September 21, 2006


International Congress "Cultural Heritage and New Technologies"

On October 18-20, the 11th International Congress Cultural Heritage and New Technologies will take place again in Vienna, Austria.

The most interesting section is Workshop 2, How to Publish "Old" Excavations With New Technologies, (Wed. Oct. 18) which is chaired by Dr. Sam Paley (The University at Buffalo, SUNY). Let me point out a few papers:

• Sam Paley, How to publish "old" excavations with new technologies – Nimrud Citadel: "... to provide a resource for schools, colleges and univiersities to teach about a pradigmatic site for Neo-Assyrian archaeology and to make our records available for the legal authorities who are searching for looted artifacts and prosecuting offenders. This paper will explain our goals and show what has happened to some of the antiquities as they have reached the market."

• Adam Lowe (Factum Arte), Replicating Cultural Heritage – The repatriation of all known fragments of the eastern end of the throne-room of Ashurnasirpal II in facsimile form: "Factum Arte, with United Exhibits Group (Copenhagen) and the Ministry of Culture of Iraq, has scanned all the known fragments from the eastern end of the throne-room. The resulting facsimile will be the centre piece in an international touring exhibition: The Golden Tombs of Iraq, treasures from Nimrud and after the exhibition will be given to the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. High resolution laser scanning and white light scanning has been completed at The British Museum (London), The Pergamon (Berlin), The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (Dresden), the Sackler Art Museum, Harvard and The Art Museum, Princeton University. Over 100 sq meters of relief carving have been recorded, the majority at a resolution of 100 microns."

• F. Gabellone and G. Scardozzi (IBAM – CNR, Lecce, Italy), Integrated Technologies for the reconstructive Study of Mesopotamian Cultural Heritage: "... research conducted under the aegis of the 'Iraq Virtual Museum' project, which entails the publication on the web in the near future of a number of archaeological sites and inestimable treasures of Mesopotamian culture. The project is being promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through the general directorate of the Mediterranean/Middle East region, Task Force Iraq), while the scientific coordination has been entrusted to the Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche)." "Until now the research activities of our group have encompassed the sites of Ur, Uruk (the Sumerian Room) and Nimrud (the Assyrian Room). A study has been made of the settlements with the help of satellite images, which have provided new data on the topographical aspects of the cities being studied. In addition, a number of objects that are representative of Assyrian and Sumerian culture (some which have been lost as a result of the recent conflict) have been reconstructed by means of three-dimensional image-based modelling (photo-modelling and digital photogrammetry)."

• Heather Baker (Universität Wien), Reconstructing Ancient Babylon: Problems and Prospects: "Many of the published plans of Babylon as it is supposed to have looked during the time of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) are misleading because the methods used in reconstructing the city layout are based on false premises which can be traced back to works published in the 1930s." "... offer some thoughts on alternative approaches to reconstructing the city using the excavation records and the written sources for its topography."

On Friday October 20, there will be a session organized by our friend and colleague Friedrich Schipper (Universität Wien): UNESCO-Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) – the status quo. The most relevant papers here are:

• Gebhard Selz (Universität Wien), Plundered, Stolen and Destroyed. The World Heritage of Mesopotamia in a historical perspective: "... history and memory are always connected to the political sphere, from which we have to discuss the changing reasons for this sort of continued barbarism."

• Michael Müller-Karpe (Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Mainz, Germany), Laundering Antiques of Illegal Origin: Germany’s Struggle against Ratifying the UNESCO Convention of 1970: "... the draft law, which the cabinet has passed and which soon will be approved by the parliament, is primarily oriented to the demands of an affluent antiquities dealers’ lobby. It perverts the goals of the convention." I again call on my readers to join in the e-mail writing campaign.


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