World Heritage and Cultural Landscapes: An Account of the 1992 La Petite Pierre Meeting

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The Expert Meeting on Cultural Landscapes that took place at La Petite Pierre, France, in October 1992 was a pivotal or key moment in global heritage practice. The meeting is highly regarded by heritage practitioners for having fashioned a document defining cultural landscapes in relation to Article 1 of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Six weeks later the document was adopted at the 16th meeting of the World Heritage Committee. This paper traces how the La Petite Pierre meeting was the culmination of two intersecting historical trajectories: the first a narrative concerning the complex deliberations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee between 1984 and 1992; and the second a lesser-known story linked to the work of a small, determined group of networked individuals allied via the ICOMOS UK Landscape Working Group established in 1990. Drawing on oral testimony and archival sources, the leading role of selected Working Group members in the construction of the report on cultural landscapes prepared at La Petite Pierre is examined. In addition, the concepts and terminology used to define categories of cultural landscape are explored to illustrate both novel and conservative aspects of the work of the meeting. The paper concludes with the suggestion that these categories, which have been retained unchanged in UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines from 1992, warrant review and amendment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-43
Number of pages25
JournalHeritage and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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