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Consell joins SOS Patrimoni push to help pinpoint and protect underwater archaeological heritage

foto 2020 SOS PatrimonioThe Formentera Department of Patrimony reports that Formentera has added its name to an initiative promoting efforts to locate, document and safeguard underwater artefacts of archaeological heritage. Accordingly, informational material has been printed in a bid to spotlight features of such fragile cultural legacy, the pillaging it has long been subject to, and the need for local collaboration in enhancing what we know about these repositories of our shared history and steps to protect them.

Patrimony consellera Raquel Guasch noted that the campaign, known as SOS Patrimoni, was mainly intended for dive centres, fishermen and other groups whose connection to the sea means they are more likely to know where submerged archaeological artefacts lie or to stumble upon them over the course of their work.

“Leave items where you find them”
The patrimony chief emphasised the importance of leaving artefacts where they are found: “For archaeologists, crucial historical insight is lost when objects are taken out of their context. Preservation is moreover rendered extremely difficult when objects are removed from the water”.

Because questions of cultural heritage fall within the remit of local island authorities, individuals who come across underwater archaeological artefacts are asked to contact the Consell de Formentera by calling 971 32 12 75 or by emailing patrimoni@conselldeformentera.cat.

Architects of the current campaign have kept the look and objectives of previous SOS Patrimoni iterations that were overseen by other government institutions and centres such as the Catalonia Centre for Subaquatic Archaeology, the National Museum of Subaquatic Archaeology and the Consell Insular de Mallorca.

The island’s adhesion to the campaign is linked to the plan to prepare a map of undersea archaeological features, a project that was launched in 2015 by the Balearic Institute of Studies in Maritime Archaeology and one which is due to conclude after its most recent initiative.

29 July 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell tenders out creation of Formentera’s first catalogue of roads

foto 2020 cataleg de caminsThe Formentera heritage office reports that bidding has opened for the contract to complete a registry of island roads. Local decision makers voted in plenary in January to prioritise preparation of a catalogue covering some three hundred local roads as part of Formentera’s Pla Insular de Gestió del Patrimoni Cultural (Cultural Heritage Management Plan) for 2020 and 2021. The contract is valued at €170,000 (VAT not included) and the selected firm will have three years to produce the catalogue.

Patrimony consellera Raquel Guasch said the call for bids was “an important step in the creation of the first catalogue of island roads—essential to understanding local history”. “The finished product will contain both technical descriptions of local roads and insight into anthropological, cultural and heritage aspects to enhance the strength and value of the catalogue. According to the terms of the invitation to tender, the enterprise must be piloted by a five-person interdisciplinary team including a cultural anthropologist, two historians, a topographer and a legal expert.

Guasch said limited human resources were to blame when an earlier agreement between local government and Obra Cultural Balear failed to take wing in 2012. Information collected at that time about the location, description and historical interest of roads in Porto-salè, La Miranda, Cala Saona and Es Cap de Barbaria will be incorporated into the present undertaking, the consellera said.

In addition to descriptive insight and valuations related to sites’ appeal as monuments of heritage, the document will look at other aspects such as ownership and legal claims. Guasch insisted the endeavour would be both time- and labour-intensive, and impossible for the Consell to undertake with internal resources.

Work will require review of documental archives, creation of a database and web-based viewing programme and drafting of archival reports, not to mention interviewing local residents and building an individualised file index.

6 July 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell opens up €250,000 in subsidies for cultural heritage in 2020

foto 2020 pedra seca2The Formentera Department of Heritage reports that a call for applications posted yesterday to the BOIB (Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands) outlines subsidies for work involving cultural heritage sites, rehabilitations of drystone walls and projects to bury telephone and other utility cables around Formentera. A total of a quarter of a million euros is available, and the deadline on applications is 31 July. Qualifying projects may have building permits dating as far back as 1 January 2019.

Department chieft Raquel Guasch encouraged eligible islanders to apply for what she described as a “sizeable economic injection to optimise conservation, preservation and elevation of local heritage and, essentially, the things that set us apart as an island”.

Guasch said the assistance was about showing the people of Formentera that local government “supports them in conservation and restoration”. “We want islanders to see the value in showcasing cultural heritage”, she continued, “and to know that they share responsibility for protecting these kinds of sites”.

Cultural heritage sites
With an underlying focus on improving and enriching elements of cultural heritage, the offer proposes help for restoration, conservation, consolidation and rehabilitation, or for work on sites with recognised heritage value (BICs), places of special interest (béns catalogats) or entries in Formentera’s inventory of cultural heritage.

Payouts shall depend on the nature of the protection and action proposed, covering as much as 90% of projected costs, or €50,000, for BICs; 60% of costs under €30,000 for sites with grade B protection; 50% of costs under €25,000 for sites with C protection, or 40% of costs under €15,000 for sites on the cultural heritage inventory.

Restoring drystone walls
Economic assistance for drystone wall rehabilitation applies to repairs performed with traditional materials and techniques, or projects where concrete blocks or other less than apt materials are replaced with traditional drystone walls. Subsidies range from €27 to €90 per metre and vary based on factors like a wall’s location and particular characteristics.

Undergrounding overhead cables
On offer for islanders who bury existing overhead cables, whether telephone lines, medium voltage electrical cables, near sub-stations, from low-voltage distribution systems or individual branches, subsidies cover €45 per metre up to €60,000, under 60% of budgeted costs.

Applications should be sent to the Citizen Information Office (OAC, carrer Ramon Llull, nº6) or Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC, ovac.conselldeformentera.cat).

7 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Historical study at new Sant Francesc cemetery to deal with remembering democratic past

foto visita 2020 isabel castroEarlier today, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer met at the seat of local government with Isabel Castro, head of the Balearic Department of Public Administrations and Modernisation, as well as Formentera cabinet members like the consellera of patrimony, Raquel Guasch, head of interior Josep Marí, chief of new technologies and citizen participation Vanessa Parellada and Marc Herrera, head of the democratic memory division of the Govern balear.

Ms Castro used the meeting to provide an overview of the government’s plan for 2019-2020 concerning mass graves. Part of the plan involves a historical study on the more recent of two cemeteries in Sant Francesc. The goal is twofold: first to determine whether the cemetery has ever held remains of individuals killed during the Spanish Civil War, and second, if those remains are still there, or if the site has been altered.

According to Minister Castro, such a study will be “crucial in determining whether future work is to happen on site. We know there are families who are looking for ancestors and this site could potentially hold the key. The study could help us determine the location of future disinterments or help us avoid wild-goose chases.”

For her part, President Ferrer welcomed the progress made “restoring dignity to the story of our democracy” and said she was glad to see disinterments on the island were moving forward. Consellera Guasch insisted that the regional minister’s visit underscored “the will to work together so we can begin the task of awarding reparations to victims of Franco’s regime”.

Other issues
Consellera Parellada spoke to Castro about issues on the island that require attention —emerging technology, for instance, as well as Wi-Fi coverage and the Consell de Formentera’s online catalogue of services— not to mention about questions relative to citizen participation.

Conseller Marí said the Balearic School of Public Administration owed Formentera police and firefighters more opportunities in training, courses and professional retraining, and called the extension across the island of the energy network “essential”. Attendees also spoke about the possibility of a new, locally stationed “mobility agent”.

11 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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