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About the project – University of Copenhagen

Syrian Heritage > About the project

Cultural Heritage in Syria in the current conflict
(Heritage in Syria in Danger)

This website documents endangered and destroyed archaeological sites in Syria. It issues out of the Cultural Heritage Group (CHG) at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS), University of Copenhagen and contains interactive tools showing all types of documentation concerning heritage in Syria under the present conflict.

Denmark in general and researchers at ToRS in particular have a long-standing involvement in Syrian heritage and archeology. Hence ToRS, represented by the “Carsten Niebuhr Center for Multicultural Heritage,” deems it necessary to be pro-active with regard to the heritage issues raised through the present conflict in Syria. The tragedy of the loss of valuable cultural heritage and the extensive looting that took place in Iraq in 2003 as a result of combat are still fresh in our minds. Thus this website is conceived as a contribution to the survival of archaeological sites, monuments and museums in Syria and a reaction to the fears voiced by international bodies such as UNESCO, ICOMOS and other NGOs  in the face of reports of bombardments, looting and other threats to Syria’s heritage.

Danish scholarly contributions to the study of the cultural heritage of the Arabic and Islamic world has been embedded in different projects such as the Arabian Journey of the pioneer historian Carsten Niebuhr in mid-18th century, the Palmyra and Hama expedition in Syria early in the 1930s or the inauguration of the Danish Institute at Damascus in 2005 (Folsach et al. 1996: 121-130).

The website focuses exclusively on collecting data (text, images, videos) related to the current conditions of heritage sites in Syria. It will record and classify the data and make it available for future research and restoration of archaeological remains. The webpage thus aims to maintain awareness of Syrian heritage in Denmark and to mark our active concern about loss of heritage in the world.

All the sources at the website are available for use by all concerned and interested individuals and official and non-official groups. These sources will also provide a foundation for continued scholarly research and for teaching at ToRS.

ToRS and the CHG are not responsible for, and expressly disclaim all liability for damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within the site. While the information contained within the site is periodically updated, no guarantee is given that the information provided on the website is correct, complete, and up-to-date. Although the website may include links providing direct access to other Internet resources, ex. YouTube videos and social media documents such as Facebook images, the webmasters of the webpage are not responsible for the accuracy or content of information contained in these sites. We stress that the website has no political agenda; it focuses solely on the challenges to cultural heritage in Syria in terms of protection and restoration.

The site is coordinated by Nibal Muhesen, post-doc at the “Carsten Niebuhr Center for Multicultural Heritage.”