There is a broad range of research projects undertaken in the Department of Archaeology that intersect with the interests of the centre. We are actively involved in projects across parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, and heritage protection is embedded within our overall research agenda.
Image by Rui Gomes Coehlo, Cacheu Archaeological Project
For example, the work of Robin Coningham, our UNESCO Chair on Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage, on the protection of key monastic and pilgrimage sites in South Asia has also improved our understanding of the temporal development and spatial organisation of early urban centres in the region. Settlement data collected in the course of the EAMENA project are supporting research on long-term demographic change in the Middle East, and its relationship to both environmental variables and technological developments, while allowing us to model the likely impact of predicted near-term sea-level change on the region and its heritage. Dr Gomes Coehlo works with communities in Guinea-Bissau to understand their responses to colonialism and how the heritage of slavery feeds through to contemporary politics.
Image by Rui Gomes Coelho, Heritage from Below
Work on heritage protection in conflict zones includes the mapping of damage to cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting not only from military action, but also the outcomes of uncontrolled, or even directed, post-conflict development, while Prof. Leone has examined the impact of damage from munitions on the Roman Theatre of Sabratha in Libya. We are also working with the European Union to improve the ability of police and customs forces to control looting by creating an image capture system that will allow the rapid identification of stolen artefacts and are developing a data-management system that is designed to make freely available a large archive of historic map data and aerial imagery for the MENA region.
Major sites and climate proxies in Southwest Asia. Image from Dan Lawrence et al. Climate change and early urbanism in Southwest Asia: A review, https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.741