Arcadia awards £3.3m for continuation of the EAMENA project

The School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, in partnership with the Department of Archaeology, Durham University, and the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester are very pleased to announce a new grant of £3.3m from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin The five-year grant (2020–2024) will support the continuation of the EAMENA project.

The EAMENA project is dedicated to recording and helping to protect cultural heritage sites in the Middle East and North Africa, threatened by conflict and looting but also urbanization, agricultural development and industries such as mining.

Launched in 2015 with Arcadia’s support, the EAMENA project uses satellite imagery and on-the-ground documentation to record the most endangered archaeological sites. So far, it has created more than 300,000 records, published through an online database which allows to monitor sites under immediate threat. These records are available on an open access basis

Working with local partners, the project has built datasets for Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Yemen; the last three of these countries use the database as the foundation for their National Heritage Inventories. The dataset for Syria will support eventual post-conflict reconstruction. New partnerships will include working with the government of Afghanistan to create a national heritage database, and with the Georgian National Museum to digitize and host a currently inaccessible archive of historic aerial imagery.

The new grant will support additional documentation work and development, including: training for local partners on recording and monitoring methodologies; using new technology for site recognition and change detection; assessing the impact of climate change on heritage; and linking evidence of antiquities looting and trafficking to field data to support heritage protection policy.