The Development of Cultural Value in the Practice of Heritage Management in Greece

Submitting Institution

University of Kent

Unit of Assessment


Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Built Environment and Design: Architecture
History and Archaeology: Archaeology, Curatorial and Related Studies

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Summary of the impact

Kyriakidis's research has had impact on policy-makers within both national and local government. This has involved a scaling up of his impact activities that were based in Gonies (Crete) to include both national policy-makers and international organisations. As a result, he has become an influential international authority on the development of greater public engagement with heritage sites (including Pompeii), and on public policy in Greece. His research has resulted in a shift in policy at the Athens University of Economics and Business, which now engages with the provision of training in Heritage Management and is branching out from exclusively finance-based education. His CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses have reached out to the commercial sector (particularly Leica).

Underpinning research

Kyriakidis's interest in cultural values as presented to the public has its origins in the concluding chapter of his book The Archaeology of Ritual (2007; part of Kent's submission to RAE 2008). In this work, he set out the role of various stakeholders and the use of the archaeology of ritual, not least within tourism, to capture the various values and their contexts associated with a particular archaeological site. He followed up on this publication with a practical application built into his fieldwork on Minoan Peak Sanctuaries from his season in 2009. The project included an ethnographic study of the village of Gonies. This study had a double aim: (i) to find out more about the ways the landscape intersects with life in the present and the recent past, and (ii) to create a greater awareness and empowerment mechanism that would help the local community to integrate its everyday activity and its own priorities with those associated with heritage and heritage management. This ethnographic survey and the academic study of ritual were interwoven with the core of heritage management issues associated with the Minoan Peak Sanctuaries. As a result, the project engaged with the competing narratives created by different groups of users of the sites, and evaluated the feelings of conflicting ownership and cultural meanings found amongst the various stakeholders. Building on this knowledge, a better understanding of the range of values associated with heritage sites was developed.

Kyriakidis's research sets out a need to consider a core set of heritage values with regard to any site: what an archaeological site stands for. He argues that these values should be the guide to any intervention, conservation programme, and use of that site. This includes the development of the perception of sites through virtual reality that has at its basis 3D laser scanning to record the state of conservation with precision. Heritage management, Kyriakidis argues, needs to focus attention as much on the development of these values as on the conservation of the site. This approach contrasts with the existing focus of heritage managers on the fabric of a site, without exploring and protecting the cultural value that the site might have.

Kyriakidis's published research, his fieldwork-based research in Gonies (Crete), and his activities in Elefsina have demonstrated that values associated with heritage sites tend to be personal, vested, time-related and often contradictory. The value attributed to a site, such as ancient Eleusis, will be quite different for local industrialists (economic), when compared to the values of heritage managers (mystical, religious). The values of a heritage site have been shown by Kyriakidis to change over time and with environmental change. This is shown most clearly in the discussion of his work on the Minoan Peak Sanctuaries that was presented at the Heritage and Climate Change conference held at the Acropolis Museum in 2012.

Kyriakidis joined the University of Kent in 2004.

References to the research

1) Kyriakidis, E. (ed.) (2007) The Archaeology of Ritual, UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Publications.


2) Kyriakidis, E. (2011) `Narrative Textility and the Peak Sanctuary of Philioremos Gonies', Cretological Congress, Rethymnon October 2011.

3) Kyriakidis, E. (2012) `Borders and Territories: The Borders of Classical Tylissos', CCJ 58, 115-144.


4) Kyriakidis, E. (2013) `Climate Change and the Management of Values of Archaeological Sites', in E. Kyriakidis, S. Michalski, V. Golfomitsou, C. Antonacci (eds), Climate Change and the Management of Archaeological Sites, proceedings of the IHC think-tank colloquium in the Acropolis Museum, ICCROM Publications (forthcoming).

Details of the impact

Kyriakidis's approach to public archaeology has not just had an impact in the locality of his field project in Crete, but has established a clear pathway for impact at a national level in Greece. This has involved using the experience of impact on the local villagers of Gonies, the archaeological service in Crete, and the local government authorities in Crete, and scaling up from this context to create a national programme for Greece via the establishment of the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy (IHC), a charity which has recently extended its reach beyond the state borders of Greece.

