Protecting cultural heritage by promoting community welfare in the Syrian conflict

Author(s): Brian Daniels

Year: 2016


The recent conflict in Syria and Iraq has upended all aspects of aspects of daily life. There are now over 250,000 dead, and millions have been displaced. Famous heritage sites embedded within the region’s cultural landscape have been damaged or destroyed. In the face of such human tragedy, what can archaeologists do? This paper discusses the efforts of the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq (SHOSI) Project, which are aimed at both alleviating human suffering and protecting heritage sites. Here, I focus on the SHOSI Project’s recent humanitarian outreach at the archaeological parks composing the Ancient Cities of Northern Syria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Internally-displaced Syrians have taken refuge among the surviving architectural remains of these parks but often lack basic provisions. There is a sense among these refugees that the archaeological parks have offered real protection; they therefore express an obligation to protect the monuments for the future. By coordinating with other humanitarian NGOs, the SHOSI Project has sought to assist these refugees while enlisting them in emergency conservation actions. I suggest that this is one case study in which the attention of the international archaeological community has contributed to the social welfare of Syrians directly.

Cite this Record

Protecting cultural heritage by promoting community welfare in the Syrian conflict. Brian Daniels. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403217)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;