[ View the story "Archaeology at risk" on Storify] Archaeology at risk Preserving cultural heritage under threat.
The Stream· Tue, Sep 01 2015 18:58:31
Since the rise of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), video and images of the group's destruction of ancient temples and artifacts have highlighted the importance of archaeological preservation during times of conflict and war.
On Sunday, ISIL fighters severely
the Temple of Baal in the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World heritage site, in Syria. The destruction of the temple, one of the oldest in the region, comes just one week after fighters set off explosives around the Temple of Baalshamin, another ancient temple in the city of Palmyra. To date, the Syrian Heritage Initiative has
at least 80 instances of destruction of significant cultural sites by ISIL.
The images below show the Temple of Baal before and after the destruction.
metropolitanatlas: Temple of Baal, Palm...emerwenaranel
Conflict in places like Syria, Iraq and Egypt can also lead to an increase in looting. In Syria, ISIL is not the only group that has had a hand in razing ancient cities. Apamea, famous for its ornate ruins, is now
with 15,000 looters’ pits. And in Iraq, archaeologist Amer Abdel Razaq, seen in the video below, says both United States soldiers and the Iraqi government left sites unprotected during the Iraq war.
Looters target Iraq antiquitiesAl Jazeera English
Archaeologists, such as Syrian Amr Al Azm, are finding new ways to preserve their country’s cultural heritage under the threats of war and conflict. Al Azm
an anonymous network of young archaeologists and students from his home in the United States and Turkey to protect artifacts in Syria with tactics such as covering them up with sandbags.
Other groups have utilised satellite imagery and 3D imaging, not only for data collection but also to recreate the destroyed artifacts.
collects 3D recreations of artifacts destroyed either by ISIL or others in the conflict in Iraq. The recreation below depicts a statue of a lion destroyed by ISIL in Mosul.
Mosul lionUse Sketchfab to publish, share and embed interactive 3D files. Discover and download thousands of 3D models from games, cultural heritage, architecture, design and more.
has gone a step further, using 3D printers to physically recreate statues destroyed by ISIL, in a digital series called "Material Speculation:ISIS".
The Stream community discussed the importance of protecting cultural heritage in conflict zones:
@Nuri_ibrahim they should be given very high priority because their history becomes even more important after resolving the conflictABDULLAHI SALMA
Antiquities must be saved! What #ISIS have done in #Palmyra is a crime against humanity. Same with #Taliban & Buddhas of BamiyanRichard Huddleson
While very important, the priority must remain humanitarian aide RT @AJStream: antiquities in a conflict zoneAndrew Levin
@AJStream Perhaps our focus should be on preventing wars and saving lives in the first place. Antiquities should be an afterthought.#Luister
We also asked The Stream community what impact the loss of cultural heritage has on communities:
@AJStream cultural heritage contributes to the formation of one's identity,and helps 2 understand the basis on which communities were formedRida Arif
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream discoveries may settle disputes or provide evidence for suffering or war crimes, so Archaeology is very important.Thistle
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream it's not necessarily our lives, but more so the communities these discoveries belong to, as it reveals their past.Thistle