Archaeology Magazine

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Damage to Syria’s Archaeological Sites Seen From Space

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Satellite images have allowed scholars to monitor archaeological sites in Syria during the ongoing civil war there. Jesse Casana of the University of Arkansas and the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Damascus Committee has identified moderate to severe war-related damage and looting at ten of the 30 sites that he analyzed. (It is known that six of the sites that showed no damage from space have well-documented war-related damage, however.) He reported his findings at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, and estimated that as many as half of Syria’s archaeological sites are badly damaged, including the Roman city of Apamea, where a military garrison has taken over a tourist restaurant and more than 4,000 holes have been dug with heavy equipment by treasure hunters.