The very important ancient site of Mari (Tell Hariri) in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, which appears on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has recently seen a pronounced increase in looting under ISIL control. Artifacts stolen from this and other heritage sites are sold to collectors, and the proceeds fund ISIL. On Tuesday, November 11th, imagery was taken of the site of Mari by a Digital Globe satellite which reveals widespread looting. In the hours after the image was taken, the ASOR SHI team analyzed the image to detail in red the extents of visible damage and looting. The areas show a marked increase from the looting seen at the site on an earlier image taken on March 25, 2014.
These images and more details on the analysis made by ASOR’s Syrian Heritage Initiative team will be in the coming Weekly Reports.
The Syrian Heritage Initiative is also holding a symposium in San Diego on November 23, 2014. The Symposium will include two sessions that are open to the general public. Tickets are required for the Luncheon (we are charging less than our cost for the meal), which will feature a keynote presentation on looting in the region—especially the role of the Islamic State in this looting. The afternoon sessions will feature principal team members who will introduce the major aspects of the Syrian Heritage Initiative: cultural heritage communications, satellite remote sensing and mapping, and preservation planning and training. The Panel Discussion (featuring international experts on Syrian heritage) will address the topic of cultural heritage protection in areas of conflict.
The goals of the Symposium are to raise awareness about the challenges facing Syrian cultural heritage preservation and to provide a forum where heritage specialists and the public can engage in discussions about ASOR’s Syrian Heritage Initiative.
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