In DepthArchaeology

Satellites track heritage loss across Syria and Iraq

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Science  05 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6214, pp. 1162-1163
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6214.1162

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Shut out of a region plagued with competing armies, humanitarian crises, and hostile ideologies, archaeologists have largely been distant and anguished bystanders to the wave of ruin afflicting ancient sites in Syria and northern Iraq. This part of the Fertile Crescent has been a battleground fought over by the Syrian government and opposition groups, the radical Islamists of the Islamic State group, and their various opponents including Iraqi, Kurdish, and U.S. forces. By tracking the damage using satellites and on-the-ground intelligence, researchers hope they can help raise a global outcry and lay the foundation for salvage and reconstruction when the wars end. They described their efforts at a special meeting on the crisis in San Diego, California, last month.

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