Syrian Cultural Heritage Summit

Summit and Public Symposium: Syrian Cultural Heritage

10-11 December 2015

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) announced that they have jointly received a Chairman’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support a two-day invitational summit in Washington, D.C., on December 10–11, 2015. During the summit, representatives from organizations engaged in collecting data on the cultural heritage of Syria explored ways to cooperate and reduce duplication of effort. NEH Chairman William “Bro” Adams was in attendance for the public event to be held on Friday, December 11, at the National Geographic Society.

Podcasts of the summit were made available on YouTube here.

However, UK Blue Shield have made a rough transcript of the summit available as a pdf: ASOR Protecting Our Shared Heritage in Syria Lightning Round


This is an urgent matter. Every day, sites and buildings in Syria are being damaged or destroyed by conflict, looting, and terrorism. Moreover, industrial-scale looting has resulted in the theft of artifacts that are then sold to support ISIL and other terrorist groups. Dozens of non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations have responded to this crisis, and some of them have received significant funding from European countries, Canada, UNESCO, and the United States. In just the past three weeks, cultural heritage conferences held at the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Asia Society have called for all working on this problem to find ways to achieve a division of labor and greater collaboration. The goal of this summit is to do just that. ASOR and the AIA are pleased that NEH Chairman Adams has responded to this need by sponsoring this conference and agreeing to participate.

The event featured more than 20 international organizations who meet to discuss collaborative solutions to this crisis: AIA; American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); The Antiquities Coalition; ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives; Computational Research of the Ancient Near East (CRANE, at the University of Toronto); CyArk; Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA, at Oxford University); The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI); International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); Manar al-Athar; The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; Penn Cultural Heritage Center; Shirin; The Smithsonian Institute; The Syrian Heritage Archive Project (a joint project of German Archaeological Institute and the Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin); The Day After Project; The Past For Sale Initiative at The University of Chicago; UNESCO; UNOSAT; United Nations Security Council; U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield; The World Monuments Fund (WMF); and Yale University.

See the press release.

For further information, please contact ASOR at 617-353-6570 or or the AIA at 617-353-9362 or