Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst Range of East Kalimantan (Indonesia): Policies and Conservation Efforts
Antonio J. Guerreiro (IrAsia, CNRS-Aix-Marseille-University, UMR 7306, Marseille)
The paper considers current issues (environmental, socio-economic and cultural) in connection to the conservation of archaeological sites located in the Sankulirang-Mangkalihat Karstic range. The local administrations of East Kutai and Berau Regencies and that of the Province of East Kalimantan in charge of conservation, have been directly involved in the management of few sites. They are preparing for the listing of the Karst area in Unesco’s World Heritage Tentative List. Until now archaeological and anthropological research in the area has been supervised by the National Center of Archaeological Research (Pusat Arkeologi Nasional) based in Jakarta and its branch office in Banjarmasin (Balai Arkeologi). While the French-Indonesian Collaborative Research Programme has been active since 2011, but only a small percentage of the sites surveyed has been studied. The Lebbo’/Basap indigenous people who have been living for centuries (or more ?) in contact to the archaeological sites and the nearby caves, have not been involved officially in conservation or trained for these activities. However, the practice of ‘indigenous conservation’ which can be developed with benefits, remains to be implemented. Presently the local governements of the Regencies of East Kutai and Berau are increasingly concerned with the protection of the sites and of their touristic potential. On the other hand the infrastructures (roads, accommodations, museums…) are not ready yet to cater for an increase of visitors. The protection of the sites, mostly rock art in caves and rock shelters, should be evaluated accordingly.