Damage to Syria’s heritage 20 July 2014


Damage to Syria’s Heritage

20 July 2014

This newsletter provides a summary of the most recent reports on the damage to Syria’s heritage.  It should be stressed that much of this data cannot be verified, but it is hoped that it will assist in the documentation of the damage occurring, and help raise awareness.

Main Contents

New from Heritage for Peace | Updates on Damage | Updates on Looting | Intangible Heritage | Reports and Updates from the Syrian DGAM |Policy Changes and Updates from Syria |International Activity | News Updates


New from Heritage for Peace
Heritage for Peace Site Director’s Survey

Have you filled out our Site Director’s Survey yet?

Heritage for Peace, within the framework of the international co-operation established under the auspices of UNESCO Observatory for the Safeguarding of Syria’s Cultural Heritage, invites archaeologists who prior to 2011 were directing archaeological research projects in Syria, to participate in a brief survey. The survey consists of 10 questions. The aim of the survey is to make a constructive contribution towards rehabilitating Syria’s cultural heritage sites by gathering information about the known status of archaeological sites.

More details, including how the information will be used, and how to access the survey, can be found here.

Updates on Damage
(Photo: Ongoing restoration work at Zahir Baibars Tower. Photo copyright: DGAM)

Photos and report of first phase of restoration work at Crak des Chevaliers

Photos and a detailed report of the restoration work ongoing at the World Heritage site of Crak Des Chevaliers are available on the DGAM website in English here, and in Arabic here.

Additional historic buildings damaged

  • Arabic video with some very clear images of the current state of the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo and the souq (as well as details of the lives of the fighters), available here.
  • Photos of damage to the historic house of Marash in Aleppo, published by Aleppo Archaeology, here.
  • Photos of damage to five unnamed historic houses in Qarliq neighborhood, Old Aleppo.  Photos were taken by Halab Media Centre and shared by Eyes on Heritage here.
  • Photos of damage to unnamed historic houses in Bab al Hadid neighborhood, Old Aleppo.  Photos were taken by Halab News.com and shared by Eyes on Heritage here.
  • Al-Bu Shams Church in Deir ez-Zor has been damaged: photos and the article by the DGAM are available in English here, and in Arabic here.
  • The Association to Protect Syrian Archaeology have released three photos taken by Khaled al-Homsi, of damage to the Temple of Bel at the World Heritage site of Palmyra, available here, together with an accompanying video, available here.
  • In addition, they have released photos of damage to Hammam Othman, in Kafr Takharim, in Idllib.  There has been extensive damage to the roof and domes.  Photos can be seen here and here.

Updates on Looting
(Looting at Tell Arian, Hasseke.  Photo copyright: DGAM)

Photos of looting from the countryside of Hasseke

  • The DGAM have released photographs of some of the looting occurring at Tel Arian in the countryside of Hasseke, available in English here and in Arabic here.
Grave robbing at Dibsi Afnan, Raqqa 

  • The Association to Protect Syrian Archaeology have released a report of the looting of graves at Dibsi Afnan, near Dibsi Faraj, in Raqqa, available here.
Smugglers selling items from a museum in Deir ez-Zor?

  • A German article in Die Welt has reported that smugglers are selling items stolen from a museum a Deir ez-Zor.

    The full article, Kunst bringt Geld – oder sie wird zerstört, is available here.

Intangible Heritage
  • None
Reports and Updates from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums
DGAM Disclaimer

  • The DGAM would like it to be known that they are not associated with the new Facebook page claiming to be by the DGAM’s director.  This page is not official.  (See details here).
Policy Changes and Updates from Syria
  • None
International Activity
(Syrian students conducting restoration. Photo copyright: SANA)

Syrian students restore their heritage

  • The Directorate of Scientific and Restoration Laboratories at the General Directorate of Archaeology and Museums has launched a volunteer project for Damascus University students under the title of “Together We Restore Syria’s Antiquities.”

    The project, which aims at qualifying and training more national staff and involving students of Damascus University in the restoration work, starts on 13th of July and runs through 12th of August.

    The full article is available here.

Museum collection training courses run for Syrians 

  • Extract from press release…

    “Penn Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force, have come together to offer assistance for museum curators, heritage experts, and civilians working to protect cultural heritage inside Syria. A three-day training program, “Emergency Care for Syrian Museum Collections,” focusing on safeguarding high risk collections, was completed in late June; additional training programs are being planned, pending funding. […]About 20 people from several Syrian provinces attended the first training […]The objectives of the workshop were three-fold: to offer information on how to secure museum collections safely during emergencies; to provide participants with basic supplies for packing and securing museum collections, and to begin a dialogue among Syrian participants about emergency responses.”

    The full press by the Penn Museum release is available here.

News Updates

(Not covered in other sections)

Reports and more information on the damage to Syria’s heritage

This mailing list was produced by Dr Emma Cunliffe, in association with Heritage for Peace

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