Conservation of Archaeological Remains in the Middle of Hindu-Balinese Communities: The Strengths and Weaknesses

Research Center for Environmental Archaeology, Maritime Archaeology and Cultural Sustainability, The National Research and Innovation Agency, Indonesia

The island of Bali has a wealth of archaeology and heritage, including material culture and monuments that are still used today by Hindu-Balinese people. This living heritage includes various forms of temple, gods and goddesses figurines, ancestor figurines, lingga and yoni, and inscriptions. In this presentation, I will discuss how Hindu-Balinese community’s conserve their heritage and address the strengths and weaknesses of their conservation strategies. The old monuments are usually located near pura (Hindu-Balinese holy shrines) or at a pura itself.  The religious artifacts are considered sacred and are usually placed in a holy shrine and worshipped. People do not intentionally damage the artifacts because they believe that the artifacts are a legacy from their ancestors. Living heritage conservation of this type follows the concept of continuity of original function, and relies on a continuing relationship and active participation of the community in preservation of the heritage. Although the community is highly involved in the preservation of Bali’s heritage, living heritage conservation, also has several weaknesses. Conflicts between communities can occur, or between community and heritage management efforts.  However, in the end these disagreements can be resolved through agreements among stakeholders.