix of structures and machinery, including some earlier structures.

The shafthead complex of Zollverein shafts I, II, and VIII are sited immediately next to the shafthead of Zollverein XII and the Zollverein coking plant . When Zollverein XII was built it was used solely for winding coal, the miners entering and leaving via shafts I and II. Zollverein I, sunk in 1847, has a brick winding- engine house of 1903 (designed by the architect Fuller) capped by a barrel-shaped roof and was re-equipped with a 2860kW electric winding-engine in 1957. The adjoining Zollverein II of 1847, deepened to 1005m, is surmounted by a tertiary enclosed steelwork tower capped by a 2000kW Koepe winding engine of 1950. The tower was designed in 1950 by the colliery architect Fritz Schupp and was moved from a colliery at Bochum to replace a 1923 headframe over shaft II in 1964-65. The common engine hall of 1903, with its twin barrel-shaped roofs and round-headed windows, is part of the same layout as the shaft I winding-house and originally contained a steam-turbine generator and a compressor and fan. A separate fan-house of 1917 was re-equipped with an axial electric fan in 1964 and was designed by the architect Stolze, as were the engine shed (1921), the stores (1922), and the colliery baths (1906) with its barrel-shaped roof. The oldest building on the site was designed in the same Classical Revival style as the original Malakoff Towers (demolished): it was the two-storey hipped-roof colliery offices of 1878 which were converted to office workers' housing when New Neo-Baroque offices were built by Stolze in 1906. Adjacent to the original offices is a colliery manager's house built in matching style.

Zollverein III/VII were sunk in 1881 but were reduced in importance and partly demolished after the new central winding- shaft at Zollverein XII was opened in 1932. Remaining is the headframe of Zollverein X, which was added in 1913. The adjoining twin winding-engine houses and converter were built as a three- aisled structure in 1913-20. A 741kW electric winder of 1920 and contemporary converter remain in situ. An engine hall of 1913-17, partly demolished in 1952, contains a crane of 1918 and a turbo compressor of 1952.

Case 7: The Scranton Anthracite Mining Landscape

The emergence of the United States of America as the world's largest producer of coal at the end of the 19th century was achieved with strictly functional colliery layouts, often of timber, that have not largely survived in an intact state. However, in the important coal-mining state of Pennsylvania, the Scranton Anthracite Museum administers the two sites. Pioneer Coal Mine Tunnel is 427m (1400ft) long and retains working areas on a steeply pitched seam. The tunnel is accessible by a mine railway for the public and outside a steam locomotive is used to carry visitors along an old coal-mines railway to view old strip (ie opencast) mines. The Eckley Anthracite Village was built as a coal company township in 1854-61 with 54 buildings: four were added later.27

Case 8: The Sorachi Coal-mining Landscape, Hokkaido, Japan

By 1910 Japan was the biggest coal producer in Asia.28 The industry's production had grown almost fourfold by 1940, when national production was 56,313,000t. A second peak was achieved in the 1960s, but after 1966 national production fell below 50,000,000t and has been in continual decline ever since. There are considerable colliery buildings and settlements remaining in the largest Japanese coalfield in the Sorachi District of the northern island of Hokkaido; they show a mix of the adaptation of UK, German, and American coal-mining technology and the indigenous development of housing and settlement types.29 In the 1930s coal production at the Hokkaido coal mines attained 22% of the Japanese national total and in the 1950s it represented 37- 60%. In 1998 the Sorachi Regional Government started a project to document the considerable heritage of the colliery settlements and associated mines and to found a large eco-museum.

Particular local conditions determined the particular characteristics of the Hokkaido industry. The very inclined, deep (more than 600m) and thin (less than 1m) coal seams led to the use of relatively few large shafts with considerable washeries. The large amounts of rock waste led to the characteristic landscape of waste tips over 150m in height. Very cold winter conditions compelled most Hokkaido coal-mines to have large steam-driven electrical generation stations. The high levels of methane in the mines encouraged the use of high-pressure water cutting at the coalface, as in the Kami-Sunagawa, Sumitomo- Akabira, and Haboro-Chikubetu Coalmines.

Figure J     Types of mining and coal processing used at the Hokkaido Coalmines (Japan) in the later 20th century 

Yubari Tanko (1890-1977), with an annual production of 2,000,000t, was the largest colliery in Japan (see Figure J) and its workers settlement of Yubari City housed a population of 110,000. The biggest shafthead at Yubari Seisaku Sho and its washery are preserved monuments. Many colliery tunnel portals survive, such as those at Chitose and Kitakami. In the attached settlement is the biggest of the coal-mining company's clubs - the Hokutan Shikanotani Kurabu (now conserved) - and the four distinctive miners' townships of Fukuzumi, Shakou, Sumizome, and Takamatu.

A shafthead such as that at the extant Sumitomo Ponbetu (1960-71) shows the influence of imported technology. The A- frame headgear, similar to the earlier example at Zollverein XII in Germany, was constructed by the Japanese Mitsubishi Zousen Company. There are four pulley wheels (sheaves) on the frame, supporting double cages and using the German Koepe continuous winding system. The combination of man and machinery winding was the first dual-use system in Japan. The horizon mining-system combining work on the Ponbetu and Yayoi coal seams used technology from the GHH Coalmining Company in Germany. The mine achieved a production of 1,420,000t in 1970, but in 1971 its underground workings were combined with those of the neighbouring Akabira Coalmine and the Sumitomo Ponbetu shafthead ceased active production. The shafthead is the most significant and comprehensive collection of colliery structures and machinery of its period in Japan.30

The Sorachi Industrial Heritage Landscape includes 115 distinct structures, complexes, and areas. These include coal-mine shaftheads, mining tunnel portals, coal washeries, coal-miners' settlements, coal offices, social clubs, and coal- waste heaps. There are four mining machinery collections and 24 social institutional landmarks, including schools, public baths, cinemas, a photo studio, and a barber's shop. Also included are 27 structures and features from the dense railway system that serviced the coalfield. Eighteen features have also been defined from the cultural heritage of the area. There are ten archives, museums, and research institutes covering the mining field.

The existing World Heritage industrial cultural landscapes of the Ironbridge Gorge and Blaenavon in the United Kingdom also both contain significant coal-mining elements.


Stephen Hughes Head of Survey, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, United Kingdom
Professor Dr. Rainer Slotta Director of the German Mining Museum, Bochum, Germany

The research carried out for three publications has served as the foundation for this work:

M Ganzelewski & R Slotta Die Denkmal-Landschaft "Zeche Zollverein" (Bochum, 1999): also available as an English-language CD The "Zeche Zollverein" Landscape of Monuments(Bochum, 2000);
S Hughes, B Malaws, M Parry, and P Wakelin Collieries of Wales: Engineering & Architecture (Aberystwyth, 1995);
S Hughes Copperopolis: Landscapes of the early Industrial Period in Swansea (Aberystwyth, 2000).

The draft structure and consultation network of this study were presented and discussed at the intermediate TICCIH Conference on the Industrial Heritage of Mining and Iron Metallurgy held in Miskolc, Hungary, 26 September 1999

The participants at the Meeting of the Collieries Special Interest Group of TICCIH, held in Cardiff, United Kingdom, 4 September 2000 were:

Professor Eiichi Aoki (Japan)
Mr Dag Avango (Sweden)
Ms Maria Bjorkroth (Sweden)
Dr Erik Blakeley (UK)
Dr Federica Cortese (Italy)
Dr Eva Dahlström (Sweden)
Mr Martin Gantenberg (Germany)
Mr Jan Geijerstam (Sweden) 
Dr David Gwyn (UK)
Dr Friedhelm Henseler (Germany)
Mr Stephen Hughes (UK)
Dr Hans Kania (Germany)
Mr David Leighton (UK)
Dr Michael Mende (Germany)
Dr Per Oestensen (Norway)
Dr Akira Oita (Japan)
Mr Fred Torgerson (USA)
Dr Louise Trottier (Canada)
Professore Augusto Vitale (Italy)
Dr Peter Wakelin (UK)
Mr Peter White (UK)
Mr Richard Wittasek (Austria)
Mr Hirotaka Yamada (Japan)
Mr John Yates (UK)
Dr Peter Wakelin (UK)
Internet Consultation: In October 2000 the draft list was made available to the 280 international members of the mining history discussion group at mining-history@jiscmail andfurther comments were received.

