Damage to Syria’s heritage – 30 July 2018



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

30 July 2018




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. Heritage for Peace have released a statement concerning their stance on data recording, available here.

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Main Contents

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







New from Heritage for Peace




  • None





Updates on Damage



Documentation of damage to the city of Cyrrhus by Idleb Antiquities Centre. Photo Copyright: Idlib Antiquities Centre.

Damage to Cyrrhus archaeological site

Report on abuses and violations at the site of the Prophet Cyrus, or Cyrrhus, in the region of Afrin, prepared by Idleb Antiquities Centre, available via their Google Drive.

The report was compiled as part of tour of archaeological sites of the area to assess the damage.




DGAM visit Bosra

A team from the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums visited the ancient city of Bosra to inspect the damage reported over recent weeks. The inspection included the buildings, the illegal excavations, and the museum in the citadel to assess thefts. Discussions also included the necessary steps for the consolidation steps necessary as a precursor to possible restoration. Details of the visit and photos are available on the DGAM website.






Updates on Looting




  • None





Intangible Heritage




  • None





Reports and Updates from the Syrian People




Syrian restoration efforts continue 
  • A new report has been posted on the restoration process of the Palmyrene artefacts at the laboratories of the Syrian DGAM in Damascus. This video here shows the restoration process of the Palmyrene objects by the DGAM.
  • The restoration of the Museum of Raqqa is underway. Shufi Mafi Station reported the restoration of the Raqqa Museum by the NGO Roia. The work will continue for 2 months in the museum, as is explained here.
  • Syrian museum workers are also consulting with specialists from the Pushkin museum in Moscow on the restoration of statues from Palmyra.
    Learn more on the Art Newspaper website here.




Workshop on saving Syrian cultural heritage for future generations

Under the patronage of the Minister of Culture, Mr. Mohamed Al-Ahmad, the International Symposium entitled “Saving the Syrian Heritage for Future Generations” was organized in cooperation between the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, the United Nations Development Office in Syria and the Kashihara Archaeological Institute in Japan. Details of the event are available on the DGAM’s website.




Archive documents Damascus International Fair  

The special archive owned by researcher Imad al-Armashi is rich in pictures and rare information about the Damascus International Fair’s social, cultural and economic activities. Read more on SANA here.




Syrian art spreads cultural awareness   

Recent art events in Syria, including the 4th Sand Sculpture Forum “Ugaro 2018″, emphasized the need for fine arts to disseminate cultural awareness and revitalized tourism in Syria. Read more on the Syria Times here.




Syrians return to traditional summer recreation    

Al Monitor reports that Aleppans are returning to the traditional summer recreation areas in the Afrin area, including visiting archaeological sites.
Read more on Al Monitor here.





Policy Changes and Updates from Syria




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International Activity




Capacities of World Heritage Professionals in Arab Region Programme 

The Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), in collaboration with ICCROM, are organizing a Capacity Building program for World Heritage Professionals in the Arab Region. Applications open through August 31.
More information is available on the UNESCO website here.




Interpol’s Stolen Works of Art Database enhanced 

Interpol, in cooperation with the Italian Carabinieri’s cultural heritage unit, has launched an enhanced version of its Stolen Works of Art database, improving data gathering and speeding up recoveries. View more on the Interpol website here.




Russia  offers to help refugees, highlighting the plight of Syrian Christians 

  • Russia is looking to returning Syrian Christians home. Al Monitor argues that Russia and the West are already coordinating their efforts to return refugees home and even to start the reconstruction process, with Russian organizations such as the Russian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholics focusing on restoring Christian churches and monasteries across the country. Read more on Al Monitor here.
  • Russia has created a center for sorting and resettling refugees who fled abroad, as well as people displaced within Syria. Learn more on Yahoo here.




Job open in Berlin’s “Syrian Heritage Initiative” 

The Syrian Heritage Initiative is seeking a curator- researcher to work on the interactive heritage map of Syria with the Museum für Islamische Kunst der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Closes 1 August.
Learn more and apply on the Preussischer-Kulturbesitz website here (German).




New articles  

Speakers Dr Jennie Bradbury and Dr Philip Proudfoot presented at the British Academy on Syrian uprising as agrarian revolt and its effect on archaeology. Read their article “Was the 2011 Syrian uprising an agrarian revolt?” in the British Academy’s Review here and listen to a podcast here where they describe their research.

Also available is the article: “The Digital Library of the Middle East and Implementing International Cultural Heritage Preservation Policy” by Peter Herdrich.
Abstract: “This article reviews the origins and goals of the Digital Library of the Middle East and discusses how the DLME and other digital library projects implement international cultural heritage preservation policy.”
Read it on KULA online here.




Syria traditions celebrated in Brooklyn  

The Bay Ridge Arab-American Bazaar in Brooklyn celebrated Arab-American heritage with traditional food, outfits and music from Syria and other countries.
Read more on the Brooklyn Reporter website here.




Lectures on Syrian heritage destruction   

  • SAVE Britain’s Heritage is hosting a lecture by the historian, writer, and presenter, Dan Cruickshank, entitled ‘Resurrection Architecture: the Death and Life of Palmyra.’ 15 October 2018, 6-8:30pm. St Mary Abchurch, London.
    More information on the SAVE Britain’s Heritage website here.
  • Combating Cultural Destruction: A Talk with the Carabinieri
    Public. 1 August: 10am-11.30am. Hosted by Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and The Antiquities Coalition, Freer Gallery of Art, Meyer Auditorium 1050 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20560.
    Event page here.
  • Dawn Chatty, former CBRL Honorary Secretary and author of ‘Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State’ and Diana Darke, author of ‘The Merchant of Syria: A History of Survival’ will each give a presentation on their recent books. 12 October 2018, British Academy, London.
    Learn more on the Council for British Research in the Levant website here.





News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)




  • UNESCO shared a video on Facebook here of the restored Lion of of Al Lāt.
  • Progrss here talked with Barry Threw, the head of the #NEWPALMYRA initiative, about how he is working to document and keep the memory of Palmyra alive by digitally reconstructing the city.
  • Harpers Bazaar here interviews Syrian Artist Thaier Helal about how his art represents his homeland and heritage.
  • Blouin Art Info here reports on the ongoing Getty Villa exhibit, “Palmyra: Loss and Remembrance,” which showcases funerary portraits from Palmyra.
  • United Nations Development Program representative Akiko Suzaki said that protecting and saving the Syrian heritage is an international responsibility.
    More information is available on SAN here.





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