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Archaeological Sites At Risk To Have Public Database

By Staff Writer | May 02, 2017 08:17 AM EDT

Twenty thousand archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa that are at severe risk due to conflicts and other avenues of destructions will have a public online database. This project aims to raise awareness around the globe and increase interest on archaeological sites enthusiasts and researchers.

The Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA), an archaeological preservation project, was launched yesterday at the first ever Public Archaeology Twitter Conference (#PATC). The conference also had the input from over 30 other leading archaeological projects and academic institutions, according to an article published by Phys.

The people behind the project hopes to ignite and raise awareness about the ongoing problem with the preservation of archaeological sites. It also asks for help to governments, non-government institutions, and other stakeholders in taking care of the heritage of the people from the Middle East and North Africa.

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The database of each archaeological sites will provide information like the level of risk and how these sites relate to one another. It would be accessible to all heritage professionals and people and institutions who are interested and specializing in archaeological heritage in the Middle East and North Africa.

This project on preserving archaeological sites is supported by Arcadia. It is a charitable fund of Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing and the project would be based at the Durham, Leicester, and Universities of Oxford, according to their official website.

The EAMENA was already established last January 2015 as a respond to the increasing threats to the archaeological sites in these regions. They use satellite imagery to record and create available information about these sites that are under threat.

EAMENA's director Robert Bewley said damages in the archaeological sites could not be prevented but the project could help in terms of mitigation. "Not all damage and threats to the archaeology can be prevented, but they can be mitigated through the sharing of information and specialist skills," the professor from the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford has said.

"The archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa is exceptionally rich and diverse, giving insight into some of the earliest and most significant cultures of human history," Bewkey said. He added that for those who are seeking to deliberately damage archaeological sites are attack the cultural heritage in each every one of us.

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