Other consultees were:

Mr Eric DeLony (Chief, Historic American Engineering Record, USA)
Mr Michael Workman (Ihtia, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA) 
Mr David Worth (freelance industrial archaeologist, Fish Hoek, South Africa)

  1. The definition of an industrial monument is based on the Information Document on Heritage Canals produced for presentation to the World Heritage Committee by the expert meeting under the auspices of Canadian Heritage in 1994 (hereafter referred to as the 1994 'Heritage Canals Document').
  2. I J Brown, 'Coal Mining' in B Trinder (ed), The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Industrial Archaeology (Oxford & Cambridge (Massachusetts), 1992), 161-64.
  3. R Vielvoye, 'The Significance of Coal as a World Energy Resource' in Coal: Technology for Britain's Future (London, 1976), 8-28, 13-16.
  4. S Hughes, B Malaws, M Parry & P Wakelin, Collieries of Wales: Engineering & Architecture (Aberystwyth, 1996), 137.
  5. Excavations on the modern opencast coal-mining site at Coleorton, Leicestershire, in the East Midlands have demonstrated this sophistication of early mines which have been dated dendrochronologically to 1450 and 1463 (R York & S Warburton, 'Digging deep in mining history',Bulletin of the Association of Industrial Archaeology (Vol 18, No 4), 1-2.
  6. Examples of such non-ferrous mining landscapes in central Europe are already World Heritage sites: eg Rammelsberg in the Harz Mountains of Saxony (Germany) and Banská �tiavnica (Slovakia).
  7. Many of the largest collieries in the world at the time were situated in the Great Northern Coalfield of England and were illustrated by Thomas Hair in 1844 in a book on the Northern Coalfield. Most of these were subsequently republished in W Fordyce, A History of Coal, Coke and Coal Fields and the Manufacture of Iron in the North of England (Newcastle, 1960).
  8. S Gould & D Cranstone, Monuments Protection Programme: the Coal Industry (London, unpublished report for English Heritage, 1992), 10.
  9. A Föhl, 'Ruhrgebiet' in B Trinder (ed.), op. cit., 650-54.
  10. Crimea Pit is an example surviving from 1854: see S Hughes & P Reynolds, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of the Swansea Region (Aberystwyth & Ironbridge, 1988).
  11. S Gould & I Ayris, Colliery Landscapes: An aerial survey of the deep-mined coal industry in England (London, 1995), 52.
  12. M Ganzelewski & R Slotta, The "Zeche Zollverein" Landscape of Monuments - A Coal Mine as Part of the World Cultural Heritage?! (Bochum, 1999), 77-79.
  13. The buildings at Penallta have been retained and are to be re-used. For details of the site see S Hughes, B Malaws, M Parry, & P Wakelin, op. cit., 14-16 & 170.
  14. Ganzelewski & Slotta, op. cit., 154-55.
  15. B Trinder, 'Transfer of technology' & 'Cluster house' in B Trinder (ed), op. cit., 771-73 & 160.
  16. G Atkinson, The Canal Duke's Collieries: Worsley 1760-1900 (Manchester, c1980), 5-7.
  17. K Hudson, World industrial archaeology (Cambridge, 1979), 58-62.
  18. J Liebin, 'Les charbonnages' in L-F Genicot & J-P Hendrickx (eds) Wallonie-Bruxelles: Berceau de l'Industrie sur le Continent Européen (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1990), 43-56, 46.
  19. 'Le Grand-Hornu', Patrimoine de l'industrie (3, 2000), 108-09.
  20. A Föhl, 'Malakoff tower' & 'Ruhrgebiet' in B Trinder (ed.) op. cit., 440-41 & 650-654.
  21. Ganzelewski & Slotta, op. cit., 75.
  22. R Sherlock, Industrial Archaeology of Staffordshire (Newton Abbot, 1976), 92, 192.
  23. F Brook, The Industrial Archaeology of the British Isles: 1 The West Midlands (London, 1977), 136-37.
  24. Ganzelewski & Slotta, op. cit., 77-79.
  25. Ibid, 1-46.
  26. Ibid, 244-49.
  27. I J Brown, 'International Guide to Museums' in 'Guide to the Coalfields' in The Colliery Guardian (1995), 25-27.
  28. The Colliery Year Book and Coal Trades Directory 1940 (London, 1940), 668.
  29. H Yamada, The Industrial Heritage of Coalmining in Hokkaido and its Preservation as an Eco-Museum (Written paper given at TICCIH 2000, London & at the TICCIH Collieries Special Interest Group), 1-2.
  30. Ibid

By Janette Deacon, 2002
in collaboration with members of the Southern African Rock Art Project (SARAP)


ROCK ART by hunter-gatherers, herders, and/or later farming communities occurs in almost all countries in Africa. There is, however, a distinctive set of Southern African traditions, with regional and temporal variation, in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. In essence, Southern African rock-art traditions record experiences related to the belief systems and rituals of the indigenous people of the region. Sites representative of these traditions are worthy of consideration for inclusion on the World Heritage List for the following reasons:

  • Many individual sites and images - both paintings and engravings - are masterpieces of human creative genius that illustrate a combination of sophisticated ideas and beliefs, exquisite and unusual detail, extraordinary imagination, and artistic mastery of the chosen media;
  • Collectively, over a period of nearly thirty millennia in the subcontinent, the artists recorded significant interchanges of human values - particularly with respect to religious and ritual practices - that cannot be recovered from stone artefacts and other inanimate remains;
  • There is excellent ethnographic information available from indigenous people in certain key areas that has assisted in the understanding and authentic interpretation of the meaning and motivation of the art - a feature that is missing in many other regions of the world;
  • Paintings and engravings of successive traditions have been done at selected places and areas over a long time period and the integrity of this relationship is still intact, incrementally adding to the tangible and intangible significance and power of these places and the landscape; and
  • The shamanistic inspiration for much of the art demonstrates the time depth and nature of the human quest for supernatural power in this part of the world.

Recognizing the importance of their rock art, cultural heritage conservation authorities in Southern African countries, coordinated informally through the Southern African Rock Art Project (SARAP), have collaborated since 1996 in identifying and nominating a representative sample of rock art in the region for the World Heritage List. As part of this co-operative programme, training courses and workshops have been held to assist the responsible heritage institutions to draft nominations, draw up management plans, and train the staff responsible for management of the sites.

This report is the result of consultation at SARAP meetings in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with representatives from most of the Southern African countries. Of the countries that attended the meetings, Lesotho has not yet signed the World Heritage Convention. Swaziland was invited but did not send a delegate, and is in any case not yet a signatory to the Convention. Angola attended only one meeting, in 1998, and although invitations were sent to attend subsequent meetings, no reply was received.

There are sufficient contrasts between areas of high concentration of rock art to warrant the nomination of a series of sites for World Heritage listing. Initially it was hoped to present all the sites together as a single serial nomination to the World Heritage Committee. Practical problems have developed, however, and each State Party is responsible for submitting their nomination(s) when they are ready to do so. At the time of writing, the rock art of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park (South Africa) and of Tsodilo (Botswana) have been inscribed, and nominations by Malawi (Dedza-Chongoni), Tanzania (Kondoa- Irangi), Zimbabwe (the Matopos), Zambia (Kasama), and Namibia (Twyfelfontein) are in various stages of preparation.

Ultimately, the selected rock-art sites will represent the range of variation in the region and symbolically re- connect the artistic heritage of Southern Africans for the first time since the colonial era. We present here an overview of the rock art in the region and propose criteria for the evaluation of nominations of Southern African rock- art sites for the World Heritage List.


II.1 Distribution

A SUMMARY OF ROCK ART databases in Southern African countries indicates that there are at least 14 000 sites on record, but that many more exist than have been formally recorded (Deacon 1997). There are probably well in excess of 50,000 sites in the region as a whole, with a conservative estimate of more than two million individual images. With the exception of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in South Africa, Tsodilo in Botswana, and the Brandberg in Namibia, few areas have been thoroughly searched and recorded. The densest known concentrations of rock art occur in parts of Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe The lowest numbers of recorded sites are in Angola, Malawi, and Mozambique.

The region has both rock engravings (petroglyphs) and rock paintings (pictographs). There are no reliable records to indicate the relative percentage of paintings to engravings, but painting sites are probably in the majority. In general, both paintings and engravings have similar themes and images, but the engravings tend to include less detail and fewer human figures.

The distribution of the two techniques is largely governed by geology. Engravings occur out in the open and are usually, but not exclusively, associated with igneous rocks such as dolerite. Such rock formations tend not to form shelters or caves. Rock paintings, on the other hand, are most common in areas where there are caves or rock shelters in outcrops of granite and in sedimentary rocks formations of limestone, sandstone and quartzite. It is rare, but not unknown, to find both rock paintings and engravings together at the same site.

II.2 Traditions and styles

IN BROAD TERMS, there are three rock-art traditions in the region with distinctive styles and content that are largely the result of differences in the cosmology and beliefs of Stone Age hunter-gatherers, of Stone Age herders, and of Iron Age agriculturists. Within these traditions, and often cross-cutting them, there are further differences in the techniques used to paint and engrave (for a general overview see Lewis-Williams 1983; Coulson & Campbell 2001).

II.2.i Paintings
As elsewhere in the world, the most common pigment used for rock paintings is red ochre, with some paintings in maroon, yellow, black, and white. There is some ethnographic evidence that the pigment was mixed with a variety of binders such as blood, egg, fat and plant juices, but the exact recipes are not known (Lewis-Williams 1983). The techniques applied in the majority of paintings can be summarized as follows:

  1. Fine-line paintings, almost exclusively the work of hunter-gatherers, in red or yellow ochre, white clay, or black charcoal or manganese oxide, done with a brush or other fine instrument, using techniques such as the following:
    • Outline of the image with a single line (rare everywhere);
    • Outline of the image with the interior filled with lines of the same colour (characteristic of Tanzania (Anati 1986), with some examples elsewhere);
    • Monochrome image with the colour blocked in (most common almost everywhere);
    • Outline in one colour with the image filled in with another slightly different colour;
    • Bichrome, in which two blocks of colour are used in the same image;
    • Polychrome in which three or more colours are used in the same image (most common in Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho);
    • Shaded polychrome in which several colours blend into each other to create depth and shading (most common in Lesotho and the Drakensberg region of South Africa);
    • Handprints and finger-dots
  2. Paintings done with a finger or very broad brush or applicator, most often by herders and agriculturists, often bold and highly stylized designs that include domesticated animals, in:
    • Monochrome red, white, or black (yellow rare);
    • Bichrome (rare);
    • Handprints, both plain and decorated.

