Training

The purpose of this series of workshops is to introduce the key issues impacting on cultural heritage activities in Iraq, the wider region, and elsewhere, accompanied by training materials and educational resources.

The workshops cover four main themes:

Each of these links contains short video talks by archaeologists and heritage experts, as well as various open-source training resources designed for active engagement and participation. These resources are intended not only for heritage professionals, but also for students, and everyone else interested in archaeology and cultural heritage.

Workshop 1. Archaeological Interpretation and the Political Dimensions of the Past

Dr. Claudia Glatz (University of Glasgow)

Dr. Daniel Calderbank (University of Glasgow)

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The aim of this series of talks and activities is to guide participants towards four key understandings:

  • Archaeology is the study of the human past through its various material remains: pottery, mudbricks, bead-necklaces, or even entire landscapes.
  • Archaeological stories or narratives about the past always involve acts of interpretation by people – you, me, all of us – in the present.
  • Because material things need us to tell their stories for them, they can be manipulated, changed or exaggerated to create versions of the past that are not supported by archaeological data and that help advance particular political agendas.
  • Archaeologists, museum curators, and the staff of antiquities services have a critical role to play in making sure that the stories that are being told or written about people and things in the past stay grounded in archaeological data.

Session 1.1 What is Archaeology?

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Activity 1: ‘Finds Bags’

This exercise aims to introduce workshop participants to the basic building blocks of archaeological knowledge: material culture and its interpretation. It also aims to demonstrate how interpretation varies depending on the person or group doing the interpreting. The exercise is designed to show the diversity of interpretations that the same objects can result in.

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Activity 1 Resources

Session 1.2 Archaeological Interpretation

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Activity 2: Interpreting Burials

This activity focuses on a more concrete archaeological dataset and the processes involved in interpreting it. The exercise uses, as its basis, four burials from the same site. These burials display a number of variations in the way the deceased is treated, including placement, grave goods, and grave type. The result of this activity will show the diversity of interpretations that arise through analysis of the same archaeological date set.

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Activity 2 Resources

Session 1.3 Politics and Material Culture in the Past

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Activity 3: Victory Stele of Naram-Sin

This exercise introduces workshop participants to some of the more direct ways in which people in the past used material culture to further their own political agendas, using the Naram-Sin stele as an example. It also invites participants to reflect critically on how dominant ideologies can be framed, and social realities manipulated, through the use of such imagery.

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Activity 3 Resources

Activity 4: Ideological Materials

This session has shown numerous examples of material culture of dominant social, cultural, or political ideologies; the powerful people in the past. Yet, the fact that such ideologies must be given material form to be effective, and that material culture also actively shapes people’s perceptions and believes, also means that material culture equally helps produce alternative, competing, or smaller-scale beliefs and practices that may have existed side-by-side, or were resistant to, dominant ideologies.

This exercise demonstrates the diversity of material culture available to the archaeologist and challenges workshop participants to consider what cultural beliefs different forms of archaeological material might have expressed.

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Activity 4 Resources

Session 1.4 The Politics of the Past

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Activity 5: Developing an Ethical Code of Practice

The subjectivity of archaeological interpretation can leave stories of the past open to manipulation. Archaeological and heritage experts therefore have an obligation to ensure that the stories told are as faithful to archaeological context as possible, and are not simplified to send political messages.

This activity encourages participants to develop new ways to address these issues from their own perspective through active dialogue. The result of this communication should be a policy document agreed on by the whole group.

Duration: c. 40 minutes

Activity 5 Resources

 

Workshop 2. Archaeological and Museum Narrative Building

Aphrodite Sorotou (The Institute for Heritage & Sustainable Human Development)

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Dr. Rozhen Kamal Mohammed-Amin (Sulaimani Polytechnic University)

Content to be added soon.

Workshop 3. Monitoring of Archaeological Sites and Damage Documentation

Elise Jakoby Laugier (Dartmouth College)

Remote sensing—using satellite or aerial photography—is an effective tool for cultural heritage management. Remote sensing means to investigate remotely or from far away, usually from above, and usually using cameras or other sensors besides our own eyes.

