1. Mankind's heritage of culture extends back to 'Lucy', the East African earliest ancestor of humans, and thereby covers the anthropology if not the archaeology of several million years. The culture heritage is diverse. It includes monuments and artefacts in all their range; it is the technology of primitive fire and weapon making, up to today's computers and scientific wonders; it is language and literature, behaviour, mines, and civilization. It is the human spirit. It is all these, but it is perishable. The material cultural heritage is breaking up, eroding, crumbling. The immaterial is perpetually changing and what went before goes unrecorded. Cultural objects are traded in for cash value with little regard for preservation, and laws for preservation and cultural documentation are inadequate.
2. There is a tragic dilemma confronting indigenous peoples: "either to preserve traditional beliefs and structures and reject social progress; or to embrace foreign technology and foreign culture, and reject ancestral traditions with their wealth of humanism" (Pope Paul VI, encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967)).