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Discover European Diversity in Cultural and Natural Heritage
I have a newfound appreciation for this sense of balance that maximises environmental and social priorities, something that can be difficult to achieve. This study visit has emphasised the global importance of this system (in terms of preventing desertification), whilst also providing a shining example for sustainable, biodiversity-friendly land management systems elsewhere in Europe.
Transhumance is an ancient practice of moving animals between regions to benefit from the best grazing at the best time of year. The loss of this transhumance has impacts in both Andalusia and the north. In Andalusia the sheep remain on the same ground throughout the year which increases the pressure on the available grazing and is detrimental to the soil. In the north the lack of annual grazing has led to abandonment of pastures, which are infilled with continuous forest or scrub cover, which lowers biodiversity and increases the risk of fire.
When the worlds soils are predicted to have only 60 harvests left in them, we need to find a more sustainable approach to our use of agricultural land. The Dehesa San Francisco is a beautiful example of what can be achieved.
Near Lišov is a c200km long linear monument, part of a massive network of similar sites stretching from the Czech Republic to the Black Sea. This section near Lišov runs approximately North-South and was once thought to be defensive, however a number of theories have been proposed to explain its massive construction. They are thought to be Neolithic and their relationship to tributaries of the Danube, and the Danube itself appear to be important. The monument is reminiscent of the Cleaven Dyke, Perth and Kinross, a complex earthwork comprising a pair of parallel ditches (c.45-5om apart), with a central bank, running for 1.8km through woodland and for a further 350m as a cropmark.
The rural museum opened in 2015, so it has only been operating (and flourishing) over the last 3 years, under the care and love of locals Adriana Patková and Jakub Dvorský, our young guides who accompanied us throughout our stay in Slovakia. I fell in love with the museum from the beginning and the ideas it stands for. It may display historic objects and furniture in a traditional way at times, but many of these are actually donated by the locals or passionately collected by Adriana. This way, the museum acts a depository for the local heritage and for holding people’s memories and identity. Moreover, it acts as a space for keeping alive ancient traditions, like for example burning the Goddess Morena, symbolising death and the winter, and sailing it down the river to welcome spring.
Impressions of Lisov and its culture heritage
Vernacular architecture, construction methods, techniques and associated crafts and skills, is a lesson of the past for the future. Architecture established and resulting, including from construction approaches, is a unique component of a locations’ culture just as much as its language, music, art, literature or food. Architecture is also the most visual of those cultural components; conveying a unique image. This is called “genius loci,” the “spirit of a place”.
I sincerely hope that the work of Jacob and Andriana at the Lišov Museum revive the traditional crafts of using clay mortars and plasters and limewashes for the repair of old buildings and encourage their use in modern construction.
Textiles are a central theme of the museum both in terms of culture heritage interpretation and as a major component of the museum shop. This short report explores the range of the textile collections, the current textile-based enterprise activities, some thoughts/suggestions on potential textile based outreach and enterprise projects, and possible implications for work in Scotland.
The course themes were far ranging, from large carnivore management, including hunting legislation and how people live with together with these animals as neighbours; forestry adaptations to climate change, covering the wind storm in the High Tatras, where the bark beetle is now thriving to the detriment of the forest; forestry methods, namely horse logging where is was a huge advantage having our very own horse logger to explain how the methods were similar to that in Scotland and across Europe.
This film records the ARCH visit to Eastern Slovakia in May 2018