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InsSciDE’s Heritage Objectives, under Alexander Pruss (JGU Mainz)

Formerly, archeology conducted by Europeans in the Near East was an expression of imperialist preoccupation with the “Oriental question”, and a sometimes uneasy cooperation between European powers and young nation-states built upon the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

Today, by contrast, European-led archaeological works lead to the construction of new communities and identities, but also new economic opportunities (rebuilding programs under the aegis of UNESCO, activities to protect threatened areas, or salvage projects integrating environmental and archaeological dimensions such as those conducted in the marsh areas of southern Iraq, etc.).

WP4 objectives are to:
• Illuminate the legacy of shared responsibility between European and Near Eastern scientific and political actors which underlies the practice of Near Eastern archaeology, viewed prospectively as a tool to achieve a common future rooted in a shared memory.
• Consider Near Eastern archaeology as a potential and emergent form of European science democracy, through a critical historical analysis of three embedded European missions from the 1920’s onward.
• Demonstrate the requirements and achievements of the new war archaeology, by reinforcing and analyzing the technology-enabled European contribution to the necessary assessment of the damages during conflicts and in their aftermath.

To address the preservation of heritage sites, war archaeology’s first step is the meticulous and often dangerous monitoring of damage. The second step, grounded in this data collection, should be the building up of international projects devoted to the formulation of reconstruction projects.

WP4 Heritage contributes directly to technology-enabled damage assessment and preservation projects currently undertaken in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria by European and national actors. These complex, hybrid and multi-stakeholder processes are analyzed with InsSciDE practitioners as a vibrant example of European science diplomacy in the making.