A battle for heritage in Syria

After three trips to Lebanon to work with our Syrian partners I am now more confident than ever that heritage will always have a sacred place in the middle east. With so much turmoil and exchanges for territory from Isis to the Syrian Government to The rebel groups in Syria, Syrian heritage has been taking a beating. Palmyra, the Roman site that is getting the lions share of media attention is an apt illustration of the conflict. In the last year it has changed hands four times.


Luckily there are amazing groups working to defend and protect these sites. Working with the individuals who are the real boots on the ground has given me a more hopeful perspective. In the four weeks I have spent with them, I have seen an amazing ability to absorb information and work in far less than ideal circumstances. They are true modern day McGuivers.


The team has been split into groups from Damascus, Aleppo, and Idlib. In each of these areas they will be implementing the various reality capture technologies they have learned in my workshops. In Aleppo they are using both aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry to model the sites in preparation for recovery and repair. In Damascus the group is combining Lidar and photogrammetry to support conservation efforts and provide a baseline for preservation should they be damaged.

The team is working through active conflicts, power outages, water shortages, equipment failure and countless obstacles. And it is this tenacity and ingenuity that gives me so much hope for the future of conservation, preservation, and heritage in Syria.

Ross Davison