Can we rebuild the Kasthamandap? Rescue, Archaeology and Reconstruction in Post-Earthquake Kathmandu
The two earthquakes which struck Nepal in 2015 caused a human catastrophe. Not only did they inflict loss of life and livelihoods, they also destroyed parts of Kathmandu’s unique UNESCO World Heritage site. The monuments were not just ornate structures but living monuments playing central roles in the daily lives of thousands. Furthermore, their rehabilitation is of economic importance as they represent a major source of tourist income and employment. Whilst there is a social and economic desire to rapidly reconstruct, a UNESCO funded pilot mission led by Durham in November 2015 recommended that such activities must be preceded by rescue excavations to evaluate subsurface foundation stability with detailed recording and scientific analysis as few architectural studies have considered them. This would provide an understanding of how monuments were built and developed, facilitating their enhanced rehabilitation and resilience but also playing a key role in information sharing and capacity building as damage has already been inflicted on monuments by architects and engineers within the UNESCO site during post-disaster reconstruction. Grants in 2016 from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and National Geographic Society have provided additional funds to complete research on the Kasthamandap, Kathmandu’s eponymous monument.
Presented by Professor Robin Coningham, UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage, Durham University
A film of the lecture (for members only) is attached below
10 May 2017
Where: The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD [Nearest Underground Stations Euston Square or Warren Street]
Lecture starts at 1.15pm and ends around 2.30pm. A sandwich lunch is available from 12.30pm and must be booked via the office by 2.30pm the day before.
Tickets: Free. Members and their guests only.