Saturday, May 15, 2010

US Foundation helps to support China's application for a World Heritage site designation

Frédérique Darragon samples
wood for radiocarbon analysis.

Source: "PROFILE: FRÉDÉRIQUE DARRAGON: Unraveling a Riddle in Plain Sight," Richard Stone, Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 685 - 687
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5979.685

"Amateur archaeologist Frédérique Darragon has spent 12 years documenting hundreds of mysterious towers in Southwest China—and winning over skeptical academics." As part of her research, under the auspices of the Unicorn Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit that Darragon founded in 2001 with seed money from cable TV mogul Ted Turner, wood samples from 77 towers—54 in Sichuan and 23 in Tibet—have been radiocarbon-dated by Beta Analytic in Miami, Florida.

"Drawing on Darragon's work, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China (SACH) is expected to soon nominate dozens of the more imposing structures to UNESCO's World Heritage list as the Diaolou Buildings and Villages of Tibetan and Qiang Ethnic Groups Cultural Landscapes. The towers 'represent an extraordinary heritage and tradition, and deserve to be fully preserved," says Francesco Bandarin, assistant director-general for culture at UNESCO."
Western Sichuan's star-shaped Bamei tower, restoration of which was completed last year, likely was built in the 13th or 14th century.

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