II.2.ii Engravings
Rock engravings in all traditions were made most commonly by removing the weathered outer surface of rocks such as dolerite to create a colour contrast with the underlying unweathered rock (Dowson 1992). This could be achieved by using another harder rock such as quartz or chalcedony. The weathered surface was either scraped away over the whole area of the image, or the image was outlined in a single line, or the weathered rock was pecked out in a chopping motion. Some engravings show extraordinary artistic skill with careful details of skin folds, eyes and posture delicately portrayed. Engravings are also found on rocks where there is little or no colour contrast but where a large flat expanse is exposed, for example on ancient glacial pavements in the Northern Cape Province in South Africa.

So-called cupules and grooves, sometimes in regular patterns, have been made in relatively soft rock types where the colour contrast between the surface and underlying rock has been less important than the granularity of the rock. Many of these were probably not 'art', although they may have had a ritual use.

II.3 Dating

THE CREATIVE SPIRIT that inspired the engravings and paintings on the rocks of Southern Africa dates back at least 27,500 years and persisted in some areas until the 20th century AD. The oldest date is the average calculated from fifteen radiocarbon dates on charcoal from an occupation layer in Apollo 11 cave in southern Namibia. Seven small painted slabs, on rock that was not derived from the cave wall or floor, were recovered during two excavations in 1969 and 1972 (Wendt 1976). The next oldest date is from the Matopos in Zimbabwe, where a spall that had flaked off the painted wall in the Cave of Bees was found incorporated in the deposit in the floor. Charcoal from the relevant layer was dated to about 10,500 BP, giving a minimum age for the original painting (Thackeray 1983).

The oldest dated rock engravings in the region come from Wonderwerk Cave in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Five small slabs with clearly identifiable fine-line rock engravings of animals and non-representational geometric patterns, and another six with lines that may have been part of engravings, were found in different layers. Associated charcoal dated the oldest to about 10,200 BP and the youngest to about 2000 BP (Thackeray 1983). Cation ratio dates on rock engravings from open sites in South Africa also gave preliminary results of between 10,000 and 2000 years (Whitley & Annegarn 1994). Relative dating of the weathered crust on engraved surfaces on a small sample of South African rock engravings suggests that the fine- line style is the oldest, and that the pecked and scraped engravings were done more recently.

Geometric zigzag patterns, combined to make diamond shapes and engraved on two small pieces of hard ochre, have been found in a cave at Blombos on the southern coast of South Africa; associated with Middle Stone Age artefacts. A layer of dune sand overlying the deposit has been dated at 77,000 years ago by optical luminescence. Although the find is claimed by some to be the earliest art (Whitfield 2002) the archaeologists who excavated the site argue only that people at that time were capable of abstract thought and design (Henshilwood et al 2001). Similar designs are found on bone artefacts and ostrich eggshell dating within the last 18 000 years (Deacon & Deacon 1999), but are not common in either rock paintings or rock engravings.

Most of the art was done by hunter-gatherers whose traditions persisted in south-eastern South Africa until the 19th century AD (Lewis-Williams 1990). In some countries, such as Tanzania (Anati 1986), Malawi, and Mozambique, where there are no reports of hunter-gatherer style paintings that include domesticated animals or images of the colonial era, the hunter-gatherer art is estimated to be older than AD 1000 (Smith 1997).

Within the last 2000 years, herders and Iron Age agriculturist people entered the region from the north and added to the corpus of rock art with different styles and content. The oldest art in these traditions is generally thought to be less than 1500 years old and the most recent paintings and engravings were done in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In some areas in South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi, agriculturist art was still being practised for initiation rituals in the late twentieth century (Smith 1995).

II.4 Ethnography

THERE IS A WEALTH of ethnographic information from the 19th and 20th centuries that can and has been used successfully to interpret many of the metaphors and symbols in hunter- gatherer and later agriculturist art dating back hundreds and even thousands of years. This information gives an unparalleled insight into the meaning and context of rock art. An understanding of altered states of consciousness, and its role in shamanism and rock art as developed by researchers David Lewis-Williams and Thomas Dowson (Lewis- Williams 1990; Lewis-Williams & Dowson 1989), has in turn helped to identify the source of some of the metaphors found in the Palaeolithic rock art in western Europe (Clottes & Lewis-Williams 1996). With the exception of Australia and North America, very few rock-art regions elsewhere have such detailed sources for interpretation.

The ethnographic records provide considerable evidence in Southern Africa that hunter-gatherer rock paintings and rock engravings were part of religious practices for rain- making, healing, and other shamanistic activities such as out-of-body travel and the control of game animals. These practices involved altered states of consciousness that enabled medicine people or shamans to access supernatural power through certain animals or through ancestral spirits. The wide distribution of this rock-art tradition, from South Africa to Tanzania, provides evidence for a broad high-level similarity in the cosmology of Southern African hunter-gatherer peoples. There are nevertheless important regional differences in the way that shamanistic experiences were perceived and used and in the metaphors that were transferred to the art.

For example, the beliefs of the /Xam San that were recorded in the 1870s (Bleek & Lloyd 1911; Vinnicombe 1976; Lewis- Williams 1981, 1990) led to an understanding in the 1970s of the reason why the eland was the animal most commonly depicted in the rock art in the south-eastern region in South Africa. The work of anthropologists and psychologists amongst 20th century San in Botswana and Namibia enabled some of the /Xam records to be interpreted and better understood (Marshall 1976; Katz 1982; Lee 1984; Guenther 1986; Biesele 1993). By combining the information from these diverse sources, Vinnicombe (1976) concluded that the eland was the pivot around which the social organization and beliefs of the Drakensberg San revolved. Lewis-Williams (1981) described how the eland played a key role in boys' and girls' initiation, and its role in healing and rainmaking because it was believed that associating with the eland could bring the medicine-person or shaman closer to god and supernatural power. Shamans in trance would feel as though they were transformed into eland, as is clear in many paintings of therianthropes with human and eland body parts that are combined in one image. In other areas such as Zimbabwe and Namibia, however, the eland is less common than animals such as the kudu and the giraffe. This suggests regional variation in the ritual significance of particular animals.

There is relatively little ethnography that has been applicable to herder rock art, and indeed there is only circumstantial evidence that the schematic and highly stylized art with a wider range of geometric patterns, best represented at Tsodilo (Botswana), was done by early herders. This art is attributed to herders because it includes domesticated animals, and because in places where it occurs with the earlier tradition it tends to be superimposed on what is clearly hunter-gatherer art (Coulson & Campbell 2001). Herder art is also found above and below hunter-gatherer art. A good example is the Limpopo Valley, where there was a brief period of interaction between the two groups in the 1st millennium AD (Hall & Smith 2000).

Agriculturist rock-art displays some general similarities within the region and is quite distinct from the hunter-gatherer art in several respects. It tends to be bolder, less detailed, more schematic, and with a smaller range of colours and subject matter. In some areas the paintings are called 'late whites' because where superimposition occurs they are always on top and they are done in white paint with a finger rather than a brush. Local traditions and ethnographic records in Zambia and Malawi (Smith 1995, 1997) indicate some of this art was part of secret male and female initiation practices and of rituals such as rainmaking. The meaning of the designs is known only to the initiated.

II.5 Content

THE CONTENT of the rock art varies within the region, but there are several themes that are sufficiently widespread to indicate broad, high-level geographical and temporal continuity within the Southern African hunter-gatherer, herder, and agriculturist belief systems over the period in which rock paintings and rock engravings were done. 
The most significant similarities are the persistent occurrence of illustrations of and metaphors for altered states of consciousness or trance experience, particularly in the art of the hunter-gatherers. These experiences are evident in the postures in which people are illustrated, the consistent selection of certain animals in preference to others, and in the presence and incorporation of geometric patterns that depict entoptic phenomena 'seen' during trance (Lewis-Williams & Dowson 1989).

In hunter-gatherer art people are shown in postures such as bending from the waist, lying down horizontally, or with contorted limbs. Additional details such as bleeding from the nose or a red line that sometimes has white dots emanating from the back of the neck or the feet may be seen, as well as the transformation of people into animals and animals into people. Processions of dancing people or groups of clapping women record the dances that helped shamans go into trance. Healers, shown touching sick people to draw out the arrows of sickness, may be associated with arrows, they may have animal heads, or may be sweating or bleeding from the nose. Rainmakers may be shown in close contact with large rain animals such as elephant, hippo, or eland, or with huge animals that are not identifiable to species. People in deep trance may be shown collapsing as if dead, or swimming underwater with fish or fish tails, or flying, with or without wings.

