The Getty Foundation has awarded $1.3 million for a major restoration project of the Wupatki National Monument in Arizona, a cultural and archaeological landmark.
The Wupatki Monument is a complex made from Moenkopi sandstone and houses more than 100 rooms. The nine centuries-old monument was considered a spiritual site by the local inhabitants. The Wupatki (meaning ‘tall house’), along with Sunset Crater Volcano and Walnut Canyon, are some of the most well-preserved archaeological landmarks for the native American culture. It is believed that many native tribes like the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and Hualapai settled in the area in the early 11th century. Archaeologists have found more than 5,000 native American archaeological records across the monument.
The monument attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year. The Getty Foundation has now granted $1.3 million for a large-scale preservation project of the monument. The grant went to the Centre for Architectural Conservation (CAC) at the Univesity of Pennsylvania. The CAC is tasked with coming up with a new management and conservation plan for the highlands.
However, the interesting part of the preservation project is the stress laid on the participation of the natives. The team at CAC will work with many organizations run by indigenous people to formulate the preservation plan. These include Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, Vanishing Treasures Program, and Wupatki Cultural Resources Program. One of the key aspects of the project would be giving the local community an opportunity for heritage stewardship, and deciding the future of the monument.
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According to Frank Matero (Director, CAC): “Reflective of contemporary concerns that address climate threat and cultural appropriation, this project will develop a framework for integrated site stewardship based on an understanding of sustainability as both a physical and cultural necessity.”