Updating report on the status of conservation of Syrian world heritage sites14/08/2016 - عدد القراءات : 5183

The Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums struggling to ensure the protection of archaeological sites, particularly the six sites registered on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, which represents outstanding universal value to humanity.
For each of the six sites there is a short description outlining the conservation status and the protection measures that have been taken by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums recently:

1. Ancient City of Bosra: Following the capture of the city by the army groups on March 25, 2015, The DGAM started directly through the Antiquities of Bosra to communicate with the local community in order to cooperate and support in neutralizing the ancient city from the ongoing events and its effects. The Directorate of Bosra Antiquities (which is still paid a monthly salary by the DGAM) was able to continue working again in the city, emergency intervention and cleaning works in cooperation with the local initiative were taken there. The DGAM is in direct supervision to the intervention done in the city.

Bosra Citadel



2. Ancient City of Damascus:
After the huge fire caused by a short circuit which broke out on April 2016, in the Al-Assroniyah marketplace, causing huge damage to 100 shop and to the building of the Empire Othman Bank. The DGAM staff were able to done rapid damage assessment immediately after fire and Post-fire emergency rehabilitation efforts started by the Technical Services department. A national committee were formed including the Engineering Union, Architecture University, Damascus Governorate, DGAM and interested stakeholders to provide recommendations for a rehabilitation strategy. From the beginning, the Directorate of the old city (Maktab Anbar) started the cleaning works and emergency consolidation.
The DGAM continue to work out in 3D processing and simulation with the computing methods within the walled city in order to provide experts and scientists with accurate documentation, in cooperation with the international and national partners such as ICONEM, the Anqa joint project of ICOMOS, CyArk and Yale University and recently the documenting of old Damascus by a drone in cooperation with Khani Media Company.

The Othman Bank



3. Site of Palmyra:
On March 27, 2016 the Syrian government forces were able to recapture of Palmyra from the Terrorist ISIS. Shortly after the liberating, a group of heritage of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) rushed to the site to assess the damage to the building and the collections.
A conservation survey of the collection and the building was done, as well as a protective measured at the museum to prevent looting. Clean-up, salvage procedures for both the collections and the buildings were done. The DGAM conservators with the help of the Polish team sifted through the debris to gather as much of the broken, destroyed and damaged objects, inventory and documentation to the objects were Carried out and a written record of artifact evacuated activities were made. Documenting the damage and record the status at the museum by using 3D processing was done with ICONEM. DGAM staff were henceforth to stay in the museum round the clock, living conditions were dark, without much electricity or food, under blackout conditions.
For 2 months the staff collecting fragments of sculptures and preparing them for transportation to Damascus for conservation by supporting of the UNESCO World Heritage Center and the Emergency Safeguarding to the Syrian Cultural Heritage project. Recently, the Statue of Al-Lat was transferred from Palmyra Museum in order to be restored in DGAM laboratories in Damascus during the next phase. 3D processing and simulation were done also in several damaged monuments (Temple of Bel, the Arch of Triumph), scientific & analyze studies are prepared with the international partner ICONEM.
The DGAM team finished defining the strategy of the recovery phase of Palmyra and estimated budget was defined. A scientific mission will start working in site soon to restudy the buffer zone and define the protection measures according to the international standards and by support of UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Evacuated activities at Palmyra Museum

4. Ancient Villages of Northern Syria: on May 2015, the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites damaged due to the clashes, the damage appeared in several areas at the church and the pillar of St. Simeon Stylites. The Antiquities team there (which is still paid a monthly salary by the DGAM) monitor the damage regularly and still reporting to the main directorate in Damascus despite that the area is still out of the government control. The team still collaborating with the local community in order to mitigate the damage caused by illegal excavations and using the ancient stones in rebuilding illegal constructions.



5. Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din:
The emergency works continued at Crac des Chevaliers, the document for launching an urgent consolidation project was prepared by the team in order to launch this year. The Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project in UNESCO Beirut office offer fund the project there under the supervision of the national team.
In cooperation with the joint Syro-Hungarian archaeological mission SHAM documentation works started last month for the church and the Hall of Knights at the Crac des Chevaliers.
Qal’at Salah El-Din suffered minor damage last year, fire traces was witnessed in several places, i.e. rooms of the Ayyubid block, reception center. Moreover, wild plants were spread all over the citadel. Most importantly, the structural status of the citadel was still intact.
The staff of DGAM regional office in Latakia was able to assess damages at the citadel, rehabilitation and restoration works were done and the castle was opened again to the public.

6. Ancient City of Aleppo: The National Museum of Aleppo has sustained repeated bombs attacks because of the ongoing clashes, causing serious damage to the building. The main façade of the museum with the sphinx at the entrance of the museum, the construction structure, ceiling, exterior doors, offices and part of outer fence were damaged by the attacks. Most of the collection was evacuated to safe places, in situ measures for protection are continuous for the big statues at the museum garden.
The ancient city of Aleppo has suffered never-ending clashes, assessing the damage is difficult till now to our experts due to the limit access in the ancient city, however damage monitoring is done regularly by Aleppo Antiquities.

Aleppo citadel

Alsultneh  Moske

Finally, it must be noted that, since the start of the crisis the vision of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums has been based to involve all the Syrians, despite their political differences, in the defense of their cultural heritage which embodies their history and shared memories, and gathered them to work together to transfer it to the future generations.

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