International Geologiical Congress - Oslo 2008


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IEA-05 Geology and cultural heritage


Innovative experiences of cultural and environmental mapping along the kasbah road on the Saharan side of the High Atlas (South-eastern Morocco)


Felice Di Gregorio, University of Cagliari (Italy)
Maria Teresa Melis, University of Cagliari (Italy)
Dris Fadli , Université de Rabat (Morocco)
Mohamed Zarhaoui , Université de Rabat (Morocco)
Mohamed Wartiti, Université de Rabat (Morocco)


This study has been carried out on the eastern slopes of the High Atlas chain, on the edge of the Sahara, along the Dadès and the Dra valleys. Settlements are typical fortified towns and houses (kasbah) built by the local populations in sites of particular and strategic interest, to stand up for the raids of the nomads. Kasbah are protected by town-walls and towers and comprise rooms, granaries, shelters for the cattle, mosque and collective spaces all realized in mud. The economy and the social life in this region are still characterized by the strong presence of farmers and shepherds, while, only locally, during the last few years plans of tourist valorisation have been developed in some sites (e.g. Todra and Dadès Valleys, desert). The research Project aims to create innovated examples of thematic cartography on the natural and human landscape and to evaluate the state of conservation of the kasbah and of the meteo-climate and human factors which are cause of their degradation. Their tourist-cultural and geo-tourist valorisation can contribute to refrain the exodus and the abandonment of these extraordinary sites revitalising local economy.
The research focuses on:
- Realization of one or more thematic maps with the localisation, typological classification and the state of conservation of the kasbah examples and their pre-desert and desert landscapes; - Interaction with the local researchers for the exchange of experiences and competences in the field of cultural and environmental assets and to analyze and estimate the landscape in the spirit of the European Convention on Landscape; - Formation of specialists and young researchers by means of stages in Universities of Rabat and Cagliari in order to make them recognise, evaluate and manage the cultural and environmental heritage of their territory; - Elaboration of participation proposals in order to control the degradation phenomena, to evaluate the cultural and environmental heritage, and to sustain inhabitants of the Kasbah Valley socially and economically.
The surveying methodology foresees data acquisition from bibliographical and cartographic sources, the acquisition of the technical and thematic existing cartography and the successive integration through remote sensing and field surveys. The realization of this Project will concur to activate programs able put in value the historic-cultural, the natural and the geological resources, of which the area is particularly endowed. This will allow to strengthen the local identity, to increase the cultural knowledge of the regional community, to promote sustainable management of these territories and to realise initiatives of environmental tourism.
A first inventory of the environmental and geo-touristic heritage of the area will be realised and some test areas will be prepared for sustainable geo-tourist valorisation.


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