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Multimethod Approaches to Heritage in the Crossfire
An inter-disciplinary workshop on managing heritage in conflict zones
23-24 May 2019, Institute of Archaeology, University College London



As part of a collaboration with UWE Bristol, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the UCL Institute of Archaeology will be hosting a two-day workshop bringing together specialists from physical geography, conservation, archaeology, and heritage management agencies to discuss practical approaches to managing built heritage in active conflict zones. Focusing primarily on the Middle East and North Africa, the workshop will feature keynote presentations from scholars representing legislative, military, and material conservation approaches to heritage, as well as papers featuring detailed case studies. A substantial portion of the workshop will be given over to round table discussions aimed at comparing the application of diverse methods for the mitigation, salvage, and rehabilitation of built heritage. The workshop will be followed on 24 May with a public panel discussion (featuring some workshop participants) at the Victoria & Albert Museum, hosted by the V&A Culture in Crisis Network.

A major goal of this workshop is to foster an inter-disciplinary network of scholars and practitioners interested in bringing practical solutions to bear on pressing social and material issues surrounding heritage in conflict; as such we hope to use this event to build an online hub of research and connectivity that will facilitate future collaboration. We further encourage students to attend the presentations where possible.

Thursday 23 May

09:30 - 10:00       Registration

10:00 - 13:00       Small scale damage and illicit trade

14:00 - 16:45       Localised and partial destruction of sites


Friday 24 May

09:30 - 12:30       Large scale destruction and the global theatre

13:30 - 15:30       Themed workshops (attendees sign up during registration)

15:30 - 16:30       Round table discussion

18:00 - 19:30       Public panel discussion at the Victoria and Albert Museum             



Thursday 23rd May

9:30 – 10:00 Registration


10:00 – 13:00 Session one: Small scale damage and illicit trade

The illegal trade in archaeological objects is considered a major fundraising source for armed conflict, and a severe cause for concern. Furthermore, during conflict the likelihood of law enforcement personnel being able to protect archaeological and heritage sites dramatically decreases, as efforts are deployed elsewhere. This looting not only leads to the loss of artefacts to the illegal market, but also the destruction of the archaeological sites themselves. This destruction of material heritage in the Middle East and North Africa entails not only the loss of information about the past but wider-reaching impacts on the social, economic, and cultural life of that heritage and those who relate to it in the present. Moreover, the history of the region - especially concerning early Islam and the first caliphates - have become implicated in a range of political agendas that pose research and management challenges for archaeologists. Methodologically, a corollary of this situation is a need for multi-disciplinary strategies that include diverse techniques for documenting, preserving, and presenting heritage sites, along with anthropologically-informed and politically-aware approaches to engaging with stakeholder publics and legal frameworks.


14:00 – 16:45 Session two: Localised and partial destruction of sites

While the headlines of the global media have largely focussed on the large scale destruction of heritage sites, though the use of explosives or large machinery, relatively little attention is paid to the ubiquitous destruction of heritage through small arms and small scale ordinance. This type of damage can be observed throughout any area that has seen conflict since the widespread introduction of fire arms in combat in 1364, and their increasing ability to inflict damage since the development of automatic handguns in 1892. This small scale damage can take on a heritage status in its own right, as a symbol of past conflict and a means of celebrating victory, mourning losses and a reminder to not let these events happen again.

However, with the recent acceleration in the strength of fire arms, such as the widespread use of AK47s and 103s, the potential for this damage to be a threat to the structural integrity of heritage sites is increasing. A simple ‘just leave the damage be’ is no longer a sustainable option, as shattering of stone, smashing of brickwork and small explosives can deteriorate heritage substantially during and after conflict. So how do we deal with this damage? And moreover, how do we give this a sensitive place within societies that are trying to rebuild post-conflict? This session examines the physical damage that leads to partial destruction, as well as the role that this damage plays in societal rebuilding and heritage ownership.


Friday 24th May

09:30 – 12:30 Session three: Large scale destruction and the global theatre

During the first workshop day the implications of small scale and localised damage to archaeological sites were placed in the spotlight. However, how does this sustained and ubiquitous damage translate into large scale investigations? The damage sustained during recent conflict in the Middle East grabbed the international headlines through the large scale destruction of sites. The destruction of heritage turned from a local or national issue into a global media war, fuelled by strategic use of social media and active targeting of heritage sites to provoke outrage. In this session, experts discuss the use of remote imagery to create damage inventories, the implications of damage sustained during combat and the impact of damage on society.

