Mapping threats to cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa makes it clear that much of our past, the ‘Cradle of Civilization’, is in imminent danger of destruction. With priceless artifacts and millennia of history lost and imperiled, teams of heritage experts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been working tirelessly to track the scope of the plunder thus far. This map seeks to aid efforts to protect heritage by providing a foundation for identifying #CultureUnderThreat in the broader context of terrorist activity in the region. It shows, sadly, the clear march of destruction by Daesh and its sympathizers and illustrates where deliberate attacks on heritage are occurring and remain threatened. This phenomenon of heritage threatened by terror groups is not limited to the activities of Daesh. Cultural sites across the MENA region have been targeted by a variety of terror groups and violent extremist organizations across the Arab world. Although Daesh is capturing the headlines, they are just one of the many groups targeting heritage in the region.
About this Map
To provide a graphical representation of cultural crimes committed by Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL ) and other extremist organizations in the Middle East and North African region, the Antiquities Coalition partnered with Hexagon to create the Culture Under Threat Map. The interactive map program base includes current high-resolution satellite imagery maps and displays the destruction of heritage sites in the Middle East and North Africa. The Smart M.App’s satellite imagery base paired with the metrics for viewing multiple data combinations provides unique insights into cultural cleansing that were not previously available through standard GIS maps.
The Culture Under Threat Smart M.App temporally illustrates losses to date with easy to use time and date slide bars showing when incidents took place. Unlike previous maps that show a static time set, the Culture Under Threat Smart M.App timeline can be used to understand how destruction has evolved across the broader MENA region at a given time. The ability to view this timeline with any combination of data sets allows for a unique examination of patterns. This allows experts to not only quantify data across a wide region, but provides an opportunity to understand the types of patterns that are occurring which can better inform them in the development of solutions to the critical threats caused by cultural cleansing.