The approach to impact can be seen most clearly in the establishment of activities associated with the Cultural Foundation of Gonies. Building on the research project associated with the Minoan Peak Sanctuaries site, a public engagement programme was founded by Kyriakidis (see 5.3 below for details). This programme informed the citizens of Gonies of the cultural values of the heritage and, in addition, engaged their own daily lives with those values and the heritage management of the site. As a result, `the citizens are much better informed, they understand both the value of heritage and the importance to protect it', and the `project opened up new avenues and has activated the members of the village, prodding them to do more for what they did not recognise previously as valuable' (5.3 below). This approach transformed the villagers' approach to heritage and ensured that the approach continued after the project via the activities of the cultural foundation: `we now have organised several events around the heritage of the village' (5.3 below). At the heart of the success of this initiative was the connection between the cultural values of the villagers, including stone masonry techniques, and the heritage management of the nearby archaeological sites (5.3 below). As a project, this transformed the engagement of the citizens of Gonies with the heritage sites (`they now care more than they did before') and added to the cultural life of the village.

On the basis of his local impact in Gonies, Kyriakidis embarked on an initiative to scale up from the level of a village to influence national policy-makers. He did this with a view to providing training based on his research that developed the conception of understanding competing values associated with heritage sites and heritage management to the everyday life of a community. This move involved the establishment of a charity, the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy (IHC), based in the municipality of Elefsina, which includes the heritage site of Eleusis. As a result of the activities of the IHC in training heritage professionals and future professionals at Elefsina, the site of Eleusis has gained precise data that can be used to assess changes in the nature of conservation of the site and to develop conservation strategies from the 3D laser-scanned data and its visualisation. As a result, Eleusis now has one of the best digital maps in Greece, which will inform heritage management strategies. Regular re-scanning of the site will highlight conservation issues. Grey-literature confidential reports on the nature of conservation and a risk assessment report have provided the site with key information from which to develop visitor strategies and priorities for conservation. Working with the Heritage Management students, Kyriakidis created the draft management plan for the site of Eleusis. In keeping with Kyriakidis's experience in Gonies, he engaged local stakeholders in the project, running local public engagement activities: open information events for the community. At the same time, he sought to establish international partnerships that would cause Elefsina to become a hub for heritage management. This combination of local archaeological authorities, the local community, and international partners has benefited the site, not least in a 30% increase in visitor numbers.

The scaling up of impact from a local to a national level took Kyriakidis to the Greek Ministry of Culture. In 2010, the IHC was recognised as a unique organisation bridging the gaps between the public sector, the private sector and the university sector by the Minister of Culture, who additionally placed the IHC under the `auspices' of the Ministry (5.4). This close relationship has established the IHC as a key NGO (Non-Government-Organisation) involved in the continuing professional development of the Ministry's staff (8 have taken, or are taking, our MA programme in Heritage Management), and roughly two-thirds of the 3000 people who attended the 100+ IHC lectures and seminars on Heritage Management are employed at the Ministry of Culture. Together with the Ministry, the IHC has co-organised events on the coordination of protocols for databases throughout Greece, and also on the use of digital technologies and on other heritage management issues. The link between the Ministry-IHC and the joint MA Programme in Heritage Management has provided benefit to the Ministry in the development of the management plan for the sites of ancient Olympia and Kyparissia.

The scaling up of Kyriakidis's impact to influence the management of heritage at a national level led him to approach the then Rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). This university specialised almost exclusively in finance, economics and MBA provision. Kyriakidis described his approach to heritage management at Gonies to the Rector (Prof. Prastacos), alongside his plans for the IHC and for activities at Eleusis. As Prof. Prastacos comments: `I quickly realised that this approach would help with a lot of the issues surrounding sustainability of heritage conservation and heritage management in Greece and the world [...]. I could sense that AUEB, being the leading Business School in SE Europe, should be part of this effort since heritage as we all know is vital to tourism, education, culture and development' (5.2 below). The significance of this impact is that AUEB, a Business School, shifted its position from exclusively finance-based education to engage with the research of Kyriakidis in the discipline of archaeology; he thus influenced the shape of Higher Education in Greece. The joint AUEB-Kent MA in Heritage Management ensures that impact is delivered through its students, who `undertake market-led collaborative projects in heritage management, helping organisations internationally to take their work further and thus creating international impact' (5.2 below). In addition, one-third of the students on the programme `are already working as heritage managers', and undertaking the MA ensures their professional training (5.2 below). The significance of the programme is evidenced by the financial support it has received (over £200,000) from the following foundations: Niarchos, Fulbright, Bodossaki, Canellopoulos, and Leventis; and by an article in the Financial Times in 2011 (5.1 below).

