Authenticity and/or integrity are conditions that should be met by a World Heritage property to be deemed of Outstanding Universal Value (OG 78), as well as the more general requirement for the characteristics of a monument or an urban ensemble, but also a natural site to be considered as a “heritage” feature.
However, the definitions provided by the Operational Guidelines open the way to different and often contradictory interpretations that lead to questions about their appropriateness and relevance not only for the purpose of inscription in the WH List but, more in general, for the definition of conservation and management strategies. As for authenticity, for instance, should the status of heritage be denied to the many reconstructions of archaeological remains or historic buildings or districts that have been implemented throughout history and in all countries without the basis of complete and detailed documentation and only on conjecture? For many parts of the Roman Forum, the palace of Cnossos, the Carcassonne of Viollet-le-Duc, are they not “authentic” in a way? What about many sites of earthen architecture that are continuously rebuilt on the basis of local know-how and traditions?
As for integrity, the definition and inscription criteria provided by the OG are more clear and effective. They take into consideration the “natural” heritage with accurate recommendations about the criteria to be used for the different categories of heritage.
Thus, the aim of this session is to review and discuss the concepts of authenticity and integrity to better frame their use in the definition and implementation of conservation strategies, particularly for living heritage such as historic cities, or natural heritage under heavy environmental changes and development pressures.
Daniele Pini (Italy)
Dina Bakhoum (Egypt)
Topic: Reflections on the ‘authentic’ and the ‘modern’ of architectural and urban palimpsests: case studies from Egypt
Rosane Piccollo (Brazil)
Topic: Integrity and authenticity: a controversial pair in the world heritage system