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Heritage destruction in conflict zones offers archaeological opportunities

An international archaeological team co-led by Leicester researchers is investigating an historic site devastated by conflict in Lebanon - and has demonstrated it is possible to obtain original and important information from heritage sites that have been devastated by conflict.

Working at the Graeco-Roman temple and village site of Hosn Niha, high in the central Biqa’ Valley of Lebanon, the team led by Dr Ruth Young from the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History and Dr Paul Newson from the Department of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut have described the value of exploring conflict damaged sites in the leading archaeological journal Antiquity.

Dr Young said: “Rather than simply ignoring sites that have been badly damaged by conflict, we have taken on the challenge of investigating a site previously considered too badly damaged by conflict to warrant systematic archaeological investigation.

“Our research at the Graeco-Roman temple and village site of Hosn Niha in Lebanon has shown that with the right methods and questions, it is possible to obtain a great deal of original and important information from sites that have suffered badly through conflict.”

Hosn Niha, along with many other sites in Lebanon was severely damaged as a consequence of decades of civil war and the associated unruliness and accelerated looting that went with this.

The Central Biqa’ Archaeological Project is based at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (AUB).  The project has been supported by the Department of Antiquities, Lebanon and the University of Leicester, and is funded by the American University of Beirut through its University Research Board (URB).

 

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