The second means of scaling up the impact of this approach to heritage management can be seen in the interaction with the Intergovernmental Organisation for the Protection of Monuments (ICCROM), established by UNESCO. ICCROM's Director General (Dr Bouchenaki) conducted a three-day visit to review the IHC's programme. He found that Kyriakidis's impact was `transforming research into education', `filled a gap in Greece' and was `turning education into action' through a clearly devised strategy and reasoning that could make a clear difference in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean'. Unusually for an organisation so recently set up, the IHC became a partner of ICCROM, because the IHC was a transparent organisation and was capable of making a difference in the area of heritage management (5.5 below). Drawing on discussions with Bouchenaki, Kyriakidis pursued with the IHC three areas related to his research: 1) digitisation as a tool for conservation; 2) the effect of the macro-environment, including climate change, on monuments; and 3) the promotion of archaeological sites as tourist destinations. These three areas have been delivered via a series of measures that ensure that the impact of Kyriakidis's research has significant reach and significance in the training and understanding of Heritage professionals.

The work of Kyriakidis in Crete to explain the value of the Minoan Peak Sanctuaries in terms of public archaeology has led him to develop 3D laser-scanning, digitisation and visualisation as an underpinning technology for heritage management (5.6 and 5.10 below). The concept of value as the essential element appealed to hardware and software companies in Athens: Leica Geosystems, Rapidform, Alice-Labs and Metrica. This has resulted in direct involvement of staff from these companies in the summer training courses on a pro bono basis. Their involvement is an outcome of Kyriakidis's research, and their involvement with the IHC programmes is on-going and likely to be a regular feature of training in Heritage Management and 3D recording at Eleusis after REF2014. The IHC has run annual 4-week summer courses in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Spatial Technology (University of Arkansas) to provide training and professional development in 3D recording and visualisation. An ICCROM- and IHC-led conference held at the Acropolis Museum in 2012 set out to provide a new venue in Greece for the discussion of climate change (a subject focused on in Kyriakidis's research in Crete). This activity resulted in Kyriakidis's appointment by the Bank of Greece to the National Committee for Climate Change (Greece) in 2012. As a result of founding the IHC and running its activities, Kyriakidis has established himself in a relatively short period of time (2010-13) as an authority on Heritage Management in Greece — this being underpinned by the impact of his research. The letters of support demonstrate the on-going impact of his research on policy-makers in relation to heritage management. His approach to public archaeology in Crete and the training of staff employed by the Greek Ministry of Culture have led to Kyriakidis being included in the ICCROM 2012 inspection of the site of Pompeii. The inspection flagged the absence of a programme of public archaeology, and, as a result, in 2013 the Italian Ministry of Culture, in association of the Municipality of Pompeii, launched a programme of public engagement via crowd-sourcing to pull in `99 ideas for Pompeii' (5.7-5.9 below).

Over the REF period, Kyriakidis has scaled up an approach to heritage management in Gonies (Crete) via the establishment of an NGO (the IHC) that has worked closely with (and under the auspices of) the Greek Ministry of Culture to train staff and to develop heritage management strategies at Eleusis, and now Olympia and Kyparissia. In so doing, he has influenced an HEI (AUEB) to shift its focus from exclusively finance to include heritage management in its provision, and to collaborate directly with an international organisation (ICCROM) in the development of strategies of public engagement and in the study of the effects of climate change in the heritage sector. As a result, his research that developed a new, more inclusive and contextual approach to heritage management in Gonies has become a model for the sustaining of heritage sites in Greece with the reach extending internationally via ICCROM to Pompeii.

Sources to corroborate the impact

1) Kerin Hope, `Greece looking for a bright side', Financial Times, 19/09/11:

2) Prof. Gregory Prastacos, former Rector of AUEB, now Dean at Steven's College, Letter of Recommendation for the MA in Heritage Management.

3) Letter from Nikos Markatos, President of the Gonies Cultural Foundation, confirming the impact of the research on the approach to heritage sites at Gonies in Crete.

4) Letter from Mr Antonis Samaras, Minister of Culture, confirming that the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy was set up under its auspices and provided a unique cooperation between the university sector, the public sector and private initiatives.

5) Letter from Dr Mounir Bouchenaki, Director General of ICCROM (the intergovernmental organisation for the protection of monuments), evidencing the quality of the programme of Continuing Professional Development.

6) Letter from Prof. Fred Limp, Director elect of the Society for American Archaeology.

7) `99 ideas for Pompei':

8) Press release (Soprintendenza of Pompeii) on visit of UNESCO that includes Kyriakidis:

9) UNESCO reports on visit to Pompeii, including Kyriakidis:

10) Initiative for Heritage Conservancy website, including short courses: