My week in EAMENA

Posted 28/9/2015

Emma Cunliffe describes her week in EAMENA

Emma Cunliffe

This week EAMENA’s Andrea Zerbini is co-organiser (with the Department of Antiquities and others) of a conference at the Museum of Jordan in Amman – Protecting the Past. Archaeology , Conservation and Tourism in the North of Jordan. Its purpose is to highlight and promote discussion of threats to cultural heritage sites, as well as to develop strategies aimed at their preservation. Definitely wishing I was in Jordan with them.  Plenty of EAMENA twitter activity and on the conference’s Facebook page, which is well worth following.

Meanwhile, back in somewhere far colder, EAMENA are in the final stages of co-organising a conference here in Oxford – Conflict and Cultural Heritage. I’m in charge of media and advertising, so I‘ve been plastering Facebook and event websites. Once term starts, I’ll be plastering posters in the colleges too!  We’ve just had one cancellation for a talk due to visa issues (assume rant about immigration laws here) but otherwise the programme is nearly finished and is available on the website.  Exciting times.  It’s a free conference and everyone is welcome – perhaps I’ll see you there? Come and meet some of the EAMENA team.  Or, if you’re in London, I’m speaking that morning at a free public discussion in Kensington: Site Unseen: Safeguarding MENA Cultural Heritage.  Both look like great events, tackling issues of cultural heritage destruction in the Middle East, why it’s happening, and what can be done about it.

Otherwise it’s life as normal. I’m examining Google Earth in the eastern mountains of Egypt, mostly looking for mines, but lately it’s been more mountainous desert and fewer sites. I’ve found some pits that are probably the result of modern development, and one settlement with associated mines. I guess even the ancient Egyptians thought some places really weren’t worth their time! That being said, it’s extraordinary just how far they did travel in what looks, to me, like a really inhospitable area.  Their initiative and resourcefulness really does amaze me.