In 2006 preliminary plans were made public showing that Gazprom intended to construct a pipeline through the Altai republic (Russia, south-west Siberia). Unfortunately, there was almost no attention to integrating the conservation of cultural heritage (both archaeological and landscape) into the planning of the pipeline, though the Altai is well-known for its rich cultural heritage. Hitherto, no assessment has been made of the potential impact of the project, nor did Gazprom release detailed information about the exact course of the route. The present article aims to illustrate the potential impact of the pipeline based on a detailed study of a small segment of the route, using remote sensing images and data gathered during fieldwork. This assessment underlines the need for a well-thought-out strategy, which is required if sustainable integration of heritage conservation into the construction plan is to be realized. If such a balance is not found, thousands of archaeological monuments could disappear, which would result in a huge cultural and scientific loss. As a possible solution, an integrative strategy founded on a desk-based study of remote sensing images and a well-directed field survey is suggested.
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