Images of transformed medicine-people with animal heads and other features (therianthropes) are especially detailed in paintings in the Drakensberg (South Africa and Lesotho), in Zimbabwe, and in the Brandberg (Namibia). Animals may also be shown with human hind legs. Therianthropes occur in parts of Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania, but are not as common as they are in the other Southern African countries.

Differences in the content of the art can be seen in the posture and dress of the people who are illustrated. For example, paintings of people in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania have dramatic hairstyles that are not seen so often in the art further south. In contrast, there are many more paintings in the south of people wearing cloaks, some of which are elaborately decorated.

As noted above, there are variations in the frequency of certain animals depicted in the rock paintings and engravings of the region. These variations are not a mirror of the distribution of fauna, but an indication of the animals that the artists and their society regarded as significant in their religious and ritual practices. The eland predominates in the south-east, the eland and elephant in the south-west, the rhino is prominent in some areas, while in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tanzania the kudu and giraffe reign supreme (Garlake 1987).

In some parts of South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi the rock art is dominated by agriculturist paintings depicting symbols significant during initiation ceremonies and ritual practices. A stylized image of the crocodile or lizard is most common in some areas where it is a symbol of power, while in others domesticated cattle are more prevalent. Agriculturist art also records activities associated with colonial times such as trains, motor vehicles, aircraft, wagons, horses, camels, and other forms of transport.

Schematic designs illustrating entoptic phenomena with dots, zigzags, grids, wavy lines, nested u-shapes, concentric circles, sunbursts, and vortices are widespread and occur in all rock-art traditions, not only in Southern Africa but elsewhere in the world as well. In Southern Africa they are more common in rock engravings than in paintings, but are nevertheless seen in paintings throughout the region. In the hunter-gatherer tradition they are subtly integrated into the fine-line paintings and engravings; in the herder art they are often more common than images of people or animals; and in the agriculturist art they may be combined with other stylized designs. The presence of these entoptic patterns in all three traditions emphasises their connection with altered states of consciousness and, therefore, the link between the art and trance experience that persisted in various forms over a long period of time and through major changes in economy and beliefs.

II.6 Landscape setting

IN SEVERAL CASES in hunter-gatherer, herder, and agriculturist traditions, there is ethnographic evidence that rock art has been used to enhance the power and significance of particular places in the landscape. The paintings or engravings were placed there because it was a rainmaking or initiation site, adding intangible value to the place. In a few cases, such as Kasama (Zambia) and the /Xam heartland in South Africa, there are ethnographic records that explain the significance of the place. Some of the rock-art site nominations to the World Heritage list will be proposed as cultural landscapes or as mixed cultural and natural sites so as to emphasize this relationship between culture and nature that has not been affected unduly by economic or agricultural development. The integrity of the art within the natural landscape has therefore been retained. Good examples are Tsodilo (Botswana), the Matopos (Zimbabwe), the Brandberg (Namibia), and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the /Xam Heartland (South Africa) (see Coulson & Campbell 2001 for illustrations).


III.1 General World Heritage criteria

This document does not wish to pre-empt the criteria as set out in paragraph 24.a of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO 1999) that may be cited by individual Southern African countries in support of their nominations of rock-art sites for World Heritage listing. However, the following could be addressed.

Criterion i           Creative genius

This criterion should apply not only to the work of individual artists represented at the site, but also to the collective genius of the society that developed the sophisticated symbolism, metaphors, and multiple meanings displayed in the art. The site should display outstanding examples of the art of the tradition, as well as exceptional talent in the execution of the paintings and/or engravings. Sites using this criterion should have a variety of exceptionally well preserved rock art in which details of content and technique can be clearly seen.

Criterion ii           Important interchange of human values

This criterion would apply if more than one rock-art tradition is represented at the site. The historical process that contributed to the technological and artistic development at the site should be described. Dating and other details of the succession from hunter- gatherer to herder and/or agriculturist presence in the area should be supplied from archaeological research, ethnography, written records and/or oral history. Significance does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with 'the oldest' or 'the most recent' or 'the largest number' or 'highest density' of sites.

Criterion iii           Unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition

In applying this criterion, well documented ethnographic or historical evidence would be required to interpret the rock art in relation to the cosmology and beliefs of the society that created it. The art should not be seen as the only testimony to the cultural tradition. It formed an integral part of the social fabric at the time it was created and some evidence of the activities that inspired the art should therefore be presented to place the art in its historical and social context. Few sites in the region have direct ethnographic evidence of this context, but sufficient research has been done, and could still be done, to make valid comparisons and connections between living traditions and those that have disappeared over the last century in areas within the region. For example, the presence of entoptic patterns and trance postures in the art is a clear indication that the artists experienced altered states of consciousness and that this had a close connection with their artistic tradition. To make this testimony unique or exceptional, however, there would have to be unusual techniques used in depicting these experiences, unusual features in the content of the art, and/or outstanding or site-specific ethnographic or historical evidence that connects the art with the cultural tradition of a particular people.

Criterion iv           Outstanding example of a landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history

This criterion could be used in cases where the integrity of the rock art within the landscape has been retained and no developments or agricultural activities interfere with the original setting. Ideally, this should be combined with oral history or ethnographic records that add intangible values associated with the rock art and that particular landscape (ie an associative cultural landscape as described in paragraph 44(b)(iv) of the Operational Guidelines).

Criterion v           Outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use representative of a culture vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change

As there are no known traditional hunter-gatherer or herder communities in Southern Africa who practise rock art, this criterion would apply primarily to agriculturists. It would be very important to inscribe such an example as it could represent the only living tradition of rock art in the region. The nomination would have to include ethnographic and anthropological evidence from the community that rock art is still an integral part of their cosmology and beliefs that are associated with their traditional human settlement or land-use pattern.

Criterion vi           Direct or tangible association with beliefs and artistic works of outstanding universal significance

This criterion can be used in conjunction with others to emphasize the universal significance of Southern African hunter-gatherer rock art and related ethnography that has contributed to an understanding of the relationship between rock art and altered states of consciousness, including entoptic phenomena.

Paragraph 24.b of the Operational Guidelines also sets out other requirements relating to nominated sites and monuments. The first of these is the test of authenticity in design, material, workmanship and setting. In the case of rock-art sites, survey by a rock-art specialist of all sites within the area to be nominated must verify the authenticity in design, material, and workmanship. It is important to ensure that the setting remains largely intact and has not been altered significantly since the art was done, since the setting is likely to have contributed to the original meaning of the site. The setting can be destroyed by the inappropriate placement of protective measures and information boards and facilities, as well as by insensitive local development not directly connected to the rock art.

The second requirement relates to adequate protection and management. Some form of management plan is obligatory for all nominated properties. The management plan must include a full inventory of all sites within the area proposed for World Heritage listing. The inventory must at least have a description and photographs of the art at each site, directions for locating the place, and distribution maps. Ideally, it should also include a condition report by a rock-art conservation specialist for each site.

In assessing the appropriateness and effectiveness of protective measures and management mechanisms at rock-art sites, it is important to ensure that at least one trained rock-art conservation specialist is on the permanent staff of the organization responsible for management of the site. As several sites to be nominated are within nature reserves or parks, the management personnel are trained only in nature conservation. This training is inadequate for the long-term monitoring, conservation, and management of rock art.

Interpretive displays and publications explaining the meaning and significance of the rock art and how to behave at the site must be available if the site is open to the public.

The nomination must confirm that descendant communities of the original artists have been consulted regarding the meaning and motivation behind the art. If such communities have been identified, they must be included in decision- making for, and management of, the site.

III.2 Specific criteria for Southern African rock-art sites

IN EVALUATING NOMINATIONS of rock-art sites in Southern Africa for World Heritage listing, the following criteria could be applied.

III.2.i Representivity
The site may:


  • be representative of a defined or definable tradition of rock paintings or rock engravings in the Southern African region, in that it includes many of the characteristics of that tradition;
  • have outstanding examples of a painting or engraving style, technique, or method; and/or
  • have the only (or some of the few) examples known of a rare tradition, style, technique, or method.

III.2.ii Quality of rock art
The rock art may:

  • include images of outstanding technical quality;
  • have superb examples of artistic skill and detail;
  • have excellent examples of graphic design and composition;
  • be exceptionally well preserved; and/or
  • have several panels of paintings or engravings that clearly depict unusual themes or images.

III.2.iii Setting, size of area, and density of rock-art sites
The area that is nominated should:

  • be large enough to display outstanding examples of rock art in an environmental setting that is as close as possible to that which existed at the time the paintings or engravings were done;
  • retain much of its original ambience;
  • be definable in terms of its outstanding environmental or cultural characteristics; and/or
  • include at least 50 rock-art sites, OR, if only a few sites are nominated, should include well over 100 individual images.

III.2.iv Association between rock art, ethnography, oral history, and/or ritual practices
A concerted effort should have been made to:

  • document interpretations of the rock art by conducting oral history surveys amongst indigenous local communities and/or ancestral communities and undertaking a thorough search of relevant ethnographic and anthropological sources;
  • identify recurrent images in the rock art and establish their significance in current, recent or ancient practices; and
  • liaise with local communities when developing the conservation management and tourist management plans.

