A two-day workshop on ‘Multimethod Approaches to Heritage in the Crossfire’, organised by UWE Bristol, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Victoria and Albert Museum, was hosted at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 23-24 May.
The event gathered specialists from different disciplines (physical geography, conservation, archaeology, and heritage management agencies) to discuss practical approaches to the conservation of heritage in conflict zones while sharing experiences.
Members of the UK Blue Shield joined the event providing a key contribution to the discussions in the following areas:
- Ms Fionnuala Rogers delivered a comprehensive presentation on the evolution of cultural property law, showing the current trends of the black market. She encouraged all professionals present, in particular archaeologists, to document sites through inventories and images so that looted objects can be easily identified;
- Dr Emma Cunliffe discussed the benefits and challenges related to the use of satellite imagery tools such as Google Earth and ArcGIS and how these can be adopted to assess and record damages to sites, especially when access to them is forbidden due to conflicts;
- Dr Paul Fox gave a talk about the necessity of including cultural property protection in the military agenda. In particular, the drafting of inventories, and the precise localisation of relevant heritage sites are paramount elements that need to be planned far in advance before the start of a conflict. Proactive safeguarding measures can minimise damages if in place.
The workshop, which was well attended, represented a great opportunity for the discussion of cross-cutting projects among disciplines. It received extremely positive feedback and hopefully others will follow soon.