The Fifth World Archaeological Congress was held in Washington DC in June 2003.
Partnership was set up with The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History i National Museum of the American Indian, in collaboration with The Getty Conservation Institute.
It was attended by some 1,200 archaeologists from 75 countries. WAC supported the attendance of around 230 participants from Indigenous groups and economically disadvantaged countries.
WAC International Congresses are held every four years. The Congresses offer an extensive range of opportunities for discussion of the results of new arachaeological research. Sessions also focus on contemporary archaeological practice and political matters with opportunities for participants to share strategies of stewardship and develop inclusive policies. Congresses are open to both members and non-members.
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only representative world-wide body of practising archaeologists. WAC seeks to promote interest in the past in all countries, to encourage the development of regionally-based histories and to foster international academic interaction. Its aims are based on the need to recognise the historical and social roles as well as the political context of archaeology, and the need to make archaeological studies relevant to the wider community.
WAC is an international forum for discussion for anyone who is concerned with the study of the past. WAC holds an international Congress every four years to promote: the exchange of results from archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and support of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.
Previous WAC Congresses have been held in England, Venezuela, India, South Africa and the United States. Patrons for these events have included Prince Charles (WAC-1), Nelson Mandela (WAC-4) and Harriet Fulbright (WAC-5).
The academic programme of the fifth World Archaeological Congress was organized around 26 main topics (each of which had several sub-topics), which were discussed daily at the congress in various forms (presentations, discussions, workshops, posters and accompanying discussions, etc.).
- Archeology, Ethics and Human Rights
- Archeology in Digital Age
- Archeology, Teaching and Training
- Art and Symbolism
- Colonialisam, Identity and Social Responsibility
- Empowermwnt and Exploitation:North-South and South-South Archeological Encounters
- Gendered Perspectives
- Global Perspectives in Archeology
- The Heavens Above:Archeoastronomy, Space Heritage and SETI
- The Heritage of War
- Historical Archeology at the Dawn of the 21st Century
- Indigenous Archaeologies
- Indigenous Arrivals and First Peoples
- Interpreting Archeology
- Landscapes, Gerdens and Dreamscapes
- Managing Archeological Resources
- Marketing Heritage
- Moving Images: Films, Video and Archeology
- Of the Past, for the Future:Integrating Archeology and Conservation
- Past Human Environments in Modern Contexts
- Perspectives on Repatriation for a New Century
- Regional Perspectives
- Underwater and Maritime Archeology
- Ways of Remembering History
- Independent Session
In addition to the academic section of the programme of WAC-5, there were displays by some of the participating countries (Albania, Australia, Italy, Cambodia, Hungary) and organizations whose work relates to archaeology: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Visions and the Australian Aboriginal, World Monuments Fund (WMF). In addition, outings were organized for those attending.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was represented at the fifth World Archaeological Congress by the chair of of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, thanks to the support of the World Bank.
A simple glance at the basic topics provides an impression of the World Archaeological Congress and its significance and comprehensiveness, which should enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to play a more active part in the next World Archaeological Congress through the active involvement of experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the various workshops and with appropriate displays and presentations.