III.2.v Quality of research and documentation
The nomination dossier must show that:

  • a purposeful survey of the rock art in the area in order to find and record as many sites as possible has been undertaken, preferably within the last ten years;
  • there is a record form for each site with location details, a description of the images, a condition report, as well as tracings and/or photographs;
  • a map (at least 1:50,000 and preferably 1:10,000) records the location of each site;
  • the records are kept in a safe place and copies have been made for use during monitoring; and
  • copies of publications and reports on rock art and related research in the area are kept in the institution responsible for site management. Dating
Statements about the dating of the rock art must be substantiated by good corroborating evidence. Age alone should not be the main criterion for nomination.

III.2.vii Management plans for conservation and tourism
It is essential that:

  • every nomination be accompanied by an up-to-date conservation management plan that is aimed specifically at retaining the significance of the rock art and its setting;
  • there is a written commitment to, and budget for, the training of personnel responsible for the day-to-day management of the site;
  • a visitor management plan is included; and
  • regular monitoring of the rock art by trained personnel is a stated priority.


A representative sample of excellent rock art sites has been identified by representatives of official heritage organizations in Southern Africa for nomination to the World Heritage List. More may be added later, but for the time being they serve to highlight the artistic quality, technical range, sophisticated cosmology and beliefs, detailed ethnography, landscape setting, and universal significance of the rock art of the region.

Criteria for the evaluation of Southern African rock-art sites that may be nominated for the World Heritage List have been suggested, based on the exceptional qualities of the art in the region.

From north to south, the rock-art sites identified by SARAP members as suitable for nomination to the World Heritage list are summarized in Table 1. Angola, Swaziland, and Lesotho have yet to select sites. As far as we are aware, all those in the Table have been placed on the tentative lists by the countries concerned. The list includes both rock engravings and paintings in the hunter-gatherer, herder, and agriculturist traditions, with a variety of techniques, content, and settings.

Table 1: Summary of rock-art sites in Southern Africa for possible nomination to the World Heritage List
Country Site Tradition Regional
(March 2002)
Tanzania Kondoa-Irangi District Hunter-gatherer Paintings with unusual technique and content Survey and management plan in preparation
Malawi Dedza-Chongoni District Agriculturist Paintings with good ethnographic detail Nomination in preparation
Mozambique Manica Province Hunter-gatherer Well preserved paintings Awaiting detailed survey
Zambia Kasama District Hunter-gatherer and agriculturist Well preserved paintings with good ethnographic detail Awaiting detailed survey and management plan
Zimbabwe Matopos National Park Hunter-gatherer High quality, well preserved, detailed paintings in natural landscape Management plan and nomination in preparation
Botswana Tsodilo Herder Large number of well preserved paintings in natural landscape Nomination submitted June 2000, inscribed December 2001
Namibia Brandberg Hunter-gatherer Large number of high quality well preserved rock paintings in natural landscape Excellent and detailed survey completed; management plan required
Twyfelfontein Hunter-gatherer Large number of high-quality well preserved rock engravings in natural landscape Partial survey; management plan required
South Africa uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park Hunter-gatherer Large number of high quality, detailed and well preserved rock paintings in natural landscape Nomination submitted June 1999; inscribed 2001
/Xam Heartland Hunter-gatherer Cultural landscape with excellent ethnographic records and high quality rock engravings Detailed survey and management plan required



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Whitfield, J 2002 Engraved stones from South Africa could be the oldest works of art. Science Update, 11 January.

Whitley, D S, & Annegarn, H J, 1994 Cation-ratio dating of rock engravings from Klipfontein, Northern Cape. In: Dowson. & Lewis-Williams, 1994: 189-97.


Par Jean Clottes, Ancien Président du Comité International d'Art Rupestre (ICOMOS)

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 L'Art Rupestre : Une étude thématique et critères d'évaluation


LE TERME d'art rupestre qualifie les manifestations artistiques sur support rocheux. C'est la seule manifestation culturelle de l'humanité qui se soit poursuivie sans interruption pendant plus de trente millénaires pour parvenir jusqu'à nous sous ses formes multiples, inchangées depuis les origines. Les débuts de la création artistique ne sont pas le fruit d'une culture ou d'une ethnie particulière mais une composante essentielle de l'Homo sapiens sapiens : dès que celui-ci se répand dans le monde, les manifestations d'art rupestre apparaissent partout, de l'extrême nord de la Scandinavie à l'extrême sud de l'Afrique, de l'Espagne et du Portugal à la Sibérie, couvrant toute l'Asie et les Amériques, et répandu dans toute l'Océanie, particulièrement en Australie, mais jusqu'à l'Ile de Pâques.

Dans l'art rupestre, on constate une grande diversité et une extraordinaire complexité. Les études ethnologiques nous éclairent sur la signification des motifs et des symboles. Par exemple, dans le monde entier, cet art a été choisi comme vecteur des mythes sur la Création du Monde. L'art préhistorique et tribal, le plus souvent, est un art de pouvoir, dont les symboles sont conçus pour faciliter la vie, chercher de l'aide auprès de puissances extérieures, avoir une meilleure prise sur le réel comme sur le monde des esprits auquel il est inextricablement mêlé.

Il constitue donc un patrimoine unique et particulièrement précieux. D'abord, par son antiquité, puisqu'il représente une chaîne ininterrompue de plus de 35 000 ans. Par ses chef-d'oeuvres aussi, qu'il s'agisse des peintures des Magdaléniens dans les cavernes franco-cantabriques, des oeuvres des Aborigènes d'Australie ou de celles des Bushmen d'Afrique australe. Il témoigne de pratiques religieuses qui plongent dans la nuit des temps et en constitue la seule manifestation tangible. Il apporte des renseignements multiples sur les modes de vie, les vêtements, les armes et les outils, les cérémonies et sur tout ce qui constituait le monde matériel et spirituel de civilisations disparues.


SI NOMBREUX que soient les sites d'art rupestre, ils ne constituent qu'une infime partie de ce qui a existé. En effet, qu'il se trouve en grottes, sous abris ou sur des roches en plein air, l'art rupestre est soumis à des agressions de toutes sortes, de la part de la nature et des hommes. Chaque site est comparable à un musée qui se trouverait exposé aux éléments et aux actes de vandalisme. Du monde entier parviennent des échos alarmants sur sa dégradation, dont l'accélération est due à des causes multiples.

Jusqu'à la fin du XIXème siècle dans certaines régions de l'Afrique et des Amériques, ou même la première moitié de ce siècle en Australie, l'art rupestre se renouvelait, grâce à des traditions religieuses toujours vivantes pratiquées par des sociétés traditionnelles dont les modes de vie avaient peu varié. Cet état de choses n'existe plus, sauf à l'état de relique pour des groupes de plus en plus réduits. Dans son immense majorité, l'art rupestre est devenu un art fossile. Il faut donc protéger ce qui existe dans la forme où les oeuvres nous sont parvenues.

Cet art non renouvelable se dégrade vite et disparaît sous l'effet de phénomènes naturels. La nature de la roche joue un rôle crucial : certains grès, par exemple, se desquament régulièrement, de sorte que les peintures de la couche superficielle sont détruites. Les animaux concourent également aux détériorations : dans les abris, des nids d'oiseaux ou d'insectes recouvrent les peintures et les font disparaître peu à peu ; de grands mammifères se frottent aux parois ornées. Tous ces phénomènes, selon les lieux, provoquent une érosion progressive de l'art rupestre.

Les effets dévastateurs de l'action humaine sont plus nocifs encore. Ils prennent des formes diverses. Dans le nord de l'Europe, ce sont les pluies acides, dues aux pollutions industrielles de cette seconde moitié du XXème siècle, qui menacent d'une entière destruction une grande partie de l'art rupestre scandinave. Partout, dans le monde, le vandalisme sous ses multiples aspects intervient, dégrade et fait disparaître des sites entiers.

L'art rupestre, dans son contexte culturel d'origine, était protégé par le respect qui l'entourait, de même que l'environnement naturel où il s'inscrivait. Actuellement, des forces opposées le menacent. Dans la conscience du grand public, la vénération des anciens graphismes n'existe plus. De sorte que les travaux d'urbanisation, les carrières, l'ouverture de routes, la construction de barrages détruisent chaque année des milliers de représentations. Devant les nécessités du développement économique, les investissements et les emplois mis en jeu, la préservation de l'art rupestre passe trop souvent au second plan, qu'il s'agisse de pays industrialisés ou non.

Cet art ne présente pas le caractère monumental des constructions architecturales. Il est beaucoup plus vulnérable, car il peut disparaître avec la roche elle-même, dans le cas de grands travaux, mais également si la pellicule superficielle est attaquée d'une façon quelconque. À l'heure actuelle, sans noircir le tableau, il est certain qu'une grande partie de l'art rupestre mondial sera détruite au cours des prochaines décennies. Il s'agit donc d'un patrimoine en très grave péril.

La situation est très différente selon les pays, en fonction du nombre des sites et de leur isolement, du degré d'intérêt pour la culture, de la densité de la population et de bien d'autres paramètres. Parfois, des sites sont classés parmi les monuments d'intérêt historique et/ou culturel et bénéficient ainsi d'une protection légale. Dans leur très grande majorité, ils ne le sont pas. Rappelons que seuls treize ensembles de sites d'art rupestre figurent à ce titre sur la Liste du Patrimoine Mondial de l'Unesco : ils se trouvent en Algérie, en Australie, en Libye, au Brésil, au Mexique, en Argentine, en France, en Italie, au Portugal, en Espagne, en Suède et en Norvège. Aucun n'a été mis sur la Liste en Asie, en Afrique sud-saharienne, aux Etats-Unis ou au Canada.

