CHAMP Colloquium at AIA Annual Meeting 2014, Chicago, IL



LEADERS: Dr. C. Brian Rose, University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic.

PARTICIPANTS: Ms. Corine Wegener, Smithsonian Institution; Dr. Laurie Rush, Ft Drum Archaeologist; Dr. James Zeidler, Combatant Command (COCOM) Cultural Heritage Action Group; Dr. Doug Park, ERM; Dr. Susan Kane, Oberlin College; and Dr.  Jesse Casana, University of Arkansas.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this colloquium is to discuss the problems, techniques, and opportunities for protecting and conserving archaeological sites and artifacts endangered by warfare and revolutions.  The last decade of conflict that has spread across Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa has endangered many sites, museums, and archives.  However, preservation of such sites and materials is sometimes possible. Site Directors, curators and archaeologists who work on heritage preservation will discuss their methods and means of saving archaeology. Other speakers will describe their capacity building programs and how they can help site directors, museums, and courageous local citizens prepare for site protection. Audience members will take away a better understanding of how to protect a dig or museum in such a situation and know which organizations are available to help.

Dr. Laurie W. Rush
Cultural Resources Manager at Fort Drum, NY
“Planning for Cultural Property Protection in Conflict Zones, A View from Fort Drum”
15 minutes presentation

An archaeologist who works in support of one of the most deployed Divisions in the United States Army has an opportunity to develop a unique perspective on the protection of archaeological sites and cultural property in conflict zones.  Protection of archaeology and completion of a successful military mission are not mutually exclusive undertakings.  In fact, experienced military leaders recognize that the ability to identify and respect cultural features in the landscape is often a critical asset for working successfully with members of host nation populations.  These military personnel rely on archaeological expertise for mapping of cultural property for operations planning, for education and awareness and for development of behavioral and engineering solutions that will enable military personnel to avoid damage to and perhaps even offer protection for an archaeological site placed at risk during the course of complex and prolonged conflicts.

Dr. James A. Zeidler
Colorado State University
“Cultural Property Protection Training and the U.S. Military: Recent Initiatives of the Combatant Command Cultural Heritage Action Group (MilCHAG).”
15 minutes presentation

The MilCHAG is a group of military personnel, cultural property experts, and archaeologists that work closely with the US Combatant Commands to provide advice and support on cultural property protection issues within the regions and countries where the Combatant Command deploys. While the MilCHAG has been primarily supporting Central Command (Near East and Southwest Asia), it has recently begun to support Southern Command and Pacific Command. Types of support include training programs for military personnel about the protection of cultural heritage, development of a variety of cultural heritage awareness products (such as playing cards, Soldier Field Cards, posters, country profiles, and an informational web portal []), development of maps and remote sensing imagery pinpointing the location of sensitive cultural properties, and advice to senior commanders about working with host nations. The MilCHAG is also spearheading a program of CPP curriculum for ROTC units nationwide and is collaborating with the AIA, the SAA, and the SHA in the development of Subject Matter Expert (SME) lectures on archaeology for ROTC units.

Ms. Corine Wegener
Smithsonian Institution
“Smithsonian Institution’s Disaster Response for Culture Programs”
15 minutes presentation

The Smithsonian’s Disaster Response for Culture programs offer support for countries whose culture is in danger through humanitarian crises, war, and natural disasters. This critical program will be described and some examples given of the Smithsonian’s efforts to preserve cultural heritage endangered in war zones.

Dr. Susan Kane
Oberlin College
“Lessons learned from Libya”
15minutes presentation

The Libyan conflict caused significant damage to cultural property, but the damage would have been much worse if the national and international organizations had not worked together to protect that heritage. The lessons learned during and after the conflict provide valuable guidance to the efforts to protect cultural property in other conflicts.

Dr. Jesse Casana
University of Arkansas
“Monitoring Damage to Archaeological Sites, Monuments and Museums in the Wake of the Syrian Civil War”
15 minute presentation

Since the outset of Syria’s current civil war in 2011, the many archaeological projects that once flourished in the country have come to a complete halt.  Scattered reports from journalists and social media suggest that looting is now widespread and that many of Syria’s monuments and museums are suffering damage as a result of ongoing armed conflict.  Yet the inaccessibility of nearly all of Syria to both archaeologists and antiquities officials makes assessment of the situation all but impossible.  This paper presents an overview of what is known and suspected regarding the Syrian civil war’s impact on cultural heritage, as well as results of an effort to monitor site destruction and looting using satellite remote sensing.

To read about this lecture, see this article from Live Science.

Dr. Doug Park
“Timbuktu’s Historical Traditions of Cultural Preservation”
15 minutes presentation

This paper presents an overview of how Timbuktu’s local populations have protected their cultural patrimony over the past several centuries. It begins with the looting of Timbuktu by Moroccan troops in 1591. It then covers several periods of conflict since, culminating with the recent takeover by al-Qaeda link groups and their subsequent displacement by French and Malian forces. The goal is to show how local systems of preservation successfully manage cultural heritage in times of conflict. It also presents ideas on how to enhance those local preservation systems with outside support.

Submitted by: Laura Childs, AIA-Southwest TX Archaeological Society and Cultural Heritage by AIA-Military Panel (CHAMP) 210-977-6100,

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