Proposed policy guidelines for managing heritage at risk based on public engagement and communicating climate change

Tom Dawson*, Joanna Hambly, William Lees, Sarah Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

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The deterioration and loss of our historic environment due to natural erosive processes, exacerbated by climate change, already outpaces available resources for preservation and will accelerate over the coming century. While this process is divisive and destructive, it is also bringing together international collaborators who are developing more holistic approaches to addressing heritage at risk. In 2018, an intensive fieldtrip and series of workshops as part of the Learning from Loss project brought researchers and practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic together with community stakeholders. Over twelve days, the delegates considered alternative futures for heritage at risk, exploring diverse perspectives and observing action previously taken at threatened sites by both heritage professionals and local communities, often working in collaboration. Recognising that not everything can be saved, the structured discussions and site visits revealed a number of insights into ways that action could be planned in the future. The suggestions also highlighted differences in the way that heritage is managed in the UK and the US. This paper summarises the findings of the field trip and discusses how there may need to be a sea-change in thinking in the United Sates in order to prepare for the growing disaster facing an increasing number of archaeological monuments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-394
Number of pages21
JournalThe Historic Environment: Policy & Practice
Issue number3-4
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate change
  • Heritage at risk
  • Archaeology
  • Public archaeology


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