La protection de l'art rupestre ne fera des progrès significatifs que dans la mesure où elle sera perçue comme une nécessité absolue, et non pas comme marginale et secondaire par rapport à des objectifs économiques ou touristiques. C'est un problème d'éducation et de promotion culturelle au sens le plus large.


LES SITES d'art rupestre se comptent dans le monde par dizaines, voire centaines, de milliers. Il faut donc faire des choix, bien que tous soient signifiants et précieux à tel ou tel titre. La liste provisoire et préliminaire ci-après ne peut qu'être indicative. L'intérêt relativement récent pour l'art rupestre dans certains pays et le manque de moyens fait que des ensembles ornés se découvrent tous les jours et certains sont de toute première importance. L'absence d'un site ou d'en ensemble de sites sur cette liste ne devrait donc pas empêcher, dans l'avenir, qu'une demande de mise sur la Liste du Patrimoine mondial soit examinée selon ses mérites propres. Tout ce que l'on peut dire à ce stade, c'est que tous les sites mentionnés ci-après méritent amplement de figurer sur la Liste, mais que leur inventaire reste ouvert.

Ils ont été pré- sélectionnés en fonction des critères suivants, après enquête auprès de plusieurs de nos représentants régionaux :

  • leur caractère exceptionnel sur le plan esthétique ;
  • sur le plan ethnologique ;
  • sur le plan archéologique et chronologique ;
  • sur le plan environnemental ;
  • le nombre des représentations sur une superficie bien délimitée (lieux sacrés) ;
  • la protection dont ils sont l'objet.

Les étoiles (*) marquent l'évaluation d'une importance qui ne peut être que subjective.

III.1 Sites rupestres du Tadrart Acacus (Jamahiriya Arabe Libyenne) © UNESCOuKhahlamba / Parc du Drakensberg (Afrique du Sud) © UNESCO - M.L. PearseAfrique
(actuellement 3 sites sur la Liste : Afrique du Sud (uKhahlamba/Drakensberg), Algérie (Tassili n'Ajjer) et Libye (Acacus).

En Afrique, le nombre des sites d'art rupestre dépasse les 150 000. C'est pourquoi, la plupart des sites retenus - à l'image de ceux qui figurent déjà sur la liste pour ce continent -, sont en fait desensembles de sites, couvrant de vastes régions. Des sites très importants existent aussi au Maroc, au Malawi, au Lesotho, au Botswana, en Zambie.

III.1.1         Afrique saharienne

 -  Libye
+*** Messak (milliers de sites avec des gravures splendides)
+** Mathendous (une dizaine d'oueds avec de nombreux sites prestigieux)
 -  Tchad
+** Ennedi (très nombreux sites gravés et peints)
+** Tibesti (très nombreux sites gravés et peints)

III.1.2         Afrique subsaharienne  *
 -  Afrique du Sud
+* Cedarberg (concentration d'abris peints)
 -  Namibie
+*** Brandberg (plus de mille sites peints dans un massif isolé)
+* Twyfelfontein (plusieurs milliers de gravures en un même lieu ; parc)
 -  Tanzanie
+** ensembles de Kondoa-Singida (près de 350 sites ornés de gravures et de peintures)
 -  Zimbabwe
+*** Matopos Hills (très important ensemble d'abris ornés)

* L'étude Southern African rock-art sites, rédigée par Janette Deacon en collaboration avec les membres du Southern African Rock Art Project (SARAP), a été éditée par l'ICOMOS en 2002.


III.2 Cueva de las Manos, Rio Pinturas (Argentine) © UNESCOAmériques

III.2.1         Amérique Centrale et Amérique du Sud
(actuellement 3 sites sur la Liste : Bolivie (Samaipata), Brésil (Serra da Capivara) et Argentine (Cueva de las Manos).

Les travaux - et les découvertes - se multiplient sur ce continent, dont l'art rupestre est encore mal connu.

 -  Argentine
+ Guachipas, Salta (une trentaine de grottes et abris ornés avec peintures et gravures)
 -  Brésil
+** Rio Peruaçu, Minas Gerais (plusieurs grands abris avec peintures dans un environnement exceptionnel)
 -  Chili
+ Tarapacà, Arica (géoglyphes)
+ Sierra de Arica (peintures)
+ Taira (peintures)
+ El Médano (peintures)
 -  Guatemala
+ Naj Tunich (grotte avec peintures et gravures Maya)
 -  Mexique
+ Chalcazingo, Morelos (gravures Olmèques)
+ Juxlahuaca, Oxtotitlan (grottes à peintures Olmèques polychromes)
+ Loltun et autres grottes de Oxkutzcab, Puuc, Yucatan
 -  Pérou
+** Toro Muerto, Arequipa (ensemble de plusieurs milliers de blocs gravés)
 -  Venezuela
+ Rio Orinoco (une cinquantaine d'abris et grottes ornés)

III.2.2         Amérique du Nord
(actuellement 1 seul site sur la Liste : Mexique (Baja California))

Les sites d'Amérique du Nord sont largement ignorés du public. On en compte cependant des milliers, qui sont encore parfois l'objet de pratiques cultuelles.

 -  Canada
+** Writing-on-Stone, Alberta (gravures)
+ Petersborough, Ontario gravures)
 -  Etats-Unis
+*** Great Gallery (plusieurs grands abris peints dans un environnement exceptionel)
+*** Coso Range, Californie (milliers de gravures rupestres sur roches à l'air libre, en plusieurs canyons)
+ Pleito Creek, Californie (plusieurs grottes avec peintures)
+** Sites Dinwoody/Bighorn Basin, Wyoming (gravures)
+** Sites de la Lower Pecos River, Texas (abris peints)

III.3 Asie
(actuellement aucun site sur la Liste)

Des dizaines de milliers de sites existent en Asie. Ils sont très peu connus.

 -  Chine
+** Helanshan, dans le nord (gravures)
+** Huashan, dans le sud (peintures)
 -  Inde
+*** nombreuses grottes peintes du Bhimbetka, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
 -  Indonésie
+** Grottes ornées du Kalimantan, à Bornéo
 -  Russie
+* Tamgaly, Kazakhastan (gravures de plein air)
+** plusieurs ensembles de milliers de gravures dans les vallées de la Lena, du Ienissei, de l'Angara, de la Tomsk

III.4 Gravures rupestres de Tanum (Suède) © UNESCOSites d'art rupestre préhistorique de la vallée de Coa (Portugal) © UNESCOEurope
(actuellement 7 sites sur la Liste : Portugal (Foz Côa), France (sites de la Vallée de la Vézère), Espagne (Altamira et sites du Levant), Italie (Valcamonica), Suède (Tanum) et Norvège (Alta).

Les grottes et ensembles cités ci-après sont en majorité du Paléolithique et uniques au monde de ce point de vue.

 -  Espagne
+** Grottes ornées de la Corniche Cantabrique (Asturias, Cantabria, Pays-Basque) (plusieurs dizaines de grottes ornées paléolithiques)
 -  France
+*** Grotte Chauvet, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc (splendide caverne ornée, avec les dates les plus anciennes du monde)
+** Grottes paléolithiques pyrénéennes (Ariège, Haute-Garonne : 13 grottes ornées parmi les plus prestigieuses connues)
+*** Mont Bego, Alpes-Maritimes (environ 40 000 gravures rupestres chalcolithiques ; Parc du Mercantour)

III.5 Parc national de Kakadu (Australie) © UNESCO - I. HascovecOcéanie
(actuellement 1 site sur la Liste : le Parc de Kakadu en Australie).

L'Australie doit compter entre 80 000 et 100 000 sites. Les traditions sont souvent conservées. Bien d'autres ensembles seraient également dignes de figurer sur la Liste.

 -  Australie
+*** Région de Laura (Cape York)(plusieurs centaines d'abris peints ; gravures ; près de 30 000 ans de tradition d'art rupestre)
+*** Kimberley (Bradshaw sites ; des centaines d'abris peints avec une forme d'art très originale)
+** Pilbarra (gravures)

Par Louis Bergeron, Président d'Honneur, TICCIH, 2001
(The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage)

Les villages ouvriers : sens et limites d'une politique
LES VILLAGES OUVRIERS ont constitué aux XIXe et XXe siècles - et parfois bien antérieurement, dès la fin du XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle - l'une des expressions les plus achevées de l'impact exercé par l'industrialisation sur l'organisation sociale en général, et sur la vie des hommes, des femmes et des enfants (au travail et hors du travail) en particulier.

