Archaeology Magazine

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Thieves Plunder Syria’s Cultural Heritage Sites

Monday, July 29, 2013

Apamea(Bernard Gagnon)DAMASCUS, SYRIA—UNESCO reports that this year there are more endangered archaeological sites in Syria than anywhere else in the world. The ancient cities of Aleppo, Bosra, and Damascus have been placed on the at risk list, along with 40 ancient northern villages, the crusader castles Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din, and the site of Palmyra. Gangs of heavily armed men with earth moving equipment are taking advantage of the upheaval of the continuing civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people. Reports indicate that Apamea, which was once surrounded by farmland, is now covered with holes. “It can be callous to talk about this in the face of appalling human loss, but Syria’s cultural heritage is of such great importance to our understanding of human history that it’s only right we’re concerned,” said Jonathan Tubb of the British Museum.