Strategies for Restoration and Reconstruction: Museums, Heritage Sites and Archaeological Parks in Post-War Countries

Thursday 25 June 2015, 11.30-8pm, Bern University, Universität Schanze (UniS), Room A003

s h i r ī n  (Syrian Heritage in Danger: an International Research Initiative and Network) and the Institute for Archaeological Sciences (IAW) of the University of Bern invite you to a workshop on Strategies for Restoration and Reconstruction: Museums, Heritage Sites and Archaeological Parks in Post-War Countries, which will focus on the situation in Syria and Northern Iraq. The workshop will take place within the framework of the 61e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale taking place in Geneva and Bern. In connection with this, the statutory meeting of s h i r ī n  is scheduled.

The Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI) is the largest conference for Ancient Near Eastern Studies gathering approximately 300 philologists and archaeologists specialised in the history of pre-Hellenistic Mesopotamia, Levant, Anatolia and Iran.

Vast destructions resulting from the civil wars in Syria and Iraq affect both museums and archaeological sites, either as collateral effects of fighting or through lootings and conscious damages. Many governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations started initiatives to protect heritage sites, to register destructions and lootings, and to prevent trade of stolen artefacts on the international art market. Less developed are the initiatives to train experts and specialists that will be required in both countries after the war is over. Museums have to be reconstructed and recreated, artefacts restored, archaeological sites cleaned from mines and other traces of the war, heritage sites relaunched and prepared for visitors.

The aim of the workshop is to collect information on requirements, develop ideas on strategies, and figure out possibilities for the scientific community to support these activities.


s h i r ī n  is an initiative of the global community of scholars active in the fields of Archaeology, Art and History of the Ancient Near East. It brings together a significant proportion of those international research groups that were working in Syria prior to 2011, with the purpose of making their expertise available to wider heritage protection efforts. Accordingly, its International Committee includes the directors of a number of long-term international research programmes, and others who share their strong commitment to the effective protection of the heritage of Syria. s h i r ī n  is a privileged partner of UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, ICOM and BLUE SHIELD (

The Institute of Archaeological Sciences (IAW) of the University of Bern is the only Swiss institution that conducts research and provides the possibility of academic studies in both the fields of Archaeology and Philology of the Ancient Near East. It is involved in field activities in Syria, Turkey and Turkmenistan (


  • Cynthia Dunning, Denis Genequand, Mohamad Fakhro and Mirko Novák: Introduction.
  • Jean-Bernard Münch (President of the Swiss UNESCO commission):  Welcome address.

Part I: Status of the Iraqi and Syrian Heritage

  • Maamoun Abdulkarim and Lina Qutifan (DGAM Damascus): Protecting Heritage Sites in Syria. Tasks and Perspectives.
  • Ahmad Deeb (DGAM Damascus): The Status of Syrian Museums.
  • Ahmad Kamil (SBOA Baghdad): The Iraqi Museum between 2003 and 2014 – Experiences in Recreation. The Status of Mossul Museum
  • Qais Hussein Rashid (SBOA Baghdad): The Status of Archaeological Sites in Iraq under ISIS Occupation.
  • Youssef Kanjou and Mohamad Fakhro (National Museum of Aleppo): The National Museum of Aleppo. Threats and Strategies for Safekeeping.
  • Marc-André Renold (UNESCO Chair, University of Geneva): Illicit Art Object Trade: The Legal Answer
  • Karin Pütt and Diana Miznazi (Syrian Hertiage Archive Project): In Preparation for Post-Conflict Syria: Archiving, Damage Mapping and Engaging the Local Community

Part II: Strategies for Recreation and Restoration

  • Cheikhmous Ali (APSAprotect SYR): Alep d’hier d’aujourd’hui: quelle stratégie pour la reconstruction
  • Michel Al-Maqdissi: Site Recreation and Management Strategies. Requirements and Resources.
  • Lutz Martin: The Case Studies of the Vorderasiatische Museum Berlin and the Tell Halaf Museum. Reconstructions after World War II damages.
  • Hiba al-Bassir: Museum Object Restoration.
  • Marc Lebeau: The s h i r ī n Initiative. Science vs. Darkness. A utopian view?
  • Carine Simoes (Swiss Bundesamt für Kultur): La restitution de biens culturels illégalement sortis du pays.
  • Cynthia Dunning, Denis Genequand, Mohamad Fakhro and Mirko Novák: Creating Strategies: How, Who and Where?