The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) is the government body in Abu Dhabi Emirate in charge of the study, conservation, development and promotion of the tangible and intangible heritage of the Emirate. The DCT is mandated by laws number 2 for 2011 and number 4 for 2016 to protect and manage cultural heritage in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In support of fulfilling this mandate the DCT has initiated the development and implementation of the Abu Dhabi Historic Environment Record system following international best practice.
Historic Environment Records (HER) are an important source of information on archaeology, built heritage, and history of an area. They provide information on a wide variety of buildings and sites, from finds of prehistoric artefacts to more recent historical and cultural locations and structures. HERs are, among others, a primary source of information for planning, development-control work, and land management. HERs contain details on local archaeological sites and finds, historic buildings and historic landscapes and are regularly updated. This information is usually held in a database with a digital mapping system (Geographic Information System). Many HERs maintain three types of record dealing with:
• Monuments (these can define any type of heritage feature, including buildings)
• Events (fieldwork such as excavation or building survey)
• Sources and archives
The development and maintenance of an Historic Environment Record not only ensures the preservation of valuable information but also provides a common repository of a wealth of information that will be accessed primarily by the Historic Environment Department teams and by a variety of stakeholders for different purposes.