This publication reflects a convergence of two significant streams of interest and involvement in cultural resources management. As the text itself indicates, one stream derives from my professional experience as an archaeologist with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico, and from a conviction that effective conservation of our archaeological heritage requires new approaches to meet new and demanding challenges. My position as archaeologist responsible for the complex site at Mitla, Oaxaca, reinforced this conviction in a very immediate fashion, and a Fulbright-Garcia Robles doctoral fellowship at the University of Georgia provided the time for reading, debate, and a sharpening of focus. The dissertation, this text, Mexico's first Certificate Program in Cultural Resources Management, and the opportunity to test innovations in planning and management in the archaeological zone of Monte Alban are all consequences of this stream. Hopefully these accomplishments respond in some way to the support and encouragement provided by colleagues and senior administrators at INAH.
The second stream of interest and involvement flows from contact and dialogue with a wide range of professional contacts in different settings. From a symposium on cultural property protection at the 1995 meeting of the American Society for Public Administration in San Antonio came continuing contact with the National Park Service, and somewhat later other connections with ICOMOS in Paris. Francis McManamon and Richard Waldbauer of the NPS Archaeological Assistance Division have been particularly attentive to brokering linkages between their agency and INAH, and the publication of this text in English stems from their efforts. Henry Cleere at ICOMOS has been insistent on the importance of learning from the accomplishments and frustrations of others, and has supported that insistence by sending me on technical assistance missions to Central America.
The academic and professional experience of the past several years means that were I writing this text today it would be different in some ways but very much the same in others. Had the National Park Service and Society for American Archaeology not imposed some practical deadlines the temptation to do substantial revision might have proven overwhelming. This is particularly true given the current national debate in Mexico as to whether, how, and under what circumstances responsibility for conservation of archaeological heritage should be opened to participation by other sectors of society. As Mexico grapples with this debate it faces a profound challenge in deciding how to learn from its own experience as well as the experience of others. This book is a contribution to that challenge.
Nelly Robles Garcia
Monte Alban, Oaxaca