Leur apparition, d'une part, traduit de façon immédiate les nécessités du recrutement et de la gestion de la main d'oeuvre de la part de toute entreprise ayant besoin de stabiliser et de fixer d'importantes concentrations de salariés. Problème lancinant pour les entrepreneurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays, qui nous rappelle à quel point les facteurs humains ont toujours été primordiaux pour la bonne marche d'une entreprise. On prendra pour exemple significatif au point d'en devenir schématique, l'histoire des mines de fer et de la sidérurgie lorraine au cours de sa fulgurante mais brève période de développement, entre la fin du XIXe siècle et les années postérieures au milieu du XXe. Jusque dans les années 1930, la pénurie d'effectifs fut, dans ce secteur et cette région, une hantise permanente, liée tant à l'accroissement rapide des besoins des entreprises qu'à l'extrême instabilité des ouvriers. La pratique d'une politique sociale paternaliste apparut donc comme une condition sine qua non de la croissance et, tout simplement, de l'existence de l'activité économique. Dès avant 1914, un chroniqueur économique n'hésitait pas à écrire : « Bâtir se présente comme le complément de toute industrie ». Produire deux fois plus de minerai de fer, déclare en 1923 l'ingénieur des mines du bassin de Briey, requiert la construction de 5000 logements. Créer une cité ouvrière de qualité réduit considérablement le turnover de la main d'oeuvre. Il en résultait des investissements parfois considérables, qui s'ajoutaient à l'immobilisation de capitaux exigée par l'ouverture d'un puits de mine, par exemple - mais les compagnies amortissaient la dépense grâce à la pratique de loyers suffisants pour rentabiliser l'investissement. On a beaucoup écrit sur la volonté d'instaurer, sur la base de cette politique du logement, un véritable contrôle social, un « système social d'entreprise » faisant de la cité ouvrière un « espace d'ordre ». Un tel projet, très évident dans le cas des De Wendel, par exemple, qui ajoutèrent au logement tout un arsenal de moyens « para-salariaux » de fidéliser ses ouvriers, est pourtant beaucoup moins explicite au niveau des réalisations de bien d'autres patrons, qui se contentèrent de juxtaposer des logements à la mine ou à l'usine, puis d'y entasser la main d'oeuvre.

Mais, d'autre part, dans de nombreux cas le village ouvrier a concrétisé, inscrit au sol et dans le paysage, une pensée patronale plus systématique, pensée d'inspiration morale, philosophique ou franchement religieuse selon les cas. Elle a soutenu les patronats de différents pays et de différentes branches d'activité dans le plus important effort de l'ère industrielle pour inventer des modalités pratiques d'accommodement entre classes antagonistes, dans une volonté tout à la fois d'encadrement, de contrôle, de reproduction, d'intérêt bien compris en somme - mais aussi dans une perspective à moyen terme de promotion matérielle et morale dépassant les limites de l'entreprise, pour apporter une contribution à la reconstruction d'une société « fracturée ». L'un des problèmes les plus délicats est du reste d'apprécier, tant au niveau des intentions qu'à celui de l'acceptation ou du rejet, le degré de succès ou d'échec et la pérennité variable de telles réalisations. Cette dernière a été d'autant plus grande que, dans un contexte industriel donné, le mouvement ouvrier a été plus lent à se structurer, la syndicalisation restant alors minoritaire (en France, souvent après 1936 ).

Bien qu'ils ne représentent, on l'a dit, que l'une des formes de l'intervention patronale dans le fonctionnement de micro-sociétés, les villages ouvriers s'imposent donc sans nul doute à l'attention des défenseurs du patrimoine mondial, non seulement en raison de leurs apparences particulièrement formalisées, mais parce qu'ils portent témoignage sur un genre de vie et sur un style de relations sociales liés à certaines phases, formes ou localisations de l'industrialisation. Il y a là de quoi attirer l'intérêt, tout à la fois, des historiens de la société industrielle, mais aussi de l'urbanisation, de l'architecture, ainsi que des spécialistes de l'anthropologie historique, dès lors qu'ils seraient à la recherche de sites témoignant fortement d'une étape de l'histoire de l'organisation sociale liée à l'émergence des formes concentrées de l'activité industrielle. Quels problèmes spécifiques la sélection de tels témoignages pose-t-elle ?

Critères de définition

IL CONVIENT D'ABORD de délimiter avec assez de précision la catégorie dite des « villages ouvriers ». On en exclut ici les formes d'habitat ouvrier qui se sont développées au sein de ou en continuité avec des agglomérations préexistantes. Une telle exclusion peut aussi bien concerner - pour nous limiter à des exemples français - les courées du Nord, fruit de spéculations foncières et immobilières à l'origine desquelles ont pu se trouver des personnes tout autres que des entrepreneurs d'industrie ; ou aussi bien la fameuse cité industrielle de Mulhouse, ou la ville du Creusot (que les ouvriers eux-mêmes, vers 1880, proposèrent pourtant de rebaptiser Schneiderville) - puisque, dans le premier cas, l'initiative eut une origine patronale collective (sous l'impulsion de la « Société Industrielle de Mulhouse ») et aboutit à une opération d'urbanisme articulée sur la ville), tandis que dans le second cas la croissance et l'organisation de la ville n'ont été que partiellement et assez tardivement maîtrisées par la dynastie des Schneider, quelle que soit la force de l'empreinte qu'elle a laissée sur Le Creusot.

On réservera l'appellation à tout ensemble à usage d'habitation créé à l'initiative d'un patron en symbiose directe avec les lieux du travail. Cet ensemble peut être plus ou moins étendu et plus ou moins structuré, depuis le petit groupe de maisons quasi rurales apparues en contiguïté avec une grosse forge seigneuriale d'ancien type, jusqu'à une véritable petite ville incorporant toutes les catégories de services et présentant un véritable projet urbanistique (on pense à Carbonia, en Sardaigne méridionale, créée à l'époque fasciste sur l'une des dernières mines de charbon à avoir été mises en exploitation sur le continent européen).

Une caractéristique commune à tous ces sites est la séparation physique d'avec les communautés voisines, soit du fait d'un éloignement imposé par des conditions géographiques et techniques (dépendance à l'égard d'une source d'énergie, d'un gisement), soit du fait d'une volonté délibérée d'isolement, de rejet des contacts de la part de l'entreprise. Dans le premier cas, on songe aux villages miniers du Limbourg belge, où le gisement charbonnier a été ouvert aux premières années du XXe siècle dans un environnement quasi désertique, ou encore au site d'Argentiera (Sardaigne septentrionale) localisé en bord de mer dans une sorte de nowhere. Dans le second cas on peut renvoyer à l'histoire d'établissements tels que la manufacture de Villeneuvette (France, Hérault) ou la Colonia Sedo (Catalogne), clairement coupés des communes toutes proches de Clermont-l'Hérault ou d'Esparraguera, ou encore le village de Crespi d'Adda (Italie, province de Milan) demeure parfaitement distinct jusqu'à nos jours de la commune de Capriate San Gervasio.

Problèmes de sélection

DANS LA PERSPECTIVE d'une réflexion et d'une stratégie impliquant soit la multiplication, soit à l'inverse le contingentement des sites à inscrire sur la World Heritage List, le problème de la sélection des recommandations à formuler de la part de TICCIH est en tout état de cause fondamental.

  1. Peut-on imaginer de ne retenir qu'un très petit nombre de sites - un ou deux, par exemple - à l'échelle de l'ensemble des pays occidentaux ayant connu, fût-ce avec des décalages chronologiques, des modalités d'industrialisation analogues et comparables au cours des XIX-XXe siècles ? Dans une telle hypothèse, la poignée de sites retenus devrait exprimer d'une façon synthétique et diachronique l'ensemble des caractères considérés comme essentiels d'une certaine relation patronat-salariat sur une période de longue durée et dans une aire de civilisation très vaste. Or l'hypothèse ne résiste pas à l'examen. Elle est de toutes façons parfaitement a-historique. Au-delà de ressemblances qui tiennent, inévitablement, à l'existence de modèles qui ont connu une réelle diffusion, ainsi qu'à l'identité des problèmes généraux qui se sont posés à un grand nombre d'entrepreneurs et d'une façon quasi permanente, la réalité est en fait très variée d'une phase à une autre de l'industrialisation, d'une aire géographique ou nationale à une autre, d'une culture patronale à une autre...
  2. Par suite, la règle à adopter ne peut être que celle d'une analyse attentive d'un grand nombre de cas particuliers, analyse qui tiendra compte de la chronologie, des espaces culturels, des contraintes propres à chaque type d'industrie. Mais aussi, d'une analyse qui distingue le banal de l'exceptionnel - car on voit mal que les critères de sélection définis par l'UNESCO puissent s'accommoder d'une distinction à accorder à ce qui peut s'énumérer de façon répétitive à travers un grand nombre de pays. Où chercher, dès lors, l'exceptionnel, l'unique, bref ce qui dénonce une réussite humaine digne d'être internationalement valorisée ?

Critères de qualité

On propose ici de valoriser, notamment, les villages ouvriers qui ont exprimé une volonté particulière du patronat de mettre à la disposition de leurs habitants des logements de qualité. Cette qualité peut se reconnaître :

  • dans les dimensions retenues pour les pièces d'habitation, dans le nombre de celles-ci, dans les éléments de confort qu'elles comportent, dans l'organisation urbanistique ou paysagère du village, bref dans une qualité de vie destinée à retenir plus sûrement la main d'oeuvre, certes, mais aussi à la respecter en tant qu'elle n'est pas qu'une marchandise entrant dans des calculs de rentabilité ;
  • dans la qualité des matériaux utilisés, dans un recours à un style architectural se rattachant à une identité locale ou régionale, dans l'utilisation de motifs décoratifs, et même à la limite dans le renoncement à un modèle unique de construction au bénéfice d'une individualisation du logement.

