Webinar on the Economic Benefits of Cultural Heritage

  February, 14, 2017 - Dr. Tobin Hartnell and the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE) at AUIS, facilitated a webinar by Dr. Edward Salo, a professor at Arkansas State University, on the economic benefits of cultural heritage. The event was attended by AUIS students and a few guests from the University of Sulaimani. Dr. Salo talked about the importance of  using historic preservation as a way to help create communities and to encourage economic development, which as he explained is “not just about saving pretty buildings”. He started by explaining what historic preservation can do,“It can give us roots, enhance community pride, teach and inspire us, make communities more attractive and encourage travel and tourism.” He presented an interesting linkage between the past and future and how crucial historic preservation has been in unveiling the history of minorities in the United States. Dr. Salo also expressed his interest in the historic sites in Iraq, and mentioned how historic places are used in the United States and what they bring to their communities, “ They are used to create a basis for heritage tourism and that way they can enhance the economy and identity of communities,” he explained.  Photos contributed by Sara Aso. News contributed by Bana Aso.

Protecting the Past: Towards a Better Future with Cultural Heritage

Press Release Sunday, Oct 31, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq: The first day of the international conference,  “Protecting the Past: Towards a Better Future with Cultural Heritage”, commenced this morning at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), with opening speeches by Mala Awat and Qais Hussain Rasheed from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi State Board of Antiquities respectively. The conference, jointly organized by the AUIS Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE), the University of Oxford Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) project, and the University of Sulaimani, aims to draw upon the experience of projects and approaches that have been successful throughout the wider Middle East in protecting local heritage. In his keynote speech, Robert Bewley, director of EAMENA, discussed future strategies for the project with specific reference to Iraq. Other speakers discussed the impact of similar projects, such as the ASOR and SHIRIN initiatives, to safeguard the cultural heritage in the region as well as the #CultureUnderAttack project by Washington based Antiquities Coalition. Local officials and practitioners discussed their own experiences of challenges facing cultural heritage in Iraq and practical approaches by the international community that can make the greatest difference on the ground.   On the second day, the panels will discuss new approaches as well as local capacity building efforts. Part of the day will focus on destruction of heritage in Mosul, culminating in an open session discussing the future of Mosul by displaced archaeologists. This conference has been made possible with the generous support of our partners, including the European Union Delegation to Iraq, The Barakat Trust, and The Gerald Averay Wainwright Averay Fund.   More information on the conference, speakers and the program can be found at Follow us on Facebook @auisofficial and on Twitter @auis_news for latest updates, photos, videos and podcasts from the event.   For media enquiries or interview requests, please contact Mehr Zahra, director of communications, at or +964(772)339-9305.

Protecting the Past: Towards a Better Future with Cultural Heritage

"The heritage of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan is of international importance: the region contains thousands of documented and un-documented archaeological sites. Whilst current international attention is focused on conflict damage, Iraq’s heritage is at risk from multiple threats including looting, dam inundation, development, and expanding agriculture. Each year, survey teams discover and record previously unknown sites, both on the ground and using satellite imagery. Many of them are already damaged or threatened," AUIS Professor Tobin Hartnell, Dr. Emma Cunliffe and Dr. Jennie Bradbury from the University of Oxford's EAMENA project on the threats to the cultural heritage of Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan. Read full article. 

Revolutions in Prehistory Symposium

The (R)evolutions in Prehistory Symposium will be a discussion held by three international archeologists including Prof. Olivier Neuwenhuyse (Leiden), Maria Bianca (Frei Universitat Berlin), and Takahiro Odaka (Japan). The topics discussed will be: (R)evolutions in the economy  (R)evolutions in politics (R)evolutions in climate The focus of the symposium will be Northern Iraq and the greater Kurdish region.

