Sample of documentation forms, used in European standard!
Several international and Syrian national initiatives and institutions are collecting reports and materials on damage to cultural heritage. These include the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), UNESCO, the Syrian the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA, Strasbourg), the American Schools of Oriental Research – Cultural Heritage Initiatives (ASOR, Boston), Shirin (EU), and others.
In addition, there are existing databases of archaeological sites in Syria maintained by DGAM, the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), and individual archaeological missions, which are currently becoming more and more interoperable based on international standards of data exchange.
Though these individual approaches have proven fruitful and productive, several problems have emerged, such as:
These problems result in duplication of effort and make it much more difficult to inform the international heritage community regarding the latest developments in Syria, to prioritise first aid interventions, and to implement conservation programs when the conflict subsides.
The Syrian Heritage Archive Project in collaboration with Heritage for Peace will address these issues by creating a collaborative, web-based platform that is accessible to everyone working to document and assess damage to cultural heritage in Syria, including experts, institutions, NGOs, and activists on the ground.
The application is specifically designed to provide an easy-to-use platform for volunteer heritage professionals and heritage authorities to:
Using commonly available technologies such as smartphones and tablets. The application will also provide recommendations based on the damage assessment to carry out basic first-aid operations in situ.
Collecting collaborative, verified, and comprehensive information will also build a basis for decision-making on safeguarding or first aid measurement projects. This improved information base will make a prioritisation for on-site documentation projects possible. Not to mention that a unified methodology in documentation will ease the management for further projects of renovation and reconstruction of Syrian heritage, both during and after the conflict.