Retenir de tels critères conduit à envisager de retenir un ou plusieurs sites appartenant aux générations les plus récentes des villages ouvriers - celles postérieures à la diffusion du modèle de la cité-jardin, par exemple, celles construites depuis l'entre-deux-guerres, celles dont la réalisation a été confiée à des architectes en renom, celles qui ont le mieux vieilli ou qui suscitent plus nettement le désir de rachat de la part de leurs occupants quand vient le moment de la liquidation de leur stock immobilier par les compagnies, etc.

On pourra alors voir apparaître des oppositions caractéristiques entre pays - ainsi, en France, les politiques immobilières patronales ont-elles engendré dans l'ensemble un habitat ouvrier de qualité médiocre, tandis qu'en Italie on sera frappé par la recherche d'une véritable qualité architecturale : oppositions, aussi, entre époques, l'essor des bassins miniers et sidérurgiques d'Europe occidentale au cours du dernier siècle de l'industrialisation ayant été aux mains de puissantes compagnies qui ont pu se doter des moyens d'une politique cohérente du logement : tandis que le XIXe siècle restera celui de l'édification des « cités idéales » et des entrepreneurs « idéologues ».

Critères conceptuels

D'un autre côté, il apparaît indispensable de faire bénéficier d'une distinction tous les sites de villages ouvriers qui ont formulé concrètement une pensée sociale originale, voire des conceptions utopistes de la part de leurs promoteurs - l'utopie étant le réservoir indispensable dans lequel les créateurs puisent de génération en génération pour passer à la réalité. Chaque pays a produit ses propres penseurs sociaux dont les concepts ne sont pas totalement réductibles les uns aux autres, et dont les inspirations ont varié sensiblement d'un âge à un autre. Il n'y aurait aucun motif défendable de privilégier un seul d'entre eux.


DEUX DOSSIERS de villages ouvriers qui ont été récemment inscrits sur la Liste du Patrimoine Mondial ou sont actuellement à l'étude devant le World Heritage Committee se trouvent illustrer parfaitement les deux types de références que l'on vient d'évoquer. Dans le cas de New Lanark (proposé 2001), l'adéquation des réalisations à une pensée morale et sociale cohérente et promise à une longue postérité est aussi remarquable que le sont les conditions de conservation et de valorisation qui se sont créées depuis un certain nombre d'années. Site porteur de sens et d'un large rayonnement, il paraît devoir remporter une adhésion unanime. Une telle appréciation n'implique pas pour autant que l'on doive restreindre à ce seul site l'attention portée par la Direction du Patrimoine Mondial à ce type de patrimoine, ni dans une perspective globale ni, tout autant, dans une perspective purement britannique. New Lanark est une réalisation très datée. Le reste du XIXe siècle et le XXe ont vu s'épanouir une série d'autres créations urbaines liées à de grands entrepreneurs qui méritent absolument d'être prises en considération - Saltaire, Port Sunlight, etc. - dans un pays qui fut par ailleurs la patrie d'Ebenezer Howard...

Dans le cas de Crespi d'Adda (inscrit 1995), on se trouve en présence d'un cadre d'interprétation tout différent : celui d'une Italie septentrionale où l'industrialisation en grand de l'industrie textile démarre seulement dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle ; celui d'un patronat qui a regardé certes vers les exemples de politiques paternalistes offerts par l'Europe du Nord- Ouest, mais qui n'en appartient pas moins à un contexte idéologique tout différent, imprégné de pensée catholique et où l'exemple d'Alessandro Rossi a été très influent ; celui d'une culture de l'architecture et de la ville qui ont inspiré une conception urbanistique et artistique du village ouvrier qui constitue un trait absolument original imputable à l'environnement italien ; celui d'un homme ou plutôt d'une dynastie dont la conduite est restée pourtant dictée par un pragmatisme éloigné d'une pensée sociale originale. Le résultat, en tout cas, distingue fortement le site de Crespi d'Adda parmi toutes les autres réalisations analogues, contemporaines ou postérieures dans l'ensemble de la péninsule ; en outre, le choix de l'emplacement par la famille Crespi a inséré l'usine et le village dans un paysage industriel historique d'une très haute valeur - celui du cours moyen de l'Adda au Sud du lac de Côme, très fortement marqué par l'histoire de l'utilisation de l'eau comme moyen de transport et comme source d'énergie ; tout un passé technologique auquel Crespi d'Adda se rattache directement par sa centrale hydroélectrique et par sa proximité de plusieurs autres landmarks à propos desquels doit du reste être prononcé le nom de Leonardo da Vinci. Mais encore une fois, le cas de l'aire méditerranéenne ou de l'Europe méridionale, comme on voudra, ne sera pas réglé une fois pour toutes avec Crespi d'Adda en ce qui concerne ce type de patrimoine lié à l'habitat ouvrier en villages. En Italie même, devra être pris un jour prochain en compte le cas de la manufacture royale de San Leucio (Caserta) et de son quartier d'habitations : impressionnant témoignage d'une politique industrielle et sociale d'un souverain bourbonien à l'époque des Lumières. En Catalogne, devra être analysé le type, largement représenté dans les vallées du Llobregat et du Ter, de la colonia industrielle, village- ville typique de la fin du XIXe et du début du XXe siècle, qui a servi de berceau à une expérience de gestion de la main d'oeuvre dans un cadre extra-métropolitain (i.e., hors de Barcelone) dont l'inspiration et l'expression ne sont pas réductibles au cas italien. Ici encore, le recours à l'architecte le plus en vue de l'époque - Gaudí - devrait faire l'objet d'une attention particulière dans le cas de la Colonia Güell.

Et le reste de l'Europe industrielle de l'Ouest et du Nord ? Ses réalisations en matière de villages ouvriers méritent évidemment un traitement particulier, car elles n'entrent pas dans les cadres fournis par les exemples précédents. En Belgique, les sites du Grand Hornu, de Bois du Luc et des mines (fermées) du Limbourg belge proposent un éventail de situations dont les dates, les conceptions ou les réponses à un besoin économique précis empêchent de les assimiler l'une à l'autre, tout en constituant des repères patrimoniaux d'un intérêt largement international. On en dira autant des (relativement) récentes Siedlungen de la Ruhr ou des cités des mines de potasse d'Alsace (sous régime tour à tour allemand et français), qui renvoient à de véritables politiques patronales ou administratives qui ont marqué un tournant dans la conception des relations humaines dans l'entreprise. Quant au cas français, il renforce encore l'argumentation selon laquelle l'inscription sur la Liste du Patrimoine Mondial d'un ou deux sites appelés à « parler » pour toute une catégorie patrimoniale exprime une stratégie culturelle indéfendable. Le Familistère de Guise, un bon quart de siècle après New Lanark, témoigne d'un projet de Jean-Baptiste Godin dont l'ampleur conceptuelle et le retentissement (cf. les transferts d'idées et de pratiques entre Guise et la cité Menier de Noisiel) le placent à un rang d'importance comparable à celui d'Owen, sous une enveloppe architecturale radicalement différente. Que dire de la manufacture de Villeneuvette (Hérault), culturellement à l'abandon aujourd'hui alors qu'elle constitue le dernier et unique témoignage d'une politique royale qui s'est développée entre le dernier tiers du XVIIe et le premier tiers du XVIIIe siècle, véritable cité du travail enclose de murs en pleine campagne ?


LES RÉFÉRENCES et les formes sont multiples : l'interprétation globale et généralisante est impossible. La multiplication typologique des sites à valoriser serait-elle un signe de faiblesse, ou de manque de maîtrise de son sujet, de la part de l'UNESCO ? J'y verrais plutôt un signe de respect à l'égard de la fertilité de l'esprit humain (fût-ce l'esprit des entrepreneurs, dont il fut un temps de bon ton de nier l'existence ) ainsi que de la mémoire des collectivités laborieuses qui ont vécu dans différents cadres des expériences originales, sur fond commun de travail, bien sûr.

Existe-t-il un argument financier qu'on puisse opposer à une certaine dispersion des landmark honorés d'un label mondial ? Je ne le crois pas. Des élus locaux qui appartiennent à des villes de quelques milliers d'habitants, souvent, et qui conçoivent des projets pour leur patrimoine industriel - et des projets d'une réelle densité, souvent - ne s'attendent pas à recevoir un million de dollars pour les réaliser. Ils attendent d'une très haute autorité culturelle une reconnaissance de principe qui leur permette de mobiliser dans leur propre département, province, région ou Etat les ressources nécessaire. Faire un détour (sic) par l'UNESCO relève pour eux d'une stratégie de contournement des administrations et ministères de leur propre pays qui, trop souvent, s'avèrent incapables de les écouter et, surtout, d'être à l'écoute du patrimoine qu'ils devraient contribuer à sauver. La procédure employée me paraît hautement démocratique : elle renvoie à la vigueur de l'initiative citoyenne.

Louis BERGERON Paris, 18 octobre 1995


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