Protecting the Past: Towards a Better Future with Cultural Heritage

Read more about the conference here.  The conference is jointly organized by the AUIS Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE) and the University of Oxford Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) Project, in association with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sulaimani, and in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Iraq.  The conference will bring together Iraqi and international specialists to explore the range of threats impacting upon the cultural heritage of Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and the wider Middle East and North Africa and will draw upon the experience of projects and approaches that have been successful throughout the region as a way to explore possible solutions for the future. By encouraging debate and discussion between different groups, we aim to enhance regional understandings and develop long-lasting partnership.  This conference is unique in offering a two-day training workshop before the conference for interested cultural heritage professionals. These work shops will be conducted by Oxford’s EAMENA, which has designed a ready-made cultural heritage management platform that can help local professionals access records about their cultural heritage when making planning and development decisions. These type of information can help mitigate or prevent some of the damage caused by modern development projects and prepare future generations to assess and promote heritage for its economic and social benefits. We are pleased to acknowledge the invaluable support provided to us by a number of institutions and funding bodies without whom this initiative could not have been organised. Our partners are listed below:                    The Delegation represents the European Union in Iraq and, as a diplomatic mission, works closely with the 13 Member State Embassies that are represented in Baghdad as well as their Missions in Erbil, Kurdistan Region. The Delegation is the permanent and principal interlocutor of the EU vis-à-vis local authorities, the international community and all other stakeholders for all matters related to EU external action. Acting in close cooperation with all EU Member State diplomatic missions, the Delegation strives to ensure the unity, consistency and effectiveness of EU external action in Iraq. It ensures the follow-up of bilateral relations in the political, economic, trade, energy and development areas. The Barakat Trust supports the study and preservation of Islamic heritage, architecture, archaeology, art and culture by funding students, academic research, publications, digitisation, conservation, conferences and other projects.   The Gerald Averay Wainwright Fund for Near Eastern Archaeology, we would like to extend our thanks to the Gerald Averay Wainwright Fund for Near Eastern Archaeology for a grant providing financial support for this event. Please visit the conference website to view the program and list of speakers.  

AUIS to Use Drone Technology for Archaeological Mapping in Kurdistan

April 20, 2016 - Sulaimani, KRG-Iraq - Earlier today, the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) demonstrated the first official flight of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), aka drone, over the AUIS campus for students, staff and faculty members. The flight was demonstrated by Dr. Tobin Hartnell, assistant professor and director of the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE), and Mohammed Anwer, an IT student who will be piloting the drone for the Social Sciences department’s projects. This marks another successful milestone for AUIS in its endeavors towards using modern technology for research and academic activities. Late last year, Azzam Alwash, senior board member at AUIS and founder of Nature Iraq, donated a DJI Phantom 3 Professional, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), to the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage at AUIS. This remote controlled multicopter (a miniature helicopter with 4 rotor blades) is coordinated from the ground using an iPhone or iPad and a controller. The helicopter can shoot high-definition photography and very-high definition video (4K) of any place from the air and has a maximum flight time of roughly 15 minutes. Dr. Hartnell has been trialing potential uses of this technology to create 3D models of the landscape at Betsansur, the oldest known village in Iraq, with the permission of Dr. Roger Matthews, head of Archaeology department at the University of Reading who is working at the archaeological site. Commenting on the trials, Dr. Matthews said, "Thank you for the amazing images and video so far. They give a totally new perspective on the site and its surroundings. We look forward to seeing more." “In the future, we will use the technology to create models of landscapes and historic buildings; with some modifications, it can see in other light spectrums such as infra-red and potentially see buried remains up close,” says Dr. Hartnell. “We want to thank the Governor of Sulaimani Province, Aso Fereydun, and the Director of the Sulaimani Airport, Tahir A. Qadir, for creating a way for us to fly the drone safely. Thank you to everyone at AUIS who helped make this possible,” he added. About the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage: The AUIS Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE) advances a scientific understanding of the past through remote sensing, geophysics, and traditional archaeological investigations. The Center also promotes training, discussion and dissemination of knowledge about archaeology and cultural heritage in Iraq and the Kurdistan region as a safeguard against indiscriminate destruction by groups such as ISIS. CACHE was launched in 2015 as part of the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS).  The Center has a strong track-record of bringing together scholars, policy makers, and cultural professionals from all over Iraq, Kurdistan Region, Europe and the United States. The center hosts regional and international experts at AUIS for workshops on art history, archaeology, and cultural issues related to Iraq and Kurdistan region. CACHE hosts an annual cultural heritage symposium where local, regional, and international experts gather to discuss challenges and solutions to preserving and promoting the region's cultural heritage. Starting in the summer of 2015, CACHE also began archaeological investigations at ancient sites near Sulaimani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Photos taken by Wud Salaam, student volunteer at the AUIS communications office.


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