CHAMP History

In 2003, the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Bagdad and damage to Iraqi cultural sites brought together the Archaeological Institute of America and Department of Defense in an effort to improve cultural and heritage awareness of military personnel operating outside of the United States in host countries and in war zones. Training has expanded to include the development of cultural education information into lectures to deploying personnel, materials and training scenarios, participation in international symposia, and public awareness of the DOD-AIA program. In 2008, the AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia hosted a panel session on DOD-AIA support in war zones. Working groups developed plans for GIS mapping of cultural sites, US and international offices for cultural preservation, and education and training. At the 2009 AIA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, a workshop was held to discuss the accomplishments and current efforts of the AIA-Military Group, including the translation of the Iraqi Cultural Atlas, participation in various training scenarios, development of training materials and courses, and new initiatives and participating organizations.

Since 2005, The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Legacy Resource Management Program with in-kind support from Central Command, Installation Management Command, and Ft. Drum have generously supported a range of in-theater training projects including development of reference heritage websites, GIS planning, the well-known playing cards, computer-based training, replica archaeological sites in military training areas, and hardening methods for safely preserving archaeological sites while making them available for training.

In 2007, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program (DEIC) began to supplement the Legacy Funded Efforts. DEIC funds made possible participation in the Bright Star Training Scenario (Egypt), Eagle Resolve Exercises, the Jordan Environmental Conference, the World Archaeology Congress – Archaeology and Conflict Conference in Vienna, creation of the Egypt playing cards, and formation of the Central Command Historical Cultural Advisory Group.

ACC has provided additional support since 2010. The AF ISR Agency has provided generous support in translating the Iraqi Cultural Atlas and other materials. Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands has been an outstanding contracting partner for all of these projects, and Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) made an outstanding contribution in their work on the heritage websites.

At the 2011, 2012, and 2013 AIA Annual Meetings, CHAMP hosted working groups that focused on training methods, tools and techniques for protecting cultural heritage, policy, education, and future of cultural heritage integration into military operations. In 2014, CHAMP hosted a colloquium focused on preserving cultural heritage in various conflicts. (See the Events/AIA Annual Meeting webpage for details.)