Conservation of natural and cultural heritage in Kenya : a cross-disciplinary approach
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As scientists, historians and archaeologists continue to uncover, study and promote access to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, there are ever increasing challenges that pervade conservation efforts. Heritage conservation is threatened as the world globalizes and African economies open up to new realms of growth in the international markets while increased building construction, infrastructural expansion as well as terrorism destroy existing heritage assets. Kenya in particular prides itself as a prodigious habitat for abundant and various natural and cultural heritage assets including archaeological sites, wildlife, landscapes and folklores. However, the different forms cultural and natural heritage take and the complexity of the conservation challenges are not congealed; their constant and respective evolution requires continuous regeneration of competence, technology and value systems. Conservators must therefore seek to expand existing principles and practices in the management of cultural and natural heritage, including the assessment of values attributed to the heritage, questions of reversibility and replica as well as access and security issues. Cultural heritage conservation is not one of the subjects that have been accorded great attention in Kenya over the past century. The editors and contributors aim, however, to highlight and expand conservation studies from the confines of technical and scientific management expertise into the strata of matters engrained in local populations and the intrinsic links between communities, and their cultural and natural environment within the Kenyan legal framework. An in-depth discussion on contradictions in existing laws in Kenya exposes the difficulties in implementing conservation guidelines.
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