||UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program was founded in the 1970s with the aims of conserving biodiversity, fostering research on interactions between humans and their environment, and promoting sustainable development. While MAB focuses primarily on natural heritage, its goals increasingly overlap with those of cultural heritage management.
The MAB program’s educational mission provides a useful framework for archaeologists to conduct public outreach. A major component of the Biosphere concept is making scientific research relevant and useful to the stakeholders who live within and around the Biosphere. Practicing archaeology in the Biosphere can be one way of making archaeological research on past human-environment interactions socially-relevant and beneficial to stakeholders. Potential benefits to archaeologists include a network of scientific research and data on the environment, landscape, and climate provided by MAB’s World Network of Biospheres.
Other UNESCO programs and conventions, such as the World Heritage Convention, have received more attention from archaeologists and cultural heritage specialists, while the MAB program remains relatively unknown. This paper uses the Menorca Biosphere Reserve, amongst other, as case studies for examining how archaeology works in the Biosphere. Is this a useful framework for archaeologists to use? How does practicing archaeology in a Biosphere differ from working at a World Heritage site or in a National Park? This paper will examine the benefits of practicing archaeology in the Biosphere Reserve, both for archaeologists and stakeholders living within the Biosphere.