Dr. Tobin Hartnell Discusses Destruction of Nimrud on PBS NewsHour

Dr. Tobin Hartnell, AUIS professor and director of the Center of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE), discusses the destruction of the ancient site of Nimrud in Northern Iraq, with PBS NewsHour's Marcia Briggs and Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih.  The ISIS campaign of terror, murder and conquest has been well-documented, but the group has also used its particular interpretation of Islam to justify the destruction of historical treasures in what is known as the Fertile Crescent, the area in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where the earliest recorded civilizations began. From the ancient ruins of Nimrud in Northern Iraq, special correspondent Marcia Biggs reports. 

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.

Podcast: Protecting the Past

  A 2-day conference on October 30th and 31st brought together national and international experts to explore new approaches to monitor, protect and preserve the cultural heritage of all Iraq. The conference, Protecting the Past: Towards a Better Future with Cultural Heritage, 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, drew upon the experience of projects and approaches that have been successful throughout the wider Middle East in protecting local cultural heritage. The podcasts from the conference are now available online. Please click on individual talks in the program below or visit our podcast channel to listen to the conference speakers. Kurdish and Arabic translations of podcasts are available, where indicated next to each talk. The podcasts have been produced by EAMENA, and are also available on the Protecting the Past and the University of Oxford websites.  Sunday, 30 October: Towards a better future with cultural heritage in the MENA region  Protecting the Past in Iraq: Challenges and Needs Keynote: Robert Bewley (Director, EAMENA) - Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (کوردی) May Shaer (UNESCO – Iraq) - Safeguarding Iraq's Cultural Heritage: An Overview of UNESCO's Activities (کوردی | عربى) Abdelamir al-Hamdani (State Board of Antiquities and Heritage) - Digitizing the Past: A New Digital Atlas and Database of the Archaeological sites in Iraq (کوردی | عربى) Iraq in the MENA Region: New Initiatives and Approaches (Part I) Graham Philip (SHIRIN & Durham University) The Shirin Project: the development of tools to support collective action in heritage protection and damage mitigation  (کوردی | عربى) Allison Cuneo (ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives) - Monitoring, Protecting, and Preserving Cultural Heritage: Recent Results of the ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives  (کوردی | عربى) Kozad Ahmad (University of Sulaimani) - The Types of Danger to the Cultural Heritage of the Middle East (کوردی | عربى) Abdullah Khorsheed (IICAH) - Archaeological Conservation Programs at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and heritage Katie A. Paul (Antiquities Coalition) - Culture Under Threat: Developing and Implementing Solutions to Cultural Racketeering and Terrorist Financing (عربى) Monday, 31st October: Safeguarding heritage in Iraq Iraq in the MENA region: New Initatives and Initiatives (Part II) John MacGinnis (Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Project, British Museum) - The British Museum’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme (کوردی) Roger Matthews (RASHID, University of Reading) - RASHID International: Formulating a Future for Iraq's Past (کوردی) Bijan Rouhani (AMAL Project, ICOMOS) - AMAL in Heritage: A cultural emergency management tool for MENA region (کوردی | عربى) Cultural Heritage and Capacity Building in Conflict Zones Layla Salih (State Board of Antiquities and Heritage) - The Destroyed Heritage in Mosul - reality and challenges (کوردی | عربى) Tobin Hartnell (AUIS) - Capacity Building for Cultural Heritage in the KRG (کوردی | عربى) Didier Bouakaze-Khan (METU, Ankara) - Archaeological Heritage in Conflict Zones  Protecting the Past in the Face of Development: Defining Goals and Expectations Ricardo Cabral (Kani Shaie Archaeology Project, Universidade de Coimbra) - Using Digital Technologies to Document the Endangered Archaeological Heritage of the Bazyan Basin in Slemani Emma Cunliffe (EAMENA, Oxford) - Site Destruction in the Iraqi Jazirah: a satellite imagery assessment Saman Ahmad (Kurdistan Botanical Foundation) - The status of Flora of Kurdistan region, Iraq (کوردی | عربى) Narmen Ali Muhamadameen (Salahaddin University) - The Citadel of Kirkuk: Reconnaissance and Assessment of Its Archaeological Heritage (کوردی | عربى)

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 First Official Drone Flight

Please come out to see the first official flight of our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (aka drone) at AUIS!   We will launch in front of Building A at 4 PM on Wednesday, 20th.   We encourage you to be a part of it by being outside or in the courtyard for the launch.   Last year, AUIS board member Azzam Alwash 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. Tobin Hartnell, director CACHE, has been trialing potential uses of this technology to create 3D models of the landscape at Betsansur, the oldest known village in Iraq. In the future, the Center hopes to use the technology to create models of archaeological landscapes and historic buildings.   Read the story and view photos and video from the event.     

The Origins of Civilization in the Kurdish Highlands

  In the last five years, there have been a tremendous amount of new discoveries relating to the earliest history of the Kurdish highlands. This symposium will bring together scholars from the US, Portugal, Belgium, and Kurdistan to talk about the earliest civilizations in the region. Highlights include Dr. Hashim Hama Abdulllah, director of Sulaimani Museum, who will present the newly discovered Gilgamesh tablet;  Dr. Kozad Ahmed (University of Sulaimani) will discuss the earliest historical evidence for states in the region, whilst Steve Renette (University of Pennsylvania) and Andre Tome (Universadad de Coimbra, Portugal) will talk about evidence for social complexity in prehistory. Please join us at 3:30 for a short reception, where you can meet the speakers informally, before the symposium begins at 4:00 PM.   The event is hosted by the AUIS Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE).     The event is open to the AUIS community. Outside guests can attend by invitation only.   
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