“HUMAN & LANDSCAPE” FOREWORD
In cases of armed conflict, foreign occupation of the country’s part, protracted economic and political crisis society may have a mistaken opinion about inopportuneness of ancient cultures study and conduction of difficult interdisciplinary researches. However, in our opinion, the realization of international conference dedicated to relations of human and nature in ancient times is a significant event in this complicated times for Ukraine and world community. It is significant not only because of the processes that have been occurring in our country but also in view of the challenges facing the international scientific community in our time.
Scientists especially those, who carries out the research in the field f social relations development and ecology from the earliest times, simply cannot stand aside of global problems, especially when these processes are relevant to their professional interests. Identification of patterns of interaction between the environment and human is especially important on the background of prominent climate changes occurring on Earth right now.
The danger of dehumanization of society in conditions of economic and political problems developing in military conflicts time after time is the next powerful challenge of modernity. Such social instability undoubtedly has an affect on the overall psychological state of people. Human as a social being, apart from instinctual needs, has also cultural, satisfied by nonfood production. If cultural needs are not satisfied in time with the quality product, society begins to consume substitute — propaganda stamps, primarily aimed at reduction of the ability to think independently, critically. This leads to the total dehumanization of society, which is guided mainly by irrational motives. Such society very quickly becomes passive, aggressive and loses viability. It is clear that the response to these processes should be an increase of role of the scientific and educational segment because scientists and teachers are responsible for the level of education of citizens.Protection of the archaeological heritage is another significant problem of our time. In conditions of modern privatization processes, rapid development of building and man-caused pressure on the landscape, the problem of preservation of cultural heritage requires state and public intervention in view of the possibility of representing the history and culture of Ukraine in today’s globalized world. This is especially true for sites belonging to the earliest stages of human and society development — prehistoric era. Firstly, because archaeological objects belong to the common heritage of humankind and carry information about the development of our species and its culture in general. Secondly, they are not renewable. In a case of destruction of the site or its part, information that could be extracted from the “Archaeological Chronicle” becomes practically lost forever.
Unfortunately, objects of the earliest epochs of the cultural development are the most vulnerable to anthropogenic pressure.They have mostly undergone significant changes because of landscape transformations, damage by the next generations of citizens, industrial and communication processes. Certain secondary “social weight” gives slightly distorted social demand “in archeology.” Prehistoric Sites don’t carry data related to the formation of modern ethnic groups or countries, so there is a considerable risk of neglecting these objects by the administrative structures and government policy in general.
The process of integration of Ukraine into the European Community requires an adequate change of the protection system of archaeological heritage, both the legal and the administrative levels. Recently presented by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine project of the Law about “Protection and Preservation of Immovable Cultural Heritage” not only far from European legal norms, but creates preconditions of elimination of the existing system that has been forming with the rise of independent Ukraine. Fears that the state responsibility to society declared in the law in the field of cultural heritage will be only declarative are very reasonable.
Often state attaching the works of previous eras to own history, thus state appropriate a right of authorship or ownership on creations of all mankind value. Although in reality, everything looks different. The state assumes a liability for the preservation of the cultural heritage of humanity. “Each State … recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage … situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State” (Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage; Paris, 16 November 1972). From the moral and ethical point of view, as the Egyptian government has no right to dispose of local ancient antiquities at its own discretion, the state agencies of Ukraine have no rights to resolve the fate of Trypillian settlements, committing a crime against humanity interests in this case. However, for our country it is an everyday occurrence when political power (not eternal) guided by financial or lobby (this day’s) interests decide an issue of the expediency of ancient site existence.
The unsatisfactory condition in the field of protection of ancient sites and disregard of the administrative structures form a national opinion about unnecessary of archaeologists as scientists for the state and society. Without a doubt, this affects both the public consciousness and public policy in the field of research funding in this area. The economic and financial crisis negatively affect the most “non-profit” sectors — culture, science, education. This applies particularly to areas of human knowledge because investments in these disciplines do not provide a rapid return of invested funds. This situation expresses itself in constant staff reduction in academic institutions, reduction of state order for universities, deterioration of the condition of local science organizations etc. It is cynical that these processes take place on the background of active promotion of “patriotic education”, “national consciousness” and so on.
Designated problems put new challenges for the scientific community. To change this situation should occur significant changes in the scientific community, which has to get rid of academic elitism, isolation, should actively respond to the demands of society. The relationship of science and society can be fully implemented based on objects of cultural and natural heritage, which may be not only the subject of study of cultural and natural diversity science but also communication, education, entertainment device, an instrument of enriching the cultural experience.
International conference “Human and Landscape” will be the first step towards the integration of national research into the overall European space, which displaying tasks put forward by the organizers:
— overcoming of discreteness of modern science, restrained in the framework of official institutions and because of its high specialization of researches, science becomes increasingly isolated from society;
— implementation of an integrated approach to the study of historical events using various methods of natural and human sciences (archaeology, ethnology, geology, ecology etc.);
— conduct comprehensive researches of ancient societies to demonstrate relationships between human communities and with the environment at different stages of historical development. The main source of such researches is an analysis of vital activity remains of ancient societies in connection with ethnographic observations and the study of ancient ecosystems.
Due to the initiative of Department of Archaeology and Museology of the Historical faculty of Kyiv National University and Center of Paleoethnological Researches the Organizing committee of international scientific conference “Human and landscape” was created. To take part in a conference invited specialists from university centers and scientific establishments of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Belarus, Georgia etc. Among Ukrainian scientific establishments invited representatives of Institute of archaeology of NAS of Ukraine, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Institute of the geology of Kyiv National University, Institute of zoology of NAS of Ukraine, National Natural History Museum of NAS of Ukraine, universities of Odesa, Kharkiv, Chernihiv etc. Conference will highlight the results of archaeological investigations of national and foreign scientists, including consequences of international cooperation based on archaeological localities of Ukraine.
The conference itself will be an exceptional opportunity to create a system of information and experience exchange, in researches about European prehistoric sites, to introduce up-to-date methodologies of fixation and description of archaeological material and to promote the Ukrainian archaeological heritage in the European system of research. An important value is the participation of Ukrainian students in this event, in archaeology, geology and biology, that will help to develop their knowledge about current theoretical and practical research of European science and promote their international mobility during their academic experiences. In terms of public benefit, the conference will help to represent the Ukrainian cultural and natural heritage at a European level.
Members of Organizing Committee
Pavlo S. Shydlovskyi,
Yevgen V. Synytsia