13.30-14.30 Workshop 1: Doing the right thing or rushing in? Timing of heritage repair post-conflict

14.30-15.30 Workshop 2: Putting CPP in context – heritage damage and protection during and post conflict

15.30-16.00 Round-table discussion


16:00: Wine and canapé reception (Leventis Gallery) – participants start making their way to Victoria and Albert Museum

Speakers’ Biographies


Dr Hiba Alkhalaf is a conservation architect and holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh (2017), MSc in Architectural Conservation, and a B.Arch. in Architecture from the University of Damascus. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Classics at King's College London. She works on the project 'Training in Action: From Documentation to Protection of Cultural Heritage in Libya and Tunisia' funded by the British Council- Cultural Protection Fund. Her interdisciplinary research bridges architecture, cultural heritage, urban conservation and sustainable development connecting the physical (buildings), meaning (people and community), and the function.


Dr Charlotte Brassey is a current BBSRC Future Leader Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research is highly interdisciplinary, spanning taxonomic groups and geologic time periods, seeking to address questions of form and function using 3D imaging and computational simulation approaches. She has applied such methods to examine everything from mammalian anatomy to paleontology to ballistic damage of heritage stone and cultural resources.

Dr Lucy Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geographer at the University of Gloucestershire specializing in river processes, natural flood management and using image analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to explore landscape change. She is involved in implementing and assessing ‘slow the flow’ schemes in Gloucestershire and surrounding counties. She also works with the British Antarctic Survey using historic aerial photographs and satellite imagery to look at glacier change on Antarctica. 

Dr Emma Cunliffe is an archaeologist by background, and a member of the Cultural Property Protection and Peace team at Newcastle University, where she works to support the Blue Shield network. Their work focuses on the protection and destruction of cultural heritage during armed conflict, examining the reasons for damage, and developing proactive solutions to protect it, with particular focus on the role of the armed forces, and the place of national and international law. She specialises in satellite imagery analysis and geo-spatial data, in the Middle East and Syria in particular. She has worked on a number of large scale site recording and assessment projects using satellite imagery, such as the Durham University Fragile Crescent Project, Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa, as a consultant for UNOSAT-UNITAR, doing damage imagery assessments of heritage sites damaged during conflict together with UNESCO, and has published widely on site damage in the MENA region. She is the Secretary for UK Blue Shield, and part of the Secretariat for Blue Shield International.

Dr Corisande Fenwick is Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at UCL and specializes in Islamic North Africa. Previously she held postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University and the University of Leicester, after receiving her PhD from Stanford University in 2013. She currently runs a variety of training projects at Bulla Regia in Tunisia and Volubilis in Morocco focusing on rapid documentation of North African sites through UAV survey and photogrammetry, as well as being the Co-I on the British Council funded Training in Action Project, a capacity-building project for members of the Libyan and the Tunisian Department of Antiquities. She is also Honorary Secretary of the Society for Libyan Studies and on the steering group of the British-Tunisian Society.

Dr Paul Fox is a historian of visual culture specialising in the representation of armed conflict. In 2017 he was appointed Principal Research Associate (Cultural Property Protection) at Newcastle University. He is a member of the UK Committee of the Blue Shield, and delivers external education and training in this field to global audiences, including support to NATO command post exercises, and military civil affairs specialists. Paul was a professional soldier for 27 years. He received his doctorate at University College London where he worked on the visual representation of battlefield behaviour in German illustrated histories, 1871-1933. In addition to his work on memorialisation, landscape and commemoration, he has recently researched British imperial cultures of looting and trophy taking for the University of York, and has taught at University College London on topics including the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict; the construction of national and gendered identities at war; and the militarisation of the built environment.

Dr. Kaelin Groom is an independent research consultant and faculty associate with Arizona State University. Her specialties include geomorphology (specifically stone decay and landscape change) and cultural heritage management. Besides teaching Geographic Research Methods, she has served as a professional consultant for domestic and international agencies such as the US National Park Service, Barbados National Trust (Caribbean), Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan), as well as USAID and UNESCO. For more visit

Dr. Rachel King is a Lecturer in Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London. Her research expertise include the archaeology of the recent and contemporary past in southern Africa, particularly in marginal environments, and addressing the construction of epistemic categories such as disorder, outlaws, resistance, and heritage through innovative methodological and theoretical frameworks. Many of her courses and teaching activities incorporate the complex concepts of heritage interpretation and museum studies.

Mr Saleh Mabrouk Al-Noaimat Currently serving as the acting-director of the Wadi Rum Protected Area, Saleh Mabrouk Al-Noaimat has invested years of dedication and commitment to the development, protection, and study of the Wadi Rum region and its people. His educational background includes a B.A. in Business and Administration from the United Arab Emirates University, Alain, UAE, professional diploma in National Resources Management, and a Masters degree in Management and Strategic Studies from Mu’tah University in central Jordan. Throughout his career as the head of the Development, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division of ASEZA (Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority) Al-Noaimat has facilitated various research and conservation projects with UNESCO, ICOMOS, UNDP, and IUCN, as well as work alongside scholars and scientists from a myriad of Jordanian and international universities.

