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Presenter: Prof. Graham Philip


The high-profile destruction of cultural property by non-state actors in the MENA region in recent years, has highlighted very publicly the risks to which heritage is exposed in conflict zones.  This has put heritage at the centre of a range of international programmes concerned with conflict monitoring, and post-conflict reconstruction, and has highlighted the need for increased resilience within heritage management strategies.   However, for archaeologists deliberate vandalism is simply the tip of a much larger iceberg of risk to heritage, which the publicity arising from sectarian destruction across the Middle East, and in Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa, is allowing to us to address through digital technology.

Heritage organizations in MENA countries are in the front line of these challenges, but are restrained by various factors: budgetary constraints, limited access to technology, reliance upon paper-based documentation, lack of skills among staff, and at times, lack of clear priorities.  The EAMENA project seeks to bypass current obstructions to more systematic management of heritage by taking advantage of synergies arising from a set of recent – and individually quite mundane – developments in digital technology. These include the availability of free high-resolution satellite imagery, open source GIS software, cheap GPS equipment, and the Arches heritage management database.

Graham's talk will outline the background to, the methods of, and the current work of EAMENA with a particular focus on those countries in which Durham is the lead partner - Lebanon and Iraq.  It will offer an interim report on the programme’s activities in building heritage datasets, and the in-country training of local heritage managers, an activity supported by the Cultural Protection Fund of the British Council.

Speaker Biographies:

After a PhD at Edinburgh University Graham spent nine months in Baghdad before moving to Jordan to become Assistant Director of the British Institute for at Amman for Archaeology and History. He was briefly a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology University College, London before taking up a lectureship at Durham in 1994. His research interests fall into three main areas: landscape archaeology, artefact studies, and the attempts to understand nature of early complex societies. All of these themes are explored in the context of my period/region interests which are focused upon the later Prehistory and Bronze Ages of the Middle East. Joining the EAMENA project in October 2016, Prof. Philip assumed responsibility for developing that part of the database relating to Syria. Supported by the Arcadia Fund and based at the Universities of Oxford, Leicester and Durham, EAMENA was established to respond to the increasing threats to archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa. The project uses satellite imagery to rapidly record and make available information about archaeological sites and landscapes which are under threat (http://eamena.arch.ox.ac.uk/).

Overview of Agenda:

Registration and refreshments 18.00 - 18.30 in the bar lounge 

Presentation 18.30 - 20 .00 approx

About the organiser: The *BCS Newcastle Branch  organises this event; find out more about the group at https://www.bcs.org/category/18834

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.

Endangered Archaeology: digital solutions for heritage protection- BCS Newcastle
Date and time
Wednesday 13 February, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Durham University Business School
Mill Hill Lane