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WP4. Heritage

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations’ (UNESCO World Heritage Project). Heritage has increasingly become a political issue in the last twenty years, with the destruction of monuments, temples and tombs being both the symbol of contemporary sectarianism and the insufficiently heeded prelude to huge turmoil in the Near East and Europe. As we face the current crisis in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, archaeology is playing a crucial interface role, revealing the weaknesses of traditional and fragmented European diplomacy, but also showing how conjoint attention to heritage can rebuild both the region and relationships.

In December 2016 at the Abu Dhabi Conference, safeguarding endangered cultural heritage was ranked for the very first time as a high priority for European Union interventions abroad. To make good on the promises, the scientific community has to define and negotiate actual alternative channels of interaction between Europe and the Near East, adapted to local political realities. WP4-Heritage will provide direct field examples of the new war archaeology framed by science and enabled by technological innovation. It will deliver strong insight to InsSciDE stakeholders on this particularly fast-moving and impactful branch of science diplomacy, and directly influence the ways in which heritage and diplomacy will interact in shaping relationships among a completely new generation of foreign policy actors and scholars in Europe and in the Near East.