The middle east is obviously a region of profound archaeological richness. This includes not only the finds of caches of coins or statues, but also entire cities, places like Petra in Jordan and Masada in Israel.
These wonders (and Petra is truly, without a doubt a wonder of the world) face threats, however, and not only from the obvious sources--conflict and human destruction. Places like both Masada and Petra are at risk from earthquakes in the region and even (believe it or not) flooding.
Encouragingly, however, Israeli and Jordanian officials are beginning to work together and cooperate to help prevent and respond to archaeological disasters which may be caused by natural disasters. Apparently, an Israeli university professor from Ben Gurion University has developed a system to mathematically model past earthquakes in the region and the impacts that these earthquakes could have on sensitive sites.
These types of conservation measures and others were recently discussed at a UNESCO sponsored conference on the protection of archaeological sites. Held at the International Conservation Centre, newly founded in Acre.
While this conference does not seem particularly groundbreaking, I wanted to write about it just because I thought it was a nice example of how states could cooperate and build ties with one another for the purpose of protecting the common patrimony of mankind. Really, it was an interesting way for me to write about archeology and a case where it can have a positive impact on international relations.
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