Dr. Maryvelma Smith O’Neil was a member of a panel organized by the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) Cultural Heritage Committee (20 October 2022). Selected scholars explored the difficulties surrounding cultural heritage preservation or sites of contested / uneasy heritage.

Among the subjects addressed were: the positions of the international community in the definition and meaning of UNESCO World Heritage status; contemporary nationalism and cultural heritage; engagement with local communities for heritage protection; approaches to heritage in living places; ideological archaeology and contested heritage.

Maryvelma and her colleague, Chandler Collins, a PhD candidate at Bar-Ilan University, offered original interpretations and digital mapping of two highly relevant and largely unknown documents from 1865. Their presentation was entitled: Reprising Two Explorations of Late Ottoman Jerusalem: Benchmarks, Toponyms, and Contested Cultural Memory. The colonial exploration (The Wilson Ordnance Survey) aimed to “measure and divide Jerusalem” while the hand written guide composed by Dr. Carl Sandreczki (Index to the Orthography of Jerusalem) explored an inclusive city “as the local saw it”. He revealed porous boundaries among the mosaic of neighborhoods, rare Arabic epigraphs as well as now lost heritage sites.

Dr. Tim Harrison, who served as moderator, urged both presenters to write a paper covering their subject.