Effective protection and management of cultural heritage resources in a specific region requires planning strategies and policies, which rely on the sum of existing information about archaeology and cultural heritage. The role of archaeological inventories in the process of heritage management is, therefore, central and critical, as they are supposed to convey our present state of knowledge and be the basis on which management priorities are decided. This dissertation examines existing Israeli and Palestinian archaeological and architectural inventories covering the occupied West Bank, as well as assessing the role of Geographic Information Systems for heritage management in this region. Its main objectives are twofold: first, it explores the nature of archaeological records and the way they reflect particular research interests and heritage management priorities; and second, it examines variability in data quality, coverage, accuracy and reliability. By examining recording emphasis in West Bank inventories, this research interrogates the ways in which social, political, ideological or cultural values may affect different aspects of data collection and management. The assessment of different inventories through comparison, analysis and fieldwork, sheds light on current Israeli and Palestinian approaches to documentation and data management, as well as broader issues associated with the collection and use of information about the past in contexts of cultural conflict. Framed within the political context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this research has theoretical considerations and practical implications. On the theoretical side, it raises awareness of personal, academic and national interests, the ways they are manifested in archaeological inventories, and the means by which they dictate the process of cultural knowledge production. On the practical side, it provides a set of recommendations for ways to improve current data management and dissemination strategies, and thereby encourage more efficient decision-making processes and better protection and preservation of heritage sites in the West Bank.
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