Working with colleagues from The Day After Heritage Protection Initiative and ATHAR Project, the Arc/k Project and ARTIVE seek to preserve Syrian heritage and protect against illicit trafficking of cultural heritage and artifacts in Syria. In partnership with Syrians living near the museum, the non-profit organization partners will focus their initial efforts on protecting the Ma’arrat al-Nu’man Museum in Idlib, Syria.
In February 2021, the cultural heritage technology organizations submitted a successful letter of interest to the Our World Heritage Moving Forward Global Competition, and have been shortlisted as one of the finalists. Winners will be announced in April 2021.
Together, they seek to engage local communities near the Ma’arrat al-Nu’man Museum to provide training and technical assistance in digital archiving, photogrammetry, and online registrations. Training can be accessed by average Syrians through portable broadband devices and satellite internet. Local stakeholders will learn the technique of photogrammetry to register potentially illicit objects through data capture and transfer. Equipment, hardware and software will be provided to participants, along with online tutorials and 1-on-1 feedback sessions via video conferencing.
ARTIVE’s work intersects with the wider art market, which uses its database as part of due diligence and risk management tools. In conjunction with ARTIVE’s detailed provenance records and machine learning, even pieces, like the coveted mosaic tiles from Syria’s vulnerable Ma’arat Al-Nu’man Museum, can be evaluated if fragments resembling tile sections end up on the market. The data from the digital object registrations could also help archaeologists reconstruct a crime.
“The importance of this partnership is manyfold. As an organization which has always prioritised and sought out collaboration with like-minded non-profits, this partnership is strengthening our vision of a “coming-together of knowledge, resources and missions,” shared Ariane Moser, Chief Operations Officer at ARTIVE.
Both organizations will adapt their databases and technical workflow to accommodate user needs such as literacy, language translation, and security. This is also a great opportunity to join forces on the ground and contribute to learning from the local Syrian community in order to best protect their cultural heritage for generations to come.
Learn more about Arc/k’s work in Syria: https://arck-project.org/initiatives/syria/