In this workshop, we will review the history of the top-down – or “bird’s eye” – view in archaeology and how remote sensing is currently used to investigate and protect archaeological sites. We will discuss why archaeological and heritage sites are easy to see from the air as well as the many types of threats impacting these sites. Through a series of hands-on, interactive activities, participants will learn about the available resources and datasets, how to identify damage to sites in satellite imagery, and effective ways to integrate satellite remote sensing into cultural heritage management strategies.

Session 3.1 Satellite and Remote Sensing as a Tool for Cultural Heritage Management

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Activity 1: Cultural Heritage from Above

This exercise aims to familiarise participants with the techniques needed to identify various archaeological sites and features from a satellite perspective, and how these can be recognised in different types of terrain.

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Activity 1 Resources

 Session 3.2 Satellite Imagery and Archaeology

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Activity 2: CORONA Atlas

*Internet Connection is Required for this Activity*

In this activity, participants will review how to access and explore open source databases of historic and modern, commercial imagery. Participants are encouraged to explore the CORONA Atlas, available on computer or mobile device, to effectively navigate through the system, and to recognise diachronic developments visible in the imagery.

Duration: c. 30 minutes

Activity 2 Resources

 Session 3.3 Documenting Damage

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Activity 3: Site Damage Assessments

To help protect cultural heritage across the world, archaeologists perform damage assessments of archaeological sites. This exercise builds upon the main categories of threats and types of damage outlined in the associated video for this session by inviting participants to identify and document these elements using a satellite image case study from Garmian province, Kurdistan.

Duration: c. 30 minutes

Activity 3 Resources

Session 3.4 Group Discussion

Activity 4: How can I help?

As this session has demonstrated, remote sensing allows individuals and groups, from Kuristan and beyond, to communicate and collaborate to identify and document cultural heritage damage.

Either on your own, or in groups of c. 5 persons each, consider the following questions:

  • How useful do you think remote sensing would be for protecting cultural heritage in Kurdistan?
  • Do you think you would be able to integrate what you have learned in this workshop into your daily practice as a heritage professional? Do you want to do this?
  • What would be the main obstacles and how can they be overcome? How might archaeologists be more helpful to cultural heritage professionals, and vice versa?

Allow each group to feedback to the class. If possible, encourage views related to different areas of professional practice in order to demonstrate the diversity of perspectives, and also the potential for collaboration in this process.

Duration: c. 1 hour

 

Workshop 4. Looting and the Illicit Antiquities Trade

 Luise Loges (University of Glasgow)

Looting and the illicit trade of antiquities is a problem faced by heritage professionals in the Middle East and internationally. When archaeological sites are looted, objects are torn from the ground, and the archaeological context is destroyed forever. In this workshop, we will identify the different forms of looting, and assess the motivations driving the people involved in the process, from the looters on the ground to the dealers at the top of the market. Ultimately, the aim of these sessions is to outline techniques that may help combat and prevent the process, and therefore limit the drastic impact on the archaeological record.

Session 4.1 The Harms of Antiquities Trafficking

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Session 4.2 The Case of the Hobby Lobby Artefacts

Activity 1: The Investigation

This activity follows the real life case of the Hobby Lobby artefacts. Participants take on the role of investigators for the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which handles cases of art and antiquities crime, and transnational crime. This card based exercise is designed to help participants understand the role played by the different groups involved in this case, as well as the legislative complexities and ambiguities that accompanied the investigative process.

Duration: c. 1 hour

Activity 1 Resources

Session 4.3 How Do Looted Antiquities Move?

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Session 4.4 Who Can Stop the Antiquities Trade?

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Activity 2: Preventative Measures

This exercise aims to familiarise participants with the diversity of techniques that have been used to combat antiquities looting and trafficking. These techniques take the form of both “hard” and “soft” measures, depending on who is targeted and how directly and severely they are targeted. Participants are tasked with using these different preventative measures as a basis for developing their own creative ideas for addressing this issue.

Duration: c. 30 minutes

Activity 2 Resources

Session 4.5 What’s in Place to Stop This?

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