Prof Derek Matravers is Professor of Philosophy at The Open University and a Senior Member of Darwin College, Cambridge. He studied for his undergraduate degree at University College London, before moving to Cambridge for his PhD. He has held Visiting Professorships at various universities in Canada, New Zealand, and China. His recent work includes Introducing Philosophy of Art: Eight Case Studies (Routledge, 2013); Fiction and Narrative (OUP, 2014); and Empathy (Polity, 2017). In addition, he is the author of Art and Emotion (OUP, 1998) as well as numerous articles in aesthetics, ethics, and the philosophy of mind. He is the editor, with Paloma Atencia-Linares, of The British Journal of Aesthetics. Since 2017 he has, along with Helen Frowe, directed the UK Government funded project, Heritage in War.

Ms. Luciana Micha is a PhD candidate in Political Science. She graduated with Honors from the Buenos Aires University and continued her studies with a Master´s Degree in Neuro Linguistic Programming and communication. She is the actual Director of the Center of International Political Studies, School of Social Science, University of Buenos Aires, and University Professor of Global Politics, Peacekeeping and IHL and lecturer in different Universities. She is also the National Coordinator for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law, under the Ministry of Defense of Argentina. She was the Coordinator for Cultural Heritage (2011-2014) and the first National Director for Peacekeeping and peace cooperation of the Ministry of Defense (2006- 2010), and worked in the Department of Peacekeeping operation of the Joint Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces in Argentina as senior advicer (2000-2006)

Dr Lisa Mol is a geomorphologist, specialising in rock deterioration processes. She leads the Heritage in the Cross-Fire project which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and investigates material damage to build heritage caused by ballistics and other arms ( She also contributes to other heritage-based projects such as the damage to the Glasgow School of Art. She is currently an Associate Editor of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences (Springer) and a member of the Executive Committee and Trustee of the British Society for Geomorphology.

Prof Karel Nováček is associate professor of medieval archaeology in the Department of History, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic. He studied history and archaeology at Charles University in Prague (MA in 1992) and history of architecture and art at Czech Technical University in Prague (PhD in 2006). His research expertise comprises archaeology of built environment, landscape archaeology and pottery studies, both in Central Europe and in the Near East. Since 2006, he directed or participated in several projects in Kurdistan Autonomous Region and North Iraq. His published work included monographs The Kladruby Abbey 1115–1421: Settlement – Architecture – Artefacts (Prague: Scriptorium, 2010) and Medieval Urban Landscape in Northeastern Mesopotamia (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2016). He is a foundation member of Rashid International, a worldwide network of archaeologists and cultural heritage experts dedicated to safeguarding the cultural heritage of Iraq.

Mr Iain Overton is the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence.  In this role he oversees AOAV’s research and advocacy output.  He advises as a member of an expert working group on explosive weapons for the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, sits on the advisory committee to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons, and is an expert member of the Forum on the Arms Trade.  He also sits on the Advisory Board for the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Post Conflict Trauma; PrOTeCT at Imperial College London. Having worked in over two dozen conflict zones, a former BBC and ITN journalist, Overton’s human rights reporting has been awarded a Peabody Award, two Amnesty Awards and a BAFTA Scotland and has been shortlisted for a Golden Dagger Award, among others.  He has been a lecturer in investigative journalism at a number of UK universities, including Birkbeck, and holds an MPhil and BA from Cambridge University. His first book, Gun Baby Gun (Canongate) was published in the UK in April 2015.  It has also been sold into the US (HarperCollins), Canada (McLelland & Stewart – Penguin), France (Belfond), Norway (Font), Netherlands  (Uitgeverij Q) and Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau (China Times). His second book, The Price of Paradise (Quercus) – how suicide bombers have helped shaped the modern world – was published in April 2019, with translations into Dutch and Romanian confirmed.

Ms Fionnuala Rogers is an art and cultural property lawyer and member of the UK Committee for the Blue Shield. Fionnuala is regularly consulted on policy, new legislation and international agreements relating to the protection of cultural property and prevention of illicit trafficking. In the last three years Fionnuala has contributed to several international agreements between states, international conventions and the implementation of new legislation surrounding illicit trafficking and the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. Fionnuala has been working with museums, collectors, institutions and government bodies in the Middle East since 2012 in relation to cultural property protection, preservation and development. In particular, her work focusses on due diligence in transit countries (particularly in emerging art markets) and approaches to repatriation claims in countries of origin. Fionnuala co-founded the Pinsent Masons Art and Cultural Property Group in 2012 and in 2017 joined the Constantine Cannon Art and Cultural Property group as an art law consultant. Fionnuala is a member of the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market (PAIAM) and PAIAM’s Brexit Committee.

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