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Title: Embedding the remote sensing monitoring of archaeological site damage at the local level: Results from the “Archaeological practice and heritage protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq” project
Today, the satellite-based monitoring of archaeological sites and site damage is a widespread practice, especially in conflict-affected regions. However, the vast majority of these remote sensing cultural heritage monitoring efforts have been led and conducted by remote researchers, and there remains an urgent need to embed this work within existing, in-country institutions at local and regional levels. Here, we present the archaeological site monitoring approach and results from the project Archaeological Practice and Heritage Protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq , a collaborative project between the Sirwan Regional Project and Kurdish Iraqi archaeologists aimed at generating a fully functional and sustainable programme of archaeological site management co-created with, and managed by, Kurdish Iraqi archaeologists and antiquities officials. Between August 2018 and February 2020, 376 archaeological sites in the Sirwan/Upper Diyala River Valley region, located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, were assessed for damage by Kurdish Iraqi archaeologists in collaboration with the Sirwan Regional Project. This work represents the first large-scale, systematic dataset of archaeological site conditions and longer-term damage in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Our results show that 86.7% of the assessed archaeological sites and 38.6% of the site surface area in this region were affected by damage between 1951–2018, and demonstrate the great urgency with which action must be taken to develop appropriate safeguarding measures for the KRI’s archaeological heritage. On the basis of these results, we outline relevant recommendations for the immediate protection of archaeological sites in Garmian and the greater Kurdistan Region.  more » « less
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Asouti, Eleni
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National Science Foundation
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