New Aerial Survey of Iraqi Antiquities

Both the parliamentarian Shammari and Undersecretary of Tourism and Antiquities Qais Hussein Rashid voiced their expectation that the second stage will include additional research methods, among them space satellite technology, which has been used in Egypt to detect lost underground sites. “This would save Iraq money, effort and time and would curb useless, random excavation. It will also facilitate the detection of buried archaeological gems,” he said.

Rashid told Al-Monitor, “The most important aspect of the project [with UNESCO] is that it provides images and documented information about the sites. This will enable us to remove antiquities safely from areas where full security is not yet restored.” Clay tablets and small Assyrian objects would be characteristic of items needing to be removed.

Rashid said the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities was also working on creating reproductions of the archaeological monuments to preserve them in the libraries of museums and increase international interest. He said that this will also show to the world the magnitude of the damage IS has done to Iraqi heritage sites.

Like Shammari, Rashid also advocates the further use of aerial survey techniques and space satellite technology on Ninevah. “It is high time aerial survey techniques were used in archaeological sites because they can scan large stretches of land and detect the buried sites, whereas old methods of excavation require time and effort, but can